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Rural Doctor


When Dr. R.C. Little arrived at Mayville, North Dakota, in November of 1919, he had a diverse resume for a twenty-seven-year-old doctor. He had attended Carleton College and the University of Minnesota, where he received his MD.

He was active in sports at school, including football, wrestling and swimming—even winning the state backstroke title in 1915. He interned at Long Island College Hospital in New York before graduation, and also did a stint as an ambulance corpsman with the Minnesota National Guard on the Texas-Mexico border. The ambulance was a mule-drawn wagon.

Roy Casper Little was born in 1892 in Minnesota, and served Traill County, North Dakota, as a general practitioner for fifty-two years. He delivered over two thousand babies, including triplets, and never lost a mother. In his early years, many cases involving confinement were often handled in homes. He traveled in a variety of ways, including horse and sled in winter, by car and often on foot. Dr. Little’s practice changed shape several times over the years, from an office over the Mayville pharmacy, to a remodeled house to a group practice clinic.

His career stretched to such an extent that one of the babies he delivered eventually came to practice with him. Dr. Little was on call 24/7 but still found time for hunting and fishing when he could escape. He retired in 1971, and died the next year at the age of seventy-nine.

On this date in 1975, family and medical staff honored him with Dr. Little Appreciation and Dedication Day, when a physical therapy unit was unveiled at Mayville’s Union Hospital. A memorial scholarship at Mayville State University continues in his name.

Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura, Dr. Little’s great-grandson


Anderson, B.O., Anderson, C., Beal, L. (1976). Yesteryears in Traill: Traill County, North Dakota. American Revolution Bicentennial Publishing Company.

Beal, L. (1975). Centennial of Traill County, 1875-1975. Northwestern Bank of Hillsboro.

Traill County Tribune. 1971, May 6. Vol. 89, Iss. 38. Page one.

Traill County Tribune. 1972, March 23. Vol. 90, Iss. 32. Page one.

Traill County Tribune. 1968, May 9. Vol. 86, Iss. 38. Page one.


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