Biography of Chester Adelbert Latham

A member of the bar of Wichita, Chester A. Latham is now established in a good practice as patent attorney in that city, and represents one of the early Kansas families. The Lathams have lived in the Sunflower State nearly half a century.

Though brought to Kansas in early childhood, Chester Adelbert Latham was born in Adrian, Michigan, December 19, 1861. He obtained his early education while living on the farm near Wichita, and also attended the Wichita High School and for three years was a student in the Kansas State Agricultural College. Mr. Latham had had a varied business and professional career, and whatever he had done had done well. From 1885 to 1888 he was a manufacturer of wooden pumps. In the meantime he was studying law in the office of D. W. Welty, one of the early attorneys of Wichita, and on May 7, 1889, was admitted to the Kansas bar.

A few weeks previously Oklahoma Territory had been opened to settlement, and for a brief while Mr. Latham had experience as a lawyer at Guthrie. Returning to Wichita, on June 1, 1891, he accepted an appointment as city mail carrier and continued in that work for fourteen years. For a number of years Mr. Latham had been studying patent law and some exceptional opportunities for work in that branch of the profession came during the two years from April, 1913, to March, 1915, when he served as private secretary to Congressman Victor Murdock. During the greater part of those two years was in Washington with Mr. Murdock and soon after his return to Wichita, in August, 1915, he opened his office as a patent attorney, and had already acquired a substantial clientage.

Mr. Latham is past master of Sunflower Lodge No. 86, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, at Wichita. In 1886, while a young business man at Wichita, he married Eva M. Penn, of Georgetown, Kentucky. They are the parents of three children; Ervene Roberta; Della Lucile, wife of Jacob Spine, a Wichita merchant; and Catherine Lucretia, a student in high school.

Robert Latham, father of the Wichita lawyer, was born in Rochester, New York, settled in Southern Michigan, and for many years conducted a business in Adrian, but in 1864 brought his family out to Illinois and was one of the early settlers of the new state. Locating near Bloomington, he conducted a dairy there until 1872, then moved to Wichita. He was one of the pioneers in that part of Kansas, and preempted a claim of 160 acres near the city. He lived on that continuing its improvements and engaged in general farming until 1880. He then retired from active affairs and lived in Wichita until his death on May 29, 1886. Robert Latham married Lucretia Cornwall. She was a descendant of the Cornwalls of England, her first American ancestor, William Cornwall, having come to this country in 1649 and settled in Massachusetts.

Mr. Latham traces his paternal ancestry back to Sir Thomas Latham, a noted Englishman, record of whom is found in the year 961 A. D. The American founder of the family was Robert Latham, who came from Denbig, Wales, in 1634, in company with his friend the Rev. Mr. Shepherd, who later founded Cambridge College. Robert Latham settled in Massachusetts and at the time of his death was living in Bridgewater. He married Susan Winslow, a danghter of John Winslow and a niece of Edward Winslow, one of the noted early colonial governors of Massachusetts.

James Latham, the great-grandfather of Chester Adelbert Latham, was in the Revolutionary war, in the Second Massachusetts Regiment, and Mr. Latham’s grandfather, Robert Latham, was in the War of 1812.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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