ALFRED LATTA - BRANCH 4
Biographical Review of Calhoun County, Michigan
Containing Historical, Biographical, and Genealogical Sketches of Many
of the Prominent Citizens of To-Day and Also of the Past Illustrated.
Chicago, Hobert & Mather, 1904, Pages 135-136.
Submitted by Connie Leaman
Alfred Latta, now deceased, was actively
associated with the work of development and improvement in Battle Creek
for many years. As a real estate dealer he would buy land, improve it by
the erection of substantial buildings and then sell. In this way he
added to the up building of the city as well as to his individual
success and his operations were gilded by such reliable business methods
that he won the unqualified confidence of the public.
Mr. Latta was born in Lewiston, New York, April
6, 1821, a son of John and Milly Smith) Latta. The father was an
extensive property owner who had land near Lewiston and a large tannery
and other business interests. During the War of 1812 his tanner and
other buildings were destroyed by fire, but after the close of
hostilities he rebuilt and continued to make his home in Lewiston until
called to his finial rest. His son Alfred was there reared and acquired
a good academic education. He was one of twins in a family of ten
children, eight sons, not one of whom was ever intoxicated or formed any
bad habits. His twin brother Albert now lives on Grand Prairie near
Kalamazoo, Michigan. Alfred Latta wised to attend college and prepare
for the bar, but as his father needed his assistance in business he put
aside his cherished plan and worked in connection with the management of
his father's interests. When twenty-one years of age he went to
Wisconsin, where he took up land from the government but after a year
and a half returned to New York at the request of his father to look
after his interests. A well informed man, he taught school in both New
York and Wisconsin.
It was on the 6th of April, 1848, in Parma, New
York, that Alfred Latta was married to Miss Martha E. Hill, who was born
at Livonia Center, Livingston County, a daughter of Rufus and Sarah W.
(Brown) Hill, who removed to Lewiston, New York, during the early
girlhood of their daughter. When she was eleven years of age she had
attended school where Mr. Latta was a teacher. She received a good
education, partly under private instruction and three times she had her
trunk packed preparatory to go to college, when failing health forced
her to forego this plan. Mr. and Mrs. Latta remained in Lewiston for
four years and then started westward with the intention of going to
Minneapolis, but stopped at Kalamazoo. Mr. Latta there invested in
property and began dealing in real estate. In 1865 he purchased a farm
of six hundred acres in Pennfield township, east of Battle Creek, and
this he divided into lots and afterward sold. Removing then to the city
he began real estate operations here, buying, improving and afterward
selling property until he became one of the most active factors in the
substantial up building of the city. His business was conducted along
progressive lines and brought him gratifying success.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Latta were born five children:
Sarah P., the wife of Eli S. Glover, of Pullman, Washington, by whom she
had four children - Grace, Edith, Arthur L. and Sheldon L; Frank Hill,
who is now postmaster at Battle Creek; Mary L., the wife of A. R.
McIntyre, who was assistant superintendent of the Grand Trunk Railroad
for years and lives in Battle Creek; Alice M., the wife of Clarence J.
Paul, an attorney of Minneapolis, by whom she has two daughters,
Florence and Lelia; and Homer A., a stockholder and director of the
Union Steam Pump Co., who married Lulu Perry and resides at No. 202
Mr. Latta passed away January 13, 1887, and
Battle Creek thus lost one of its valued and honored citizens. In
politics he was a Whig in early life and voted for Henry Clay. In 1856
he became a Republican, supporting Fremont, and remained an advocate of
that party until his death. He was a stanch advocate of educational
advancement and was really ahead of his times in this way. When he
advocated manual training he was called visionary but could he have seen
the schools of the country to-day he would find that in every city his
idea is now embodied in the curriculum. After his marriage he became a
member of the Congregational Church, his wife having been reared in that
faith. He was a kind and indulgent husband and father, and the filial
love and care which he bestowed upon his father, even to the sacrifice
of his own interests, foreshadowed the consideration which he ever gave
to his wife and children. He was a man of five feet, nine inches in
heights, weighing from one hundred and ninety to one hundred and
ninety-five pounds, was of fair complexion, with light hair and blue
eyes. His expression was genial and kindly and yet he was not without
that strength of character which is the basis of all forceful manhood.
In his business affairs he prospered and took great delight in providing
the comforts of life for his family. He might well have been called one
of nature's noblemen, for his life was actuated by high principals and
free from all that was degrading, and his memory remains as a blessed
possession of his family and friends.