May 4, 1864
On this day May 4, 1864 Judge Philip F.Little of St. John’s was married (Mary Jane Holdright) from a wealthy Anglo – Irish family at Dublin, Ireland by Cardinal Paul Cullen.
He became Newfoundland’s first Premier (Prime Minister) in 1855. He remained in office until 1858. In that time, he managed to secure Newfoundland’s autonomy, in making sure Newfoundland had a say over its own destiny. He resigned in 1858 saying “I go now before the milk of human kindness goes sour for me”.
Soon after his marriage, Little moved to Ireland permanently. He lived the rest of his life in Ireland, near the farms of relatives; managing properties owned by his wife’s family as well as those he acquired himself. He was prominent as a lawyer and became active in the Irish Home Rule movement.
In 1883 the Sisters of Mercy in Newfoundland purchased Littledale, the former estate of Philip Francis Little, on Waterford Bridge Road, St. John’s. At that time the Sisters converted the three-storey house and with the addition of a classroom and dormitory, the school opened as St. Bride’s (College) Academy on August 20, 1884 as a Catholic girls’ boarding school run by them.
Little died at the age of 73 in 1897 in Ireland.
Having the very busy Cardinal Archbishop Paul Cullen perform the marriage was no small feat and was no doubt arranged by Bishop John Thomas Mullock, a friend of Cardinal Cullen’s. Cullen was the first Irish Cardinal in the church. He is best known for his crafting of the formula for papal infallibility at the First Vatican Council. He was considered one of the most influential Roman Catholics in the world.
Recommended Archival Collection: At the Rooms Provincial Archives Division – MG 212 –consists of microfilmed records relating to the political and legal career of Philip F. Little during 1840-1890. The collection is composed of correspondence, letters of introduction, addresses, certificates and commissions.