1. Albert Edward LATAS
Albert P. Latas
ALBERT P. LATAS during his active career has put his main dependence upon the co-operation of hands and head, hard labor and intelligent management, and his work has been prospered and he himself has gained an esteem and standing sufficient to justify all his efforts. He belongs to the pioneer group of settlers in Pawnee County, where he arrived when a young man of twenty-three in May, 1878. His father, John Latas, had been here the previous year and had taken up both a tree claim and homestead in Grant Township.
Albert Latas also took up a tree claim on the southwest quarter of section 4, township 21, range 19. The family home was built on the homestead and consisted of a sod house. This house contained only a single room. It was plastered with native lime, and it afforded a domicile for almost seventeen years.
The Latas family came into Western Kansas with more possessions than many of the early settlers, and that surplus enabled them largely to tide over the dire and distressful years that followed. They brought with them besides household goods ten cows, four calves and as many horses. These they drove overland from their previous home in Iowa. This family, like most of the others, found it hard to make both ends meet by farming. There were almost constant failures of crops, whether they planted grain or mere feed stuffs for the stock. For two years Albert Latas went into Eastern Kansas and worked at husking corn in McPherson County, his wages being contributed to the family exchequer. At the end of seven years granted him for the purpose, John Latas had failed to prove up his homestead and it was then entered by Albert P. Latas, who spent another seven years on it and then acquired title.
John Latas was born in Cracow, Austria. He was the only member of the family to come to America, and arrived in this country at the age of twenty-one. He first located in Pennsylvania, and during four years spent at Pittsburg he worked as a cap maker. From Western Pennsylvania he went to Wisconsin, bought some land and took up farming, and after thirteen years sold that property and moved to Adair County, Iowa. Here he also engaged in farming and his labors repaid him well in that state. Before he came to Kansas he owned a section of Iowa's good farming land. His later years were spent at different points and he finally died at the Odd Fellows Home in Mattoon, Illinois, in 1912, at the age of eighty-eight. During the war he had assisted in recruiting troops for the Union, but was never a soldier himself.
John Latas married Caroline Ronlie, who was born on the River Rhine in Germany. She died in Pawnee County in 1900, when about seventy-two years of age. She was the mother of thirteen children, and the following are mentioned: Albert P.; George, a resident of Chicago; Jacob, of Colorado Springs; Mary, Mrs. Glen Wissler of Adair County, Iowa; Maud, wife of Charles Seeley of Liberal, Kansas; and Louisa, wife of James Magee of Larned.
Albert P. Latas was born while his parents lived at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, on April 15, 1855. He received his education in the country schools near his parents' home in Wisconsin and Iowa. His first independent work away from home was done when he homesteaded his tree claim in Kansas. For his success he has put his trust in hard labor and intelligent management, and on the whole has been liberally prospered as a wheat raiser and stock grower. At the present time Mr. Latas owns three quarter sections of land, and has also improved it with good frame house, barns, granaries, and has 330 acres under the plow. This farm was his home and the center of all his activities until September, 1916, when he moved into Rozel, and erected one of the first class residences of that village. The best wheat yield per acre he ever had was thirty-two bushels. His big wheat crop came in 1914, when he threshed 6,500 bushels. While a resident of the country he was a member of the school board in district No. 46 and was also a trustee of Grant Township. He began voting as a republican, but in recent years his political practices and inclinations have been largely democratic.
After he had lived in Pawnee County for a number of years and had acquired no little experience in farming and other activities Mr. Latas established a home of his own by his marriage on January 1, 1889, to Miss Cora L. Magee. She is a daughter of Clemens and Rebecca (Barham) Magee. Her father, who was born in North Carolina, was married in Tennessee, moved from there to Illinois, and later to Kansas, homesteading in Grant Township, Pawnee County. During the Civil war he was a soldier in the Confederate army. His death occurred in Pawnee County in 1910. His wife passed away in 1886. Mrs. Latas had the following brothers and sisters: Charles, Frank, Joseph, Will, James and Mrs. Mary Malosh.
Mr. and Mrs. Latas have four children. Clem, a farmer in Grant Township, married Lucile Heft and has a son, Glen, and a daughter, Evelyn Fay. Ray, the second in age, died at the age of seventeen. Albert E. is a resident of Rozel, married Esther Carlson, and has a daughter, Lorena Augusta. Ruth is the wife of Clyde Heft and has two children, Doyle and Nadene.