My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

EDWARD BIDDLE LATCH, the son of Gardiner and Henrietta (Wakeling) Latch, the grandson of Jacob and Jane (Jeanette Rose) Latch, the great-grandson of Rudolph and Mary (Bealert-Baler) Latch (Lutz-Lasch), the great-great-grandson of Jacob and Dorothy Bealert (Baler), was born November 15, 1833, at Merion, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania.

Jacob Bealert (Baler) (great-great-grandfather) at and prior to 1755 was owner of a tract of land lying to the northward of City Line, and between the Old Lancaster Road and what is now called Lancaster Avenue or Turnpike. Rudolph Latch (Lutz-Lasch) (great-grandfather), of German extraction, was married March 5, 1755, to Mary, the daughter of Jacob and Dorothea Bealert (now written Bealer); she died September 1, 1813. The children by this marriage were: Nancy, Mary, Jacob, John, David, Elizabeth, Susanna, Joseph, Samuel, Hannah, and George. The latter named was born March 16, 1776, and thus through this branch, an American ancestry of about one hundred and fifty years is attained. Mrs. Latch inherited about one hundred acres of her father’s estate.

Jacob Latch (grandfather) was born October 31, 1758, and died June 29, 1845. He was a son of Rudolph and Mary (Bealer) Latch. He married Jane (Jeanette), the daughter of Peter and _____(Gardiner-Gardner) Rose, December 24, 1782. The children by this marriage were: Sarah, Mary, Jane, Gardiner (Gardner), Francis, H., Jacob, Peter R., and Hannah H. The latter was born January 30, 1803, and was married to Jacob Stadelman, Sr. The average age of the parents and children thus specified was eighty-four years, their ages, not counting the odd months and days, being, respectively, 87, 93, 92, 90, 90, 43, 90, 90, 78, and 83. At some time during the American revolution, Jacob Latch enlisted in the Continental army, serving for a time under Captain Young and Colonel Parschall (Paschall?). He volunteered to cut the rope at the west end of the Middle Ferry over the Schuylkill, at what is now called Market street, accomplishing the feat under fire from the British soldiers who were then occupying Philadelphia. At this time, also, the party of which Jacob Latch was a member were listening for and soon heard the roar of the guns that told of the battle of Germantown. Later Jacob Latch was called “Washington’s Runner,” but what special duty was involved has not been fully determined, Jane, his wife, also being very reticent concerning Revolutionary history, some of which she would not tell even as late as 1852. Subsequent to the war of the Revolution, Mr. Latch was elected and commissioned captain in the Fifth Company of the Thirty-sixth Regiment of the Pennsylvania Militia, under date of 1807, but his old friends used to address him as Major Latch.

Jane Latch, as already stated, was the daughter of Peter Rose. In the Revolutionary days, and prior thereto, Peter Rose owned a tract of land extending from low water mark on the Schuylkill for a distance of about a mile up Market street, the private burial ground of the Rose family, although unused, still remaining at Fortieth and Ludlow streets. Peter Rose married Miss Gardiner (Gardner), the daughter of a neighbor whose farm adjoined his own. The ancestors of Jane Latch came over in the ship with William Penn at his second coming in 1699, whereby, through this branch, a claim for an American ancestry goes back for two hundred and five years.

Gardiner Latch (father) was born January 22, 1792. During the war of 1812, although not a participant therein, he was under orders to hold himself at a minute’s notice for active service. Later he was duly elected, commissioned, and served as colonel of the Pennsylvania militia. Immediately prior to his marriage his parents, in order to keep their eldest boy near them, deeded to him six acres of ground from the old farm whereon to build himself a house. This plan was so successfully carried out that he brought his bride directly to the present homestead, and here all his children were born. He married Henrietta, the daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (de Monseau) Wakeling, on April 4, 1822. The children by this marriage were: I. Elizabeth D., born January 24 1823, died April 21, 1896; she became the wife of Thomas J. Knapp, and their children were: Edmund W., Henrietta W., and De Monseau, who died at the age of five years. 2. Jeannette Rose, born June 21, 1824, remained single, and died March 10, 1902, at the age of seventy-seven years. 3. Samuel W., born October 29, 1825, died September 24, 1832. 4. Isabella A., born December 3, 1826, died in July, 1871; she was the wife of William Ashworth, and their children were: James, Isabella Caroline, and William D. 5. Jacob, born March 5, 1828, married Emeline Cooper, and their children were: William, who died at the age of seven years; Edward, who died at the age of fourteen years, and Gardiner C. 6. Mary Ann, born August 4, 1829, died July 17, 1891. 7. Gardiner Latch, Jr., died in infancy. 8. Joseph (afterward known as Gardiner J.), born May 9, 1832, was married to Ellen Fitzgerald, no issue, and died October 14, 1899. 9. Edward Biddle, mentioned hereinafter. 10. Caroline Biddle, born January 8, 1835, became the wife of Anthony K. Royce, and their children were: Lucy A., who died at the age of eigtheen years; and Edward L. Royce. Jacob Latch, second son of Gardiner and Henriette Latch, made a splendid soldierly record during the Civil war. He enlisted in 1862 in Company I, One Hundred and Twenty-first Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Chapman Biddle commanding, and served until the close of the war, participating in the most important campaigns and sanguinary engagements of the great struggle. His service was in Virginia under Generals McClellan, Burnside, Hooker, Meade, Warren, Grant, Sheridan, Reynolds, and others of the great captains who commanded the Army of the Potomac, or such of its corps as his regiment was identified with. He fought in the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, and in the following year took part in the notable “mud march” under Burnside, January 20-25, and in the battle of Chancellorsville, May 3-5, 1863. He was also engaged with his regiment in the famous battle of Gettysburg July 1-3. Serving with the rank of first sergeant, the dreadful mortality among the commissioned officers of his company left him as the ranking officer after the last named battle, and he held the command with honor to himself and to the admiring satisfaction of the regimental commander. Sergeant Leach was a participant in all of the famous battles and minor engagements which took place under General Grant- the Wilderness, May 5-7, Spottsylvania, May 8 and 20, the North Anna, May 23-27, the Topotomy, May 20-31, Bethesda Church, June 1-5, Cold Harbor, June 5-12, Petersburg, June 17 to August 15, the Weldon railroad, August 16, Poplar Grove Church and Preble Farm, October 1, and the Applejack raid, December 6-12, all in 1864. He was also present in all the operations of the closing days in 1865, and took part in the engagements at Dabney’s Mill and Hatcher’s Run, February 6-12, the Boydton Plankroad and Gravley Run, March 31, Five Forks, April 1, and the capture of General Lee’s army at Appomattox Court House, April 9, 1865. He was with his regiment when it marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington City, in triumphal procession shortly after the cessation of hostilities, and was honorably mustered out with the colors.

