George Latham was born on March 9, 1832, in Prince William County, Virginia, on what would later become the Bull Run Battlefield.
He moved to Taylor County in 1849 and taught in local schools while studying to become a lawyer. He opened his legal practice in Grafton in 1860.
When the Civil War began the next year, Latham transformed his law office into a military recruiting station for Northern troops. He formed Company B of the 2nd Virginia Infantry and detained them in Grafton long enough to vote against Virginia’s secession from the Union.