October 29, 2022

William Storey Latta, 1826-1901 [RG4352.AM]


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 In 1890 the Eclectic School of Medicine, which had withdrawn from the University, incorporated with Cotner College.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

    1. 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

    1. Receipts, 1859

    1. Promissory notes, 1859-1862

    1. Account book, 1860-1867

    1. Receipts, 1857-1859

    1. Receipts, 1868-1873

    1. Day book, 1874-1889

    1. Ledger, 1885-1891

    1. Day book, 1891

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

Series 3 – Physicians’ visiting lists

Box 2


    1. 1885

    1. 1862-1867

    1. 1877-1880

    1. 1880-1882

    1. 1882-1883

    1. 1884

    1. 1885

    1. 1886

    1. 1888

    1. 1889-1890

    1. 1890

    1. 1891-1892

    1. 1892-1893

    1. 1893-1894

    1. 1894-1895

    1. 1895

    1. 1895-1896

    1. 1896-1897

    1. 1897-1898

    1. 1898-1899

    1. 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

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Why John G. Neihardt was named Nebraska Poet Laureate in 1921

Why John G. Neihardt was named Nebraska Poet Laureate in 1921

Emigrants along the Trails at Chimney Rock

Emigrants along the Trails at Chimney Rock

Marker Monday: Easter Blizzard of 1873

Marker Monday: Easter Blizzard of 1873

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.