The village of Latham was laid out in 1871, following the completion of the Peoria, Lincoln and Decatur, now
the Peoria and Evansville branch of the Illinois Central railroad. The village was laid out on land owned by Edwin
A. Joynt and Lemuel Parish, by the directors of the new railroad, one of whom was Col. Robert B. Latham, from whom
the town received its name. It was surveyed Dec. 4, 1871, by Thomas Gardner, county surveyor. The first store was
built by William and B. F. Darden; the second store by Frederick Joynt; the third by Dr. Leathers and the fourth
by Henry Mitchener. The first elevator was built in 1872 by G. M. Stine & Co. J. W. Corbett was the first postmaster.
A Methodist church was built in 1872 and a Baptist church in 1873. A correspondent of the Commercial Advertiser
in 1875 writing of Latham said: "There are two churches, one elevator and ten business places. A. J. Edick,
railroad agent, reports for the past year the following business: 700 cars of grain, 96 cars of live stock, $2,700
of passenger receipts, with $6,000 as receipts for freight on imports." In 1875 a two-story school house was
The village was organized under the general law, July 22, 1884. The first officers were: President, W. H. Kretzinger;
clerk, J. A. Colvin; trustees, W. H. Kretzinger, W. F. Henn, J. F. Huston, Peter Maus, Charles Sherman and Charles
L. Costello; justice, George W. Howe; constable, C. E. Joynt. Latham has been the victim of numerous fires. On
Oct. 8, 1875, the Allison and Kretzinger elevator, erected in 1873, was burned to the ground; loss, $4,000. In
1886 a two-story brick building belonging to F. M. Hostetler, together with a stock of goods belonging to Sheldon
Brothers, was consumed; loss, $15,000. On July 26, 1880, the J. D. Simpson building succumbed to fire. Two fires
occurred in 1890 and 1891. The former occurred on May 5th and burned Horn's hardware store, Stanley's restaurant
and the Allison building. The latter occurred April 13th and destroyed Simpson's hail and adjoining buildings.
On Oct. 17, 1894, fire swept the entire east side of the business street from Auer's brick south to the railroad,
then crossed the street and burned everything from Gasaway's brick building south to and including the railroad
depot, then swept around the rear of Gasaway's building and destroyed the Cottage Hotel and two residences, being
two solid blocks of buildings: loss. $35,000. On Aug. 9. 1895, the Mt. Pulaski Grain Company elevator burned, with
9,000 bushels of grain: loss. $10,000.
Numerous additions have been platted to the town by E. A. Joynt. Lernuel Parish and John Kiick. A new Christian
church was erected in 1909 and a new Methodist church in 1910. Both are modern structures. The village officers
for 1910 were: President, A. J. Pease: clerk, E. E. Rice; trustees, W. H. Williams, J. N. Vaughan, N. P. Gasaway,
E. Armstrong. B. A. Stennett, H. F. Bradshaw; treasurer, A. Eisiminger. The village is located in Laenna township
and has a population of about 500.