It has been a couple of years since we first discussed the subject of Far West and Latimer. Having done my research, I am ready to give you the final and authoritative explanation on the two, so pay attention.
There have been a number of sources that have said the town site of Far West was northwest of Latimer; directly south of Latimer on the opposite side of the tracks; or as the writer of Clarks Creek Township assumed that Far West and Latimer were one and the same, platted on the same ground. My initial theory was that Far West was southwest of Latimer. However, all of these assumptions are incorrect. Careful examination of the plats and their descriptions will plainly show where the two town sites are/were located.
Both towns were platted in Section 23 of Township 15 Range 5 East, which accounts for much of the confusion on the subject. It is evident from the start that the two towns are not one and the same as they were not platted on the same individual’s land.
Monroe D. Herington owned the northwest quarter of section 23. And it was Herington who drew up a plat of Latimer on March 25th 1887. That plat was then filed for record April 2nd the same. Herington was largely responsible for the Chicago, Kansas & Nebraska railroad coming through the northern part of Morris County. He owned land in both Dickenson and Morris counties and by making an offer to the railroad of some of his land, he was able to get them to lay track to his newly founded town of Herington. Latimer was one of the incentives for the railroad as Herington provided it as a watering station. And, as many accounts say, Latimer received its name from a railroad official who chose the location.
Apparently Herington was not the only one who had hopes of benefiting from the railroad and so David and Mary Korn, who owned the northeast quarter of section 23 just east of Herington’s, platted their own town. However, they were just a few steps behind Herington. They drew up their plat of Far West on July 11th 1887 and it was filed for record August 3rd the same. According to the two plats there was just 350 feet between the two town sites.
Far West was the name of a post office located in Section 15, approximately a half mile northwest of Latimer. It was established April 26th, 1864 and located in the home of William M. Walter who was the postmaster. On March 23rd, 1869, the post office was moved to Aroma, Dickenson County where it was operated by Alexis Blanchett out of a corner cupboard in her 16 by 20 foot log cabin. On October 3rd, 1872 the post office was reopened at Far West and remained in operation there until it moved to the town of Latimer on September 20, 1887. For unknown reasons the post office closed June 20th 1888 then reopened February 5th 1889, and closed again April 15th 1895 reopening November 2nd 1895. It closed permanently on January 6th 1961.
In the Clarks Creek Township history there is mention of a plat of Far West in which Railroad Street is labeled. Also, the writer of that history (under the assumption that the two towns were one and the same) stated that a school (presumably Dist. 36) was marked on the Far West plat and stood in the same location as Dist. 36 in Latimer. If such a plat of Far West ever existed, it is no more. There is only one plat of Far West at the Register of Deeds office, and it has no streets or buildings labeled. It is interesting to note that the alleys in Far West are shown to run north to south while the alleys in Latimer run east to west.
I have not come across any evidence as of yet that the town of Far West was ever developed. The fact that a number of old timers in that area believed Latimer was first named Far West, leads me to believe that Far West never got further than being surveyed. And so the absence of any remains of Far West led the locals to conclude that Far West and Latimer were synonymous. So, to recap; Far West and Latimer are not one and the same. The post office Far West preceded both the town sites of Far West and Latimer. Latimer was platted before the town site of Far West, and Far West was later platted 350 feet east of Latimer.