Samuel Wakeling, the father of Henrietta (Wakeling) Latch, was born in England, November 9, 1768. He learned the bookbinding business with Edmund de Monseau, in Pater Noster Row, London, England, and with such further success that he carried off in marriage his employer’s daughter, the above mentioned Elizabeth de Monseau. The fruits of this marriage were nine children, namely: Samuel, who died quite young and was buried in St. Paul’s England; Mary Ann; William, who died in infancy and was buried in Christ Church burying ground in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Isabella, Elizabeth, William Henry, buried at Old Oxford, Philadelphia; Henrietta, Samuel, and Edmund D. Wakeling. On July 14, 1793, Samuel Wakeling left England and arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 26, 1793, with a view of settling in the. United States. He returned to England for his family, set sail from thence on July 14, 1794, and arrived in Philadelphia on October 1, 1794. He located in Frankford, Philadelphia, and established a prosperous business. Consequently, through this branch, an American ancestry of one hundred and ten years is attained.

Edmund de Monseau, the father of Elizabeth (de Monseau) Wakeling, married Elizabeth Loaste, they being refugees from France owing to some religious or political disturbance. As already intimated, the de Monseaus established themselves in the bookbinding business in Pater Noster Row, and the Loaste family took up the manufacture of silk goods, a sample of which is available at the present time.

Edward Biddle Latch acquired his education in the public schools. He learned mechanical engineering at the Norris’ Locomotive Works, remaining for six years, 1851-1857. He was appointed a third assistant engineer in the United States navy, September 20, 1858, attached to the United States steamship “Atlanta,” Paraguay Expedition, 1858-59; United States steamship “Sumpter,” on the west coast of Africa in the suppression of the slave trade, 1860-61; promoted to second assistant engineer, 1861; attached to the United States steamship “Hartford” (Admiral Farragut’s flagship) West Gulf Squadron, 1862-64. While on the “Hartford” as second assistant, upon the detachment of Chief Engineer Kimball (who was ordered on special duty at the Neptune Iron Works, New York City) he was placed in charge of her machinery by the commanding officer (Captain, late Rear-Admiral, Palmer), before Port Hudson fell, retaining charge of the same until the “Hartford” steamed into New York harbor on August 10, 1863, bearing the pennant of, at the time, Rear-Admiral Farragut. During his attachment to the “Hartford” Mr. Latch participated in the following engagements: Forts Jackson, St. Philip, and the Confederate fleet in the Mississippi river, April 24, 1862; the Chalmette Battery, New Orleans, April 25, 1862; first passage of the Vicksburg batteries, June 28, 1862; second passage of the Vicksburg batteries, July 15, 1862; passage of the Port Hudson terrible batteries, March 15, 1863; Grand Gulf, March 19, 1863; Warrenton, March 28, 1863; Grand Gulf, March 31, 1863; Forts Morgan, Gaines, and Powell, also the Confederate fleet, including the ram “Tennessee,” “Selma,” “Gaines,” torpedoes, etc., Mobile Bay, August 5, 1864. He was promoted to first assistant engineer, 1863, attached to the United States steamship “Wachusett,” East India Squadron, 1865- 68; Naval Academy as instructor in the engineering department, 1869-70. He was promoted to chief engineer, 1870; United States steamship “Congress,” special service, 1870-72; member of board inspection, 1873-75; receiving ship “Colorado,” 1876; sick leave, 1876-77; retired, November 22, 1878.

Since his retirement Mr. Latch originated and developed the Mosaic system of Chronology. He wrote numerous elucidations of the scriptures, and of ancient relics in their relationship to universal history by the Mosaic System of Chronology. He developed the Mosaic laws for determining the distances of the planets from the sun. He is the editor of The Greater Light, a Philadelphia monthly, and the author of “A Review of the Holy Bible,” 1884; Indications of the Book of Job,” 1889; “Indications of the Book of Genesis,” 1890; “Indications of the Book of Exodus,” 1892; “Indications of Romans” (in The Greater Light, 1900-1); “Indications of the Revelations” (in The Greater Light, 1901-3); “Indications of Leviticus” (now running in The Greater Light, 1904). His present address is Merion; (Academy Post Office), Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. His early political affiliations were with the Whig party, but later he took an active interest in the affairs of the Republican party. He is a member of the Baptist church, and his fraternal relations are with the Order of Free and Accepted Masons.

* * * *

This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.