S. W. LATHAM, M. D. A man of rare discrimination and judgement, keen-sighted, practical and progressive, S. W. Latham, M. D., is not only one of the leading physicians of Saline county but is one of the more prominent and influential citizens of Eldorado, where as mayor of the city he is rendering excellent service, being especially active in the inauguration of enterprises conducive to the public welfare. A son of the late Dr. John Latham, he was born April 12, 1878, in Harrisburg, Saline county, of good old Virginia ancestry.
John Latham was born and reared in Virginia, and there received a collegiate education, being fitted for the medical profession in his native state. Coming to Illinois in 1856, he practised medicine in Eldorado for three years, in the meantime reading law. Not particularly enjoying his labors as a physician, Dr. Latham moved to Harrisburg in 1859, about the time that city was made the county-seat of Saline county, and was made its first city attorney. He was thereafter engaged in the practice of law at Harrisburg until his death, which was caused, in 1885, by diphtheria when he was but fifty-six years old. Dr. John Latham married Sarah R. Westbrook, a native of Saline county. Her father, the maternal grandfather of Dr. S. W. Latham, was Rev. Samuel Westbrook, who came from Virginia to Saline county in pioneer days, locating about two miles east of Eldorado, where he improved a farm, and was one of the most active workers in the Methodist Episcopal denomination, having served as a circuit rider for many years. Mr. Westbrook served as a soldier in the Mexican war, and subsequently preached in various Illinois churches, continuing his ministerial labors until upwards of ninety years of age. He died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Sarah R. (Latham) Scott, of Eldorado, in 1910, at the remarkable age of ninety-nine years. Of the union of John and Sarah R. (Westbrook) Latham three children were born and
reared, as follows: S. W., the special subject of this brief sketch; John O., engaged in farming near Eldorado; and Dora B., wife of Jesse Nash, who is engaged in mercantile pursuits at Murphysboro, Illinois. Mrs. Latham lived a widow several years, and then married for her second husband Mr. J. M. Scott of Eldorado, of whom a brief personal sketch may be found on another page of this work.
After completing the course of study in the Eldorado schools, S. W. Latham taught school a year, and in 1896 was graduated from the Indiana Central Normal College, at Danville. Entering the Saint Louis College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1897, he was there graduated in 1901 as valedictorian of his class. During the ensuing year Dr. Latham had charge of the Jefferson Hospital, after which he settled in Eldorado, where his father had located fifty years before, and has since been here successfully employed as a physician and surgeon, having a large and remunerative patronage throughout this part of Saline county. The Doctor holds an honored position in professional circles, and is identified by membership with the Saline County Medical Society, the State Medical Society and the American Medical Association.
A stanch Republican in politics, Dr. Latham has ever evinced an intelligent interest in local affairs, and has never shirked the responsibilities of public office. For six years he served as a member of the local school board during which time the present large and handsome public school building was erected. In 1910 the Doctor was elected mayor of Eldorado, and in the time that has since elapsed he has been very active and influential in adding to the municipal improvements previously inaugurated. Many of the streets of the city have been paved; a water works system costing seventy-five thousand dollars has been established; sewerage costing ninety thousand dollars has been introduced; and a plant for incinerating garbage has been put in operation. During the first five months of Dr. Latham's administration as mayor seven miles of concrete sidewalks were built; one and one-fourth miles of street crossings were laid; one and one-fourth miles of sewer pipes were laid in the city; and a practical system by which garbage is collected from garbage cans was installed. In all of these wise and much needed improvements the Doctor has been a dominant factor, and too much credit cannot be given him for his efficient aid in pushing these beneficial enterprises, each one of which has been of practical value to the town and county.
Dr. Latham married, in 1901, Lura B. Osburn, a daughter of C. E. Osburn, of Eldorado, a former justice of the peace. Mrs. Latham is a member of the Christian church, and a faithful worker in the same. Fraternally the Doctor belongs to the Ancient Free and Accepted Order of Masons; to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; to the Knights of Pythias; and to the Improved Order of Red Men.