HON. JOHN LATTA, one of the best known members of the Westmoreland county bar, and a man universally admired and respected by the community at large. He was born March 5, 1836 in Unity township, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, son of Moses and Eliza (Graham) Latta, and is of Scotch-Irish descent. The progenitor of the Latta family in Westmoreland county was John Latta, grandfather of Hon. John Latta, who with his brother Moses, settled in Mount Pleasant township, where the Mammoth Coke Works are now located. He married a Miss Storey of New Jersey, and by her had four children, among them being Moses Latta.
Moses Latta, father of John Latta, was born in 1790 in Mount Pleasant township, six miles north of the borough of Mount Pleasant, and in early life removed to Unity township, where he followed the occupation of farming. During the war of 1812 he enlisted in the company commanded by Captain Reynolds, but before his company reached the seat of war, a treaty of peace had been signed, and the troops returned home. He married Eliza Graham, daughter of Robert Graham, a native of Greensburg, and by occupation a horse dealer. Their children were : Mary Jane, wife of George R. Hughes, who resides on the old Latta homestead, an John, of whom later. Moses Latta died in February, 1848, when he was fifty-eight years old.
John Latta received his early educational training in the common schools of his native place, and subsequently attended Sewickley and Elder Ridge Academies, in which he spent about five years, thus forming an excellent foundation for a professional career. Determining to become a legal practitioner Mr. Latta formulated all his plans with that end in view. He entered, in 1857, into the study of law in Yale College, graduating from that institution in 1859, and in November of the same year was admitted to the bar of Westmoreland county. He has since been in almost continuous practice of his profession. He was elected state senator in 1863, discharging the duties of that responsible office with efficiency and credit. He was elected to the legislature in 1871 and 1872, serving for two terms. Two years later he was nominated and elected lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, serving in that office for fur years ; he led the state ticket in the election, his majority being something over four thousand. When his term as lieutenant governor expired, Mr. Latta returned to Greensburg, resuming the practice of his profession. As a lawyer Hon. John Latta holds an eminent place in the ranks of his profession, and is a man of the people, ever advocating the interests of the poor and oppressed. Added to his other qualifications he is endowed with a natural gift of eloquence, and is one of the most prominent and convincing speakers of the county. Fraternally he holds membership in the Masonic Order belonging to the K. T., and is a R. A. M. : also A. O. U. W. He married, September 12, 1865, Emma A. Hope, a daughter of C. C. Hope, of Uniontown, an a sister of W H. Hope, a land speculator of the city of Mexico. Four children were born to them, three of whom are living : Cuthbert H., born September 7, 1866 ; Mary Maude, born March 17, 1868, married W. B. Ryan, general traffic agent for a Mexican railroad, who resides in the city of Mexico ; and Isabel G., born February 17, 1875. Mrs. Latta died in 1876, an on December 13, 1877 Mr. Latta married rose McClellan, daughter of E. B. McClellan, of Ludwick borough, and their children were : Rose, born December 21, 1879, married Joseph T. Brunot, now deceased ; Marie Josephine, born July 23, 1881, married R. T. Jamison ; John, born May 15, 1883, died in 1885 ; Pollard, born January 15, 1885 ; Sarah Marguerite, born October 18, 1886.
Source Pages 18 & 19 History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N. Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906
Transcribed May 4, 1999 by Marilynn Wienke for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)
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