Latah County History

Did you know? Latah County has the distinction of being the only county in the United States created by an Act of Congress. Latah County was first created by the act of December 22, 1864. Kootenai County was created by the same act and the two unorganized counties were attached to Nez Perce for all civil and judicial purposes until they were organized. The act provided that when fifty or more inhabitants desired to perfect a county organization they should apply by petition to the governor, who was authorized to appoint three "discreet and well qualified citizens of the county as a board of county commissioners," with power to fill offices by appointment until an election could be held. The people of Latah County made three separate efforts at county organization, but each time the opposition of Lewiston, county seat of Nez Perce County, was strong enough to prevent such action.

In 1887 the citizens of Latah appealed to Fred T. Dubois, then Idaho's delegate in Congress, for relief. Mr. Dubois introduced a bill in the United States Congress providing for the organization of the county, and by securing the cooperation of Senator Mitchell, of Oregon, succeeded in having it passed. It was approved by President Grover Cleveland on May 14, 1888. The act confirmed the boundaries and named WW Lancdon, William Frazier, and JL Naylor as the first board of county commissioners. On May 29, 1888, this board appointed the following county officers to serve until the next general election.

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First County Officers


Appointee  Office
WB Kyle -  Auditor and recorder
Louis Jain -  Probate judge
WW Baker -  Treasurer
LC Roberts -  Assessor
CB Reynolds -  District attorney
SL Campbell -  Surveyor
JW Lieuallen -  Superintendant of schools
William Gray -  Coroner

Latah County has an area of 1,128 square miles. It is bounded on the north by Kootenai County; on the east by Shoshone and Clearwater; on the south by Clearwater and Nez Perce Counties; and on the west by Whitman County, Washington. It is divided by a mountain range called the Thatuna Hills, south of which is the famous Palouse country, where fruits of all kinds are raised in abundance. This section is one of the great wheat fields of Idaho, and is a major supplier of lentils.

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More History of Latah County
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Early Settlers
The above link will take you to a list of early county settlers and their date of settlement.
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Latah County Demographics
(downloadable County profile in PDF format)