NEWSPAPER ARTICLES FROM THE
BURT COUNTY HERALD
OF TEKAMAH, NEBRASKA
From William Latta, Santa Barbara, California
Transcribed by Beryl Redfield, Secretary/Historian
A very pleasant surprise party was given at the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Latta, Tuesday evening, in honor of Mr. Latta's sixtieth birthday. Between thirty-five and forty friends were present, who, before departing, presented Mr. Latta with a handsome gold-headed cane, which will always be a pleasant memento of the occasion.
A successful surprise party is oftener attempted than accomplished, but the surprise played on W. W. Latta, Tuesday evening, in honor of his sixtieth anniversary was as completely carried out as it had been carefully planned by President J. P. Latta of the First National Bank.
As many of the old pioneer settlers as could be, on so short time, were invited to do honor to one among them. Some of the immediate neighbors and friends were invited to make up a merry group of invaders. The guest met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Latta at 8 o'clock and a few minutes later marched in a body to the beautiful home of the host to find him buried in the third page of a daily paper. Surprised? He was simply overcome. His birthday had not occurred to him, but he rallied and with the help of his good lady soon made every one comfortable. Those present were: Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Latrta, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Latta, Mr. and Mrs. John Shortell, Mr. and Mrs. M. M. Harney, Mr. and Mrs. S. T. Story, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Shafer, Mr. and Mrs. Al Crowell, Mr. and Mrs. A. P. Mason, Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Green, Mr. and Mrs. Well Harrington, Mr. and Mrs. E. P. Worcester, Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Griffin, Mr. and Mrs. W. M. White, Mr. and Mrs. S. H. Fee, Mr. and Mrs. I. A. Worcester, Mr. and Mrs. F. F. Ware, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Korns, Mesdames G. Thomas, C. B. Davis, C. A. Hinsdale, D. C. Wallace, W. B. Bean; Miss Ella Green, Miss Jane Cook, Mr. Rob Carr.
The party was very much like any other gathering for social recreation, except in number of hoary heads that marked this gathering. They added to the lasting remembrance of the social event, and made it the more to be remembered by the guests and especially Mr. Latta. At eleven o'clock in the midst of the overflow of good felling, Mr. J. P. Latta entered the parlors and walking across to opposite where the host of the evening was sitting, said,
"Mr. Latta, you see yourself surrounded by a host of friends and neighbors. Many of them have known you for more than a third of a century. Some like yourself came here when this country was new and wild, and have gone through the privations of a frontier life. But the changes have been many since we first met. We have seen this great state emerge from a territory with but a few people to become one of the greatest states in the Union of its age, and the changes have been many since your and your estimable wife came here, and they must be pleasing to you. You have seen happy homes made on every farm; you have seen school houses erected when every child could attend; you have seen churches built where all could go; you have seen great cities, town, and village built, all over the state. The life you have led has been an exemplary one - one that has been imitated by many, and one that you can look back over with pride, and others will speak of it with honor to you. But we have not invaded your peaceful domicile for the purpose of riot or theft, but we have come here this evening to rejoice with you and yours upon your 60th anniversary, as we have met together many times before and rejoiced at each others happiness, and we have met in the years gone by and rejoiced over the cradle at the advent of a new born babe. We have also met many times with our friends and rejoiced at the the wedding feats; we have met and mingled our tears w2ith each others tears as we have followed a dear one to its last resting place. But today you have placed another milestone on life's journey and long since you have passed the meridian of life and are now traveling the down hill road of life's journey. We thought the time might come when you would want some one to lean on and support you upon your journey. We thought there would be no fitter substitute, as we could not always be with you than this staff, or cane, which will always be found a trusty friend, and should you ever be obliged to use, you will find it a true support. We ask you to accept it, not for its intrinsic value and worth, but as a memento coming from your neighbors and friends. Take it and whenever you use it think as kindly of the donors thereof as we think of you tonight, and may you enjoy a long and peaceful, prosperous and happy life is our wishes."
And saying this he held out a very beautiful gold-headed ebony cane, on which was engraved, "Presented to W. W. Latta on his 60th anniversary." The present was accepted, but the recipient was so overcome that he could only return thanks for the lovely gift. A bountiful supper was then served, after which instrumental and vocal music was had by Mesdames Hinsdale, Wallace, Davis, Crowell and Mr. Hamblin. After the mid hour of night the guests took their departure leaving their wishes that Mr. and Mrs. Latta may both live and enjoy many more happy occasions.