By Bonnie Peifer
on my Latta
family, we saw the little sign "Lattaville" and down at the dip of the road we
saw a two-storied brick house. There was a woman outside gardening and we
stopped to talk with her, asking if any Latta's still lived here. She said
not that she knew, but after telling her my lineage she invited us into the
house to show it to us. She was an architect and very proud of the house.
She told us it was built by William Latta in 1835 and was
an inn. Entering the back door we went into a large kitchen with a long
table and fireplace. On the left-hand side of the fireplace was a small
alcove with shelves with flowers on both sides. We were told it was the
post office at one time many years ago. The kitchen table could have
seated 12 people. Opposite the fireplace wall the door entered into the
front hall. There was a door on the left-hand side that went into the
parlor. The walls were 14 inches thick, with large inside sills.
Again this room had a fireplace and a door leading into the front hall.
The front hall was very large with stairs going up to the two large rooms, one
on either side, used as dormitories. Men slept on one side, women on the
The front door was over 45 inches wide so they could carry
a casket into the hall for viewing. We had never seen or heard of this
before. The door on the left side of the building was used for the post
office. She had partitioned the upstairs rooms to make individual rooms
for her children. Going into the kitchen again she said, "Now I will show
you why I like the house so much." She opened the kitchen cabinet door and
lifted up the floor in front of it revealing old log steps down into the full
basement where you could see the hand hewn timbers supporting the house.
Some were 10 by 12 inches and ran the length of the basement. All the
beams were hand hewn with full 2 by 10 joists and just as solid as the day it
The basement was full of old antiques. We don't know
if they all came from the original owners, but we were very impressed.
The woman told us we were not the first ones who had
stopped inquiring about the house. We were given the winter photos of the
house. She wanted us to see what it looked like in winter as we were
taking pictures of it in the summer.
The small house just beyond the inn was built by the same
brick mason with the same trim down under the eaves and the style of laying the
bricks are the same. She said it was where the family lived who ran the
While we were there she called the Historical Society of
Chillicothe to find out when they would be open. We also went to the
church services at the Concord Presbyterian Church that Sunday and told them
after the service why we were there. This church was founded in 1805, and is
only about a half mile north of Lattaville. Here in 1833 my great
grandfather, Samuel Nichols Latta, as well as all his brothers and sisters were
baptized together. We looked at the adjacent cemetery but my direct
ancestors weren't there because they moved on to Iowa in 1842.
Samuel's father, James Latta, had a sawmill which was
located across from the inn and down the road to the right. The mill is
While traveling throughout Ohio, Indiana and Iowa we saw
many lighted candles in the windows of old homes. This was a sign of
welcome in the old days when people were traveling by horse or carriage. The
lady who owned the inn had electrified candles in the windows the first time we
saw the inn.
The second time we went to Lattaville we stopped at the
inn again and spoke to the same lady. She was packing up to move away.
She had divorced and didn't need the large house anymore. I asked her
where I could buy some electrified candles such as I had seen there on our
previous visit and she said she wouldn't be using them in her new home and
offered to sell them to us. So we bought them and they are in our windows
in our little home in Yuma, Arizona.
The Lattas of Lattaville
14 Moses (5) Latta of Branch 3 is credited as the founder of Lattaville, Ross
County, Ohio. He marred Mary "Polly" Scott in what is now Franklin Co., PA
in 1798. Moses and Mary had two children: John, who died without issue,
and Abraham Smith, a surgeon in the Mexican War, who married and had six
daughters. After Mary's death in 1836, Moses married Mrs. Porter of
Chillicothe, OH, a widow with three children. Moses' brothers, John and
James, and several sisters and their families also lived in or near Lattaville.
Several other Latta families, including Bonnie's ancestors, spent time in the
Lattaville vicinity before moving westward.