Mr Joseph A. Latimer was born on the 9th April, 1867, at Ballybofey, Co. Donegal. He received the usual education afforded by the national schools of the district. As he grew up he acquired a taste for military life, and at the age of nineteen he joined the force of the Royal Irish Constabulary. Here he felt constrained to study more than posture and muscular development. To his military duties he added the cultivation of the muse and study of current literature. Although he had composed verse from his schooldays, it was not until 1887 that Mr. Latimer commenced to publish his songs. They first appeared in the Weekly Irish Times, an organ whose editor has done so much to foster and encourage native genius. His lyrics have attracted considerable attention, and he frequently receives application to reprint them. Evidently his songs have found an echo in the heart of many a wooer of the muse, for it is no uncommon thing to see a sonnet in praise of them in the columns of the weekly newspapers. His songs are much in request by musicians, and many of them have been set to music and the copyright of them purchased. Among the most popular of them may be mentioned “The Sweet Moyola”, and “The Old Clock”, both of which have been set to music by Mr. Fred. Horan, organist of Christ Church, Dublin, and published by Messrs Boosey & Co.; “No, No”, which gained a prize at the humerous competition of the Weekly Irish Times in 1890, and “My Grandmother’s Spinning-wheel.”
Mr. Latimer has written a great deal of sweet lyric poetry, though he has never issued a collection of his works. It is to be hoped the ere long his poems will be found more accessible to the public than the back numbers of a newspaper.