“One of South Carolina’s antebellum architectural – historic treasures.”
City Directories and History: 1958 – York Funeral Home, George H. Cody, 1966 – York Funeral Home, George H. Cody
In 1806, Robert Latta (from Mecklenburg County, N.C.) married a local girl, Jane Allison. He purchased part of his father’s (James Latta of Mecklenburg Co., N.C.), mercantile business and property in Yorkville
and began the construction of the Historic Latta House. After Jane’s death, he married Eliza Dilworth and began building this house in 1824; it took four years to complete. The walls are 7 bricks thick — 24 inches. The ceilings are 12 feet high, and the moldings are 18 inches wide. Its floors are pine and the house contains 14 fireplaces. The doors on the third floor are 9 feet by 5 feet; and
when the Latta’s held a ball, these were opened and the bedrooms were turned into a ballroom. The Lattas went to Europe to buy furnishings for the house. In Austria, they bought crystal chandeliers; in Italy, mantles; and in France and England, furniture and fabrics. Robert Latta eventually became one of the richest men in the area. He had stores in Yorkville, Camden, and Columbia. In 1840, he moved his family to Columbia (by this time he was the Robert was President of National Bank, Columbia, South Carolina.)
He was naturalized at Charlotte, South Carolina, 2/7/1814. and left this house to his son William. As legend has it, his daughter Florence was jilted at age sixteen and never left the house again, dying at age eighty-six. William’s son Robert J. became the next owner; he operated a cotton brokerage office on the first floor. For a while the house was called the Latta Warehouse. Robert’s half-brother John was the next owner; and due to financial problems, his property was put in the hands of receivers. The house was exempted and deeded to his wife Anna. In 1936 Anna sold the house to Mrs. Thomas Adams, thus ending more than one hundred years of Latta family ownership.
For many years the house was owned by George Cody as the Yorkville Funeral Home. The house is currently owned by Johnny and Diane Wine and is still operated as a business. Johnny is an antiques dealer and Kellie Mull operates the York Wedding Chapel. [Courtesy of the Yorkville Historical Society – 2002]
*** Take notice that in 1860 the Latta family was worth a handsome sum of $152,000, making them one of York County’s wealthiest families. There is no recorded documentation as to whom the contractor of this magnificent home was. However, at the time, only one known individual was living in the region encompassing the skill set and artisans needed for such an undertaking, Thomas B. Hoover. He constructed the brick jail adjacent to the Latta house and may well have acted as the contractor on it as well. The 1910 Sanborn map lists this site as #54 South Congress.
Historian Wm. B. White, Jr. wrote – “When Thomas B. Hoover came to town to help build the 1824 courthouse (the third courthouse), the way was open for future brick structures. He was an energetic, skilled contractor from Burke County, N.C., whose memory should be honored today for his helping to give Yorkville its first attractive public buildings and residences.’ Not enough has been made of Hoover’s contributions and his profound influence in improving the appearance of the trifling village of Yorkville. Before 1800 Yorkville consisted of about a dozen small frame and log structures, exclusive of a courthouse and a jail (gaol), and of several dozen inhabitants. That is all. Fame and fortune and architectural distinction came some twenty-five years later with the advent of well-educated clergymen, lawyers, merchants, writers, and teachers —and Thomas B. Hoover, master-builder.” Information from: The Genesis of York, by Wm. B. White, Jr., Yorkville Historical Society, 2015 – Jostens Publishing Company R&R Note: has documentation of Mr. Hoover making brick in the area as early as 1820.
See added information on Mr. Latta as successful peddler in York, S.C., under the MORE INFORMATION link, found under the primary image. Courtesy of the Louise Pettus Collection.
RAILROADS COME TO YORK COUNTY – Several additional facts about the rail line from Columbia to Rock Hill may be of interest to the reader. First, the men from York District who attended the convention concerning the building of a railroad from Charlotte to Columbia were Colonel W. C. Beatty, William A. Latta, John Miller Ross, Robert Gadsden McCaw, William Moore, W. Giles, J. Beatty Smith, and Joel W. Rawlinson. This initial meeting of interested parties was held at Winnsboro on May 24 and 25, 1847.
Subscribers for stock in the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad Company on September 9 and 10, 1847, were these: Colonel W. C. Beatty, John Miller Ross, Colonel William Wright, John S. Moore, W. I. Clawson, William A. Latta, George W. Williams, Colonel Edward Avery, Harvey Hugh Drennan, Rev. Archibald Whyte, Thomas D. Spratt, James D. Spratt, A. M. White, George P. White, William E. White, and Captain John Massey.
(Along the Landsford Road, by Wm. B. White, Jr. Vol., I – 2008)
Yorkville Enquirer, Thursday, January 3, 1861
Train Wreck delayed news of Secession
Train wreck delayed the announcement of the adoption of the Ordinance of Secession. The mails came in about dark on Saturday (from Chester, having gone from Columbia to Chester). “The news was received with the wildest enthusiasm by all sexes and conditions; the cannon boomed forth its rolling thunder, while rifles, shot-guns, pistols and crackers, gave evidence that old and young Carolina, were in the ‘exuberant.’” W. A. Latta, Esq. prepared “his large and capacious mansion for illumination. . . .” Most citizens were taken by surprise and had no preparations but “extemporised [sic] the occasion with hearty good will, showing what might have been more general, had time permitted. The premises of several of our townsmen were thrown open, and ample justice done to ‘the generous fluid.’ More, so, perhaps than was consistent with ‘good feeling’ next day. [italics his] Sunday was quiet, as is usual in our town, but Monday brought out the big gun, little guns, and the darkies, the latter institution seeming to enjoy a Carolina Christmas out of the Union as well as in it.” B. T. Wheeler, Esq. had his house “beautifully illuminated with several appropriate transparences[sic]. . . .” Even though he was northern born, Wheeler supports secession.
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