W. J. LATTA, D. D. S., one of the foremost dentists of Chetopa, Labette county, Kansas, was born near Columbia, Tennessee, in 1847, and is a son of Calvin and Arminta (Mitchell) Latta.
Calvin Latta was born in North Carolina in 1812, and is a carpenter and bridge builder by trade. He lived in North Carolina until he was twelve years old. In 1852 Mr. Latta removed to Jefferson county, Illinois, where he bought a farm. He was engaged in general farming, - in which he was assisted by his sons; - and also followed his trade. His wife died in that county, aged fifty-seven years. Mr. Latta still lives there. Their children were: Mary E. (Spawr) (Johnson), who has been twice widowed; John M.; W. J.; C. R. J. C., of Kentucky; Martha J. (Johnson), who lives in Southern Illinois; Jerome B. P., of Hunt county, Texas; Harriet C. (Hopgood), of Kentucky; Tennessee K., deceased; Gertrude (Benson), deceased; and Mrs. E. B. Whitlow, who lives in Southern Illinois.
Dr. W. J. Latta attended the common schools in his vicinity and assisted on his father's farm until he reached the age of twentyone years. Always ambitious to secure a good education, he quit business and went to Eureka, Illinois, and then to college at Morganfield, Kentucky. He then learned his father's trade, but finding the duties too arduous for his constitution, in October, 1868, he began the study of dentistry at Ashley, Illinois, with a brother-in-law. At that time there were but two dental colleges in the United States, and students pursued their courses mainly with preceptors. Dr. Latta studied and practiced with his preceptor, and was located at different places in Southern Illinois for a period of eight years. In 1876 he went to Texas, and practiced in Dallas county for four years. He then located in Chetopa, June 19, 1880. He opened his office in August of that year, and since that time has attended to a large and lucrative practice. Dr. Latta has a thorough knowledge of dentistry, and, inheriting a mechanical nature from his father, the choice of his profession was a wise one. He is a painstaking worker, conscientious and faithful, and has the confidence and respect of all who come in contact with him.
Dr. Latta was married, in Labette county, to Miss S. E. Riter, who was born in Central Illinois. She came to Cherokee, Kansas, at the age of twelve years, and before her marriage taught vocal and instrumental music. She studied with Mrs. Handley, a very successful teacher in St. Louis. Mrs. Latta now has a class in music in Chetopa. She is highly accomplished, and moves in the best social circles of Chetopa. Dr. and Mrs. Latta had one child which died in infancy.
Dr. Latta was a Democrat early in life, but changed to the Greenback ticket in Texas, and is now a strong Prohibition Populist. He served as police judge two years in Chetopa. He has always been an active worker in the Christian church, of which Rev. W. F. Guy is the present pastor. Dr. Latta owns his own home in Chetopa. He has been very successful and is well and widely known.
Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901
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