Branch 45


By Beryl Redfield, Branch 45 Captain

Because of its location in what is called "The Latta Plan," an area of houses in Roscoe, Washington County, Pennsylvania, it is called the Latta Stone House. The Latta Stone House was built by Allen Stockdale in 1803-1805. It is recognized as part of the Underground Railroad, and is of a duplicate design, although fancier, of a house built by a brother, Robert Stockdale, and of a house in California, Pennsylvania built by a sister. Thomas Stockdale had a brick house and farmlands that became the nucleus of the town that bears his name, Stockdale, in Allen Township. All were believed to be involved in the railroad, and all were Friends or Quakers. This stone house has had many owners over the years. The O. D. Latta mentioned in the story is Ostrander D. Latta. He was my great grand-mother Irene Latta's uncle. Ostrander D. Latta and his brother Alexander Latta were deeded the Latta Stone House on 18 May 1868 by their father, William Latta of Branch 45.

Excerpts from "The Washington Observer" Issue of Friday, October 29, 1937.


By Mary Herron

Miss Eliza Hazelbaker of Roscoe found a newspaper clipping several years ago that indicated that the house was then well over 130 years old. O. D. Latta bought the stone house that had taken everything its builder had in order that it might be perfect, and the house has come down through the family until it is occupied at present by Mrs. Ollie Latta Chester and her daughter, Miss Mary Margaret Chester. Before the Latta's came into ownership, the house was rented for several years by John R. Gregg. Some years later, it was again rented while Mrs. Chester's father was supervising the renovation of another farm he had acquired near there. So, for over a century the Latta's have occupied the great stone house.

Mrs. Chester can claim close relationship with the oldest families in Allen Township, her grandmother being an Allen, for whom the township was named, she herself being a Latta married to a Chester, another old family name in that place. An old indenture is also in the house. For the consideration of $25, it states that William Allen obtained the ground on which the Latta House was built from William and Charles Penn. Mrs. Chester recalls sitting on the riverbank with her father to watch for the packet. It went up the river in the afternoon on schedule, but it had no return schedule and was very uncertain. As this was the only possible way to transport produce into the city, they waited on the dock with lanterns and then waved the lights frantically as the boat approached. The boat pulled in to shore, took on their goods and hurried off down the river.

End of Excerpt.

The "Latta Stone House" was built in 1805, and is one of the most historical buildings in Roscoe. It has been listed by the Western Pennsylvania Architectural Survey as being one of the best representatives of the Virginia Plantation Influence to be found in Washington County.