By: Alan Latta, Branch 9


  Back in the summer of 1993 I flew down from Toronto to visit my widowed mother, Viola Latta, who was living at the time in Wichita, Kansas.  Early in our first conversation, she told me a very interesting story. She had recently received a call from a woman she knew, although not well; the woman said that her son worked for a demolition company and that they had recently demolished a house. In the attic, he had found a small metal box, full of miscellaneous papers, pertaining to the Latta family. Would my mother like to have them? Yes! They have them to Mom, and she said that the first thing she pulled out of the box was a letter bearing the date 1826. And she thought that the documents pertained to our family (Branch 9); the names and dates seemed right.

  She brought out the box, and I began looking through the materials. Initially, I had been a bit skeptical, figuring that there probably was not much that was worthwhile. And perhaps there is not. Ultimately it will depend on how much is already known. But there are a number of letters from a Henry Latta of Oklahoma and Kansas, to another Latta in Texas, all dating from the first decade of the 20th century. And there are many receipts (tax, business, etc.), signed by various Lattas -- mostly dating from 1885-1900. But there are also receipts and lists which go back further -- all the way to 1801 and southwestern Pennsylvania. (Material to interest a local historian!) And there is genealogical material, including several letters from Robert H. Latta, the Denver attorney who compiled the first Latta genealogy in the late 19th/early 20th century (the collection now in the Library of Congress).

  I was privately doubtful that the materials had anything to do with Branch 9, but at that time I had no way of checking. Shortly thereafter, my mother remarried and went to Oregon to live; most of her possessions, including the metal box, went into storage. I did not see it again until last year, after Mother had passed away, and my brothers and I were sorting through her effects. I brought the box back to Toronto and, with the information now on CD and on the Latta Website, I was able to determine that the Lattas involved belonged to Branch 1. What to do? Well, the materials really ought to go to someone in Branch 1 interested in genealogy, such as the Branch Captain for #1, our Editor, Kenneth Mueller! So I sent off the materials by courier to Arizona, and we will undoubtedly hear more about them from Ken.

Editor's Note: Some of the documents and papers contained in the box sent by Alan Latta were in the form of a packet letter. A large sheet of paper was written on in letter format, folded into a self contained packet, sealed with a small amount of wax, and then addressed. The postage was apparently paid by an amount written in the upper left corner, and then the letter packet was sent on to the addressee.

Letter to Samuel Latta, Fayette County, Mt. Pleasant Post Office Pennsylvania

Letter to Henry Latta, Clare, Okla.

Release, Affidavit, and Notice

Second Letter to Samuel Latta

Letter to Samuel Latta, Westmoreland Co., Mt. Pleasant, PA

Mr. Samuel Latta, Westmoreland Co., Mt. Pleasant, PA

Mr. Robert Latta, Esqr, Nobel County, Good Hope PO, Indiana