William Gordon Latham
City of Troy

This biography is from Troy and Rensselaer County, New York, Volume III, by Rutherford Hayner, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York and Chicago, 1925. It was submitted by Debby Masterson.

WILLIAM GORDON LATHAM—Born and educated in the Old Dominion State, Mr. Latham came to the Empire State in boyhood, and in the Troy district has become well known and influential. He has spent his entire business life with one of the leading paper manufacturing houses of that district, having entered the Fort Orange Paper Company as an apprentice and become thorough master of every detail. From that lowly position, taken as a boy, Mr. Latham has risen to the office of vice-president, and an important place on the board of directors. He is the son of John Wilbur and Mary (Hart) Latham, his parents still living in their native Virginia, his father a farmer and stock raiser.

Arms—Or, on a chief indented azure three bezants.
Crest—On a chapeau gules, turned up ermine, an eagle, with wings expanded or, preying on an infant proper, swaddled gules, banded argent.
Motto—Sans changer. (Without changing).

Mr. Latham is a direct descendant of the Lewis Latham, of Lancastershire, who was a sergeant falconer to Charles I from 1627 until his death in 1655. During this ancestor's residence on the old Latham estate, the crest described above was adopted. An old visitation found in a college of arms, Lancastershire, says regarding it, "A child, afterwards found to have been of royal blood, was discovered in an eagle's nest on the land of the Lathams, and that, it is assumed, was the origin of the crest."

William Latham, son of Lewis Latham, was a passenger on the historic "Mayflower," and lived in Plymouth until 1623, in Duxbury until 1637, and in Marsbfield up to 1648. After remaining in the colonies for over twenty years, he returned to England; he soon joined a group of colonists in the Bahama Islands, where he, together with a number of other pioneers, starved to death about the year 1651.

Robert Latham, son of William Latham, married Susanna Winslow, daughter of John and Mary (Chilton) Winslow. Susanna's grandmother was the Mary Chilton said to be the first white woman to step on Plymouth soil.

Captain William Latham, son of Robert and Susanna (Winslow) Latham, married Mary Avery, daughter of Colonel Ebenezer Avery and Dorothy (Park) Avery, of Connecticut, where the Lathams made their home. To this union were born four sons: Robert, Thomas, John and Dickey. The last mentioned boy moved to the northern part of New York, upon reaching manhood, while the other three brothers journeyed from the Empire State to Virginia. Robert became a Baptist minister in the South. His sons were Thomas, John, and Robert. Thomas and John settled in Prince William County, while Robert made a home in Culpepper County. The present Latham homestead was built at this time by the two brothers who remained in Prince William county, and here was born John Wilbur Latham, son of Thomas Latham, and father of William Gordon Latham.

John Wilbur Latham married Mary Hart, and lived in the old homestead. To them have been born five children: Mabel, John, Edna, Carroll, and William Gordon.

William Gordon Latham, youngest of this family, was born in Woolsey, Virginia, February 22, 1896. His education, obtained in public and private schools, led to graduation from high school at the age of fifteen. He then became a student at Western Home School, Cazanova, Virginia, but he left the institution in 1912 for the purpose of joining the Fort Orange Paper Company at Castleton-on-Hudson, New York, one of the leading paper manufacturing houses in the Troy district.

This organization devotes more than usual care to the training of young men for positions of responsibility, and it was in the informal school established for the purpose that Mr. Latham rose from apprenticeship to mastery of the paper-making craft. He performed duties in every department of the plant, and developed with the business. So successful was this regime that, at the end of five years, he was appointed superintendent, and another three years of service raised him to the vicepresidency, as well as membership on the board of directors and executive committee of the Fort Orange Paper Company. In addition to these duties, Mr. Latham is a director of the Castleton Building, Savings and Loan Association.

In 1917 he became a member of the Home Defense Reserve Company of Castleton, where he served as first lieutenant for about one year. Enlisting in the United States Army, in March, 1918, he was assigned to training camp at Oswego, going thence to Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, New York. He was next attached to the Thirty-eighth Regiment, Heavy Artillery, at Camp Eustis, Virginia, and finally embarked at Camp Stuart. November 8, 1918. Three days later the armistice was signed, and the ship, then in mid-ocean, was recalled to the United States by wireless. He was honorably discharged in December, 1918, and returned to his home.

Mr. Latham is a Republican in politics, and a member of Castleton Presbyterian Church. He is affiliated with Sunnyside Lodge, No. 731, Free and Accepted Masons, of Castleton, New York, and with the Scottish Rite bodies of Albany, New York, in which he holds the thirtysecond degree. He is a Noble of Cypress Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, and member of the Fort Orange Club of Albany and the Albany Country Club.

Mr. Latham married, February 28, 1920, Dorothy Morris, of Albany, daughter of William Tremain and Jean (Davis) Morris. Mr. and Mrs. Latham are the parents of one daughter, Jean Greer, born January 24, 1922. The family home is at Castleton, New York.

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