2. Albert Peter LATAS
Albert Peter Latas, known as A.P., was born April 15, 1855 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He was the first surviving child of thirteen children born to Karoline Ronlie and John Latas, seven of whom survived infancy.
Soon after Albert was born, the family moved to St. Louis, Missouri. In 1857, John went to Leavenworth, KS, and traveled through Wisconsin, where he settled his family near Bunker Hill in Grant County. Five more children were born to the family there: George, Katherine, Maud, Jacob, and Mary.
In 1870, when Mary was three weeks old, the family moved in a covered wagon to Jackson Township, near Fontanelle, in Adair County, Iowa. There John owned 280 acres, including a small orchard and some farm buildings. Louisa, the last known child of the family, was born there.
Cora L. Magee was born March 05, 1872, in McLean County, Illinois. She was the youngest of nine children born to Rebecca Barham and Clemmons Magee.
By 1874, the Magees were living in Livingston County, Illinois, and by 1876, they were in Ray County, Missouri. In 1878, the family was in Cloud County, Kansas, and by February of 1879, they had settled in Walnut Township, Pawnee County, Kansas.
In 1877, John Latas left his wife, Karoline, in Iowa, and took up a tree claim and homestead in Pawnee County, Kansas. The Timber Culture Act of 1873 promised 160 acres of prairie to any settler who would plant 40 acres in trees, not an easy task in the unforgiving Kansas climate. John brought household goods, ten cows, four calves and four horses, which he drove overland from Iowa. He built a one-room sod house, plastered with native lime, where he and some of his children lived on and off for 17 years.
A.P. joined his father in Pawnee County, KS in May, 1878, at the age of 23.
Like most other Kansas homesteaders, the family found it difficult to survive by farming. There were almost constant failures of crops due to grasshoppers, drought, and storms. For two years, Albert was sent to work husking corn in McPherson County in eastern Kansas to help make ends meet.
By 1880, the Latas family was back together, temporarily, in Iowa.
Seventeen-year-old Maud Latas and her thirteen-year-old sister, Mary, went to live with their father in Kansas in 1883, but Mary moved back to Iowa after a few years.
After seven years, John Latas, like 80 percent of all homesteaders, failed to prove up his homestead in Kansas. His son, A.P., took up John's claim in 1884.
That same year, Clemmons Magee and his son Frank were each granted homesteads in Grant Township, Pawnee County, KS.
In 1886, Rebecca Barham Magee, Cora's mother, died at the age of 55.
On January 01, 1889, thirty-three year old A.P. Latas married sixteen-year-old Cora Magee.
Less than eleven months later, their first child, John Clemmons, known as "Clem," was born on November 29, 1889. Less than 19 months later, their second child, Raymond Carl, was born on June 17, 1891. Less than 19 months later, their third child, Albert Edward, known as "Bert," was born on January 01, 1893, his parents' fourth anniversary. Two years later, Ruth Amelia was born on January 14, 1895. Two years later, Nellie was born on January 13, 1897.
In 1899, when she was only 2 years old, the youngest child, Nellie, died.
In 1900, A.P.'s mother, Caroline, was living with them in Kansas. She died on March 29, 1903 at the home of her daughter, Louisa, in Ash Valley Township, eight miles north of Larned, Pawnee County, Kansas. She was buried in Fontanelle, Iowa.
A.P.'s father, John, married his second wife, Augusta, on June 14, 1906.
Raymond Carl Latas, the middle son, died of typhoid and pneumonia at the hospital in Halstead, Harvey County, Kansas, on February 03, 1908 at the age of 16.
In 1909, A.P.'s sister Mary returned to Kansas with her children and her second husband, Edward Johsua Ewing, and settled on a farm five miles northwest of Larned. Mary wrote a column, "Northwest of Larned," for the Larned Chronoscope.
A.P.'s father, John, entered the Illinois Odd Fellows Old Folks Home in Matoon, Coles County, Illinois, on December 31, 1909. Augusta joined him at the Home on August 3, 1910. Both are buried at Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago.
Clemmons Magee, Cora's father, died on February 07, 1910, at the age of 81.
On May 1, 1912, Ruth, then 17, married Clyde Earl Heft, four days before his 22nd birthday. The following year, Clyde and Ruth followed Clyde's family to Commanche County.
A.P.'s father, John, died at the Illinois Odd Fellows Old Folks Home in Matoon, Coles County, Illinois, on December 11, 1914, and was buried in Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago.
On February 13, 1916, Clem, then 26, married Clyde's 18-year-old sister, Lucille Patricia Heft.
A.P. prospered as a wheat raiser and stock grower. In September, 1916, the family moved into the town of Rozel in Pawnee County. That same year, Cora joined the Methodist Church, but the following year, she and A.P. joined the Baptist Church of Rozel.
On March 14, 1917, Bert, then 24, married Esther Amelia Carlson, 17.
A.P. was a member of the school board in District 46 and was also a trustee of Grant Township. He began voting as a Republican but changed in his later years to a Democrat.—Connelley, William E., A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans Vol. IV (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1919), p. 1820.
A.P. had suffered with high blood pressure. He died of a stroke on April 04, 1919, in Rozel, just a few weeks before his 64th birthday. He was buried in Burdett Cemetery next to his children, Nellie and Raymond.
Cora died less than five years later, on January 17, 1924, in Oswatomie, Miami County, Kansas, at the age of 51.