About 1845, he studied law under his brothers, Albert H. & Henry R. Latimer, and passed the bar in Red River County. He established a law practice in 1848 in Paris, Lamar County. In July 1849, he purchased an interest in the Texas Times (Paris) and took over as its editor. About Oct 1849, he and his partner, William Wallace, moved the newspaper to Dallas -- the first newspaper in Dallas, which at the time had about 40 residents. It later merged with the Herald to become the Dallas Times Herald.
In June 1851, he was elected Justice of the Peace. He served as Chief Justice of Dallas County, 1852-54. In 1855, he attempted to establish a newspaper in Austin but gave it up when he was defeated in his bid to become the state printer.
He was an active freemason and served as grand orator for the annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1858.
He was a political opponent of Sam Houston. Strong Democrat but argued in his editorials in Feb 1859 that the party should support Stephen A. Douglas, a moderate whom he considered electable in 1860, rather than an extreme Southern partisan, who would not be.