However, the vast quantities of timber attracted humans. Trees were here because of the land. The rivers brought the soils to form the land. In a word, “geography” created a system that birth Morehouse. The land and its products determined the economy of an area. Especially, this is true in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, frequently called the Delta.

Early maps of the Morehouse Lowlands showed how much they did not know about the area. An 1823 edition of the Bradford map named what is now known as Little River, White Water River.  Anthony Finley and David H. Vance published a map in 1826, Missouri and Territory of Arkansas, which also showed White Water Creek, not Little River, running through the area. 

 Tanners’ 1833 New Map of Arkansas with its Canals and Roads shows an unnamed river running north from Arkansas stopping before reaching as far north as New Madrid. Morris and Breese 1845 Arkansas map showed Little River not leaving the Bootheel.

The headwater of Little River rises in the St. Francois Hills flowing south through New Madrid, Pemiscot and Dunklin Counties into Arkansas. Whitewater is the name that seemed to apply to the entire stream shortly after the New Madrid Earthquake of 1811-1812.

To the Indians, it was Ne ska or Unica. Schoolcraft says the Osage name was Unica, meaning white, but he is believed to have confused the White River, largely in Arkansas   and Whitewater, this stream. The Chippeway name for the river was also Ne ska, meaning white water it is often written Niska. Early Spanish explorers called it Rio Blanch and the French La Rivier Blanche or L’eu Blanch.

In the English translation it became Whitewater by which name the entire stream was known as late as 1817. The name “Little” seems to have been given between 11817-1822, in the French form La Petite Riviere, with reference to the size of the Mississippi and St. Francis with which Little River lies between and was compared to the two.



03/22/2014 7:14am


09/13/2015 2:17am

the river is very facinating and deep. It is historical and has immense value for the civilizations of the world. The post is worth giving it a look and in fact glance of depth.

09/14/2015 2:26am

Look, the Unica is the bees knees and it just got a hell of a lot better. In other words, your Unica game just got elevated.

07/04/2016 2:15am

Hello me and my friend who works in, A Scottsboro, Alabama lodging gives a review of outside exercises at Little River Canyon. Guests can appreciate trekking, angling, horseback riding, and different exercises.

08/16/2016 6:49am

Thanks you for sharing information

02/01/2017 9:46am

We have here a little river that was my best friends back in my childhood. Nice.

04/13/2017 12:22am

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04/30/2017 8:08am

nice blog

04/30/2017 8:08am

nice info

04/30/2017 8:09am

thanks for the given info


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    Having grown up on Little River, I have been fascinated with it. Over the past several years, as a local historian, this area has been a special interest. 

     These areas have been treated much like step-children by Jefferson City and Little Rock. They seem to believe nothing has ever happened here.  Our history has been long and varied. Hope you enjoy my trip.  

    Near Puxico is the swampy Mingo Wildlife Refuge. One hundred and fifty year ago, most of the Little River Valley appeared that way. This valley covering two million acres was part of the largest wetland in America.

    Floods frequently intimated the Valley. Between 1815 and 2011, 15 major floods covered or threatened the area.

    Timber companies came in at the end of the 19th Century to clean cut the forest. Louis Houck, a Cape Girardeau lawyer and railroad builder, envisioned a rail network that covered the wetlands.

    Little River Drainage District (LRDD) Corporation was established in 1907 by an act of the Butler County (MO) Circuit Court. 

    Between 1909 and 1928 the LRDD dug nearly 1000 miles of ditches and constructed 30 miles of levees to drain 1.2 million acres of swamp and overflow land in Southeast Missouri. More dirt was moved than in building the Panama Canal.

    One surprise I had was the number of settlements in the area before 1811-1812. Another was the water connection between the Mississippi River and the St. Francis and I had no idea that Little River had enough current to run a grist mill.

    Norman Vickers


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    Little River's Geographic Past