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RG4352.AM:  William Storey Latta, 1826-1901

Papers:  1852-1901

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.:  Physician

Size:  1.0 cu.ft.; 2 boxes + microfilm


William Storey Latta was born in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, on May 3, 1826. He was educated in the public schools until the age of eighteen when his father, William Latta, moved the family to Cincinnati, Ohio. He continued his education under private instruction until 1851 when he enrolled in the Eclectic Medical Institution at Cincinnati, which he attended for three years. Dr. Latta received his degree from the Newton Clinical Institute in March of 1855. After two years of practice he took his widowed mother and her children west, settling at Rock Bluff, Cass County, Nebraska Territory. Dr. Latta was active in the development of Rock Bluff, serving in several offices including successive terms as mayor of the community. He was also a member of the Sixth Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Nebraska, which met in Omaha in December of 1859. In 1861 he married Sarah Anne Eikelbary, of Plattsmouth, and they had two children.

When the Civil War broke out, Dr. Latta enlisted as a private in the 2nd Nebraska Cavalry, and was commissioned Assistant Surgeon for the 2nd Nebraska. He was chief surgeon over all the territory from Brownville, Nebraska north through the Dakotas. In 1862 he established the first military hospital at Omaha, and in 1863 went into active field service. After mustering out with the 2nd Nebraska in December, he returned to his practice at Rock Bluff, where he remained for sixteen years. There he acquired an excellent reputation, and performed many major operations.

Dr. Latta was among the first in the state to perform abdominal surgery. In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Latta built and operated a flour mill, and raised breeding stock. In 1873 he moved his family to Lincoln, Nebraska where the doctor, a presbyterian and temperance advocate, was active in community life. In 1876 he was elected coroner, and in the following year became the county physician. A member of the Eclectic Medical Association, in 1879 he delivered a paper on malarial poisons – “Miasma Virus” to the National Eclectic School of Medicine at the University of Nebraska. In 1890 the Eclectic School of Medicine, which had withdrawn from the University, incorporated with Cotner College. Dr. Latta remained as dean of the college until his death in October of 1901.


This collection consists of two manuscript boxes of material arranged in six series: (1) the “Latta Papers,” (two bound volumes containing personal papers and mostly records pertaining to the 2nd Nebraska Volunteer Cavalry), material dating from 1845-1863 (on microfilm); (2) financial records, 1852-1900; (3) Physician’s visiting lists, 1855-1901; (4) scrapbook, 1881; (5) correspondence 1880-1901; (6) miscellany. This material relates to the 2nd Nebraska Volunteer Cavalry Regiment; early medical practice in Nebraska; Rock Bluff, Nebraska Territory; and to the Latta family.

Note:  See the NSHS Library Catalog and the Nebraska History index for published materials regarding William Story Latta and the Latta family. See also the Charles Ladd papers [RG2131] for additional information regarding Minnie Latta Ladd and the Latta family.


Series 1 – Latta papers (microfilmed for preservation)

Reel 1


  1. Biographical notes

    Description of the material on the 2nd Nebraska Regiment

    Latta family genealogy

    Notes and receipts


    Election certificates from Rock Bluff, 1864

    Miscellaneous legal papers and documents dating from the late 1850s through the 1860s

    Records of the 2nd Nebraska

  2. Records of the 2nd Nebraska (partial list of the documents relating to the regiment includes company lists of recruits for A, B, C, D, E, F, G and K companies

    Reports of sick and wounded for May and June 1863

    Requisitions for medical and forage supplies

    Report of sanitary conditions

    Copies of special orders

Series 2 – Financial records, 1852-1900

Box 1


  1. Account book, 1852-1856

  2. Receipts, 1859

  3. Promissory notes, 1859-1862

  4. Account book, 1860-1867

  5. Receipts, 1857-1859

  6. Receipts, 1868-1873

  7. Day book, 1874-1889

  8. Ledger, 1885-1891

  9. Day book, 1891

  10. Ledger, 1891-1900 (includes 1 folder of unsorted receipts, 1880s-1890s)

Series 3 – Physicians’ visiting lists

Box 2


  1. 1885

  2. 1862-1867

  3. 1877-1880

  4. 1880-1882

  5. 1882-1883

  6. 1884

  7. 1885

  8. 1886

  9. 1888

  10. 1889-1890

  11. 1890

  12. 1891-1892

  13. 1892-1893

  14. 1893-1894

  15. 1894-1895

  16. 1895

  17. 1895-1896

  18. 1896-1897

  19. 1897-1898

  20. 1898-1899

  21. 1900-1901

Series 4 – Scrapbook

  1. Combined medical scrapbook and day book entries

Series 5 – Correspondence, 1880-1901

  1. Routine correspondence (5 items)

Series 6 – Miscellany

  1. Clippings, cards and notes

    Remininscence of Mary Olive (Latta) Watson

    Speech by W. S. Latta at National Eclectic Medical Association meeting, 1882 (photocopy)



Cass County (Neb.) — History

Latta, William Storey, 1826-1901

Latta family

Medicine, Eclectic

Medicine, Military

Medicine — Practice

Physicians — Nebraska

Rock Bluff (Neb.) — History


United States — History — Civil War — Medical and sanitary affairs

United States. Army. Nebraska Cavalry Regiment, 2nd


DAB/HEK/jlc   05-09-1966

nd   06-17-1997

Encoded TMM   05-26-2010