The Girten Family
The Girten family is another that I know little of. Again, my McCallister grandparents spoke little, if at all about them. So this is what I know.
James Girten and wife Mary were the first Girtens in Union County, arriving before the 1820 census. The Girten clan consisted of two households: James’ and his son Johns’. Where they came from is yet to be uncovered, although it is somewhat likely they came from central Kentucky, since son John married a Barron whose mother was a Cissel. They settled in an area south of Waverly along Casey Creek, purchasing 130 acres there in 1819. James and Mary had nine children, all of whom but one, married and themselves produced large families. James and Mary are buried at Sacred Heart Cemetery, St. Vincent, Union County Kentucky.
James’ and Mary’s 4’th born, Charles Girten (1796-1855) married Mary “Polly” Bright in 1831 in Union County. On 3 July 1855, Charles Girten died unexpectedly. Within 5 days, not only he, but his wife Mary Bright, and their three youngest children (George, Elisha, and Martha Ellen) died as well. They are all buried at Sacred Heart Cemetery. Whether this was the result of a house fire or some other calamity or sickness is not known. There was one reported case of Yellow Fever at that same time, but that was in the Grove Center area at the other end of the county from the Girtens. Six year old Josephine survived as did the other children. Charles and Polly had had 12 children, including the 10’th born, Josephine.
Josephine married Charles Joseph Whitfield when she was just 17 years old. Josephine and Charles Whitfield are my great great-grandparents. They parented 15 children together, including William Thomas “Will T” Whitfield, who married Cora Lee Rowley.
The house at the top of the page is from the Berea College collection of Appalachian log cabin pictures. It is a representation of the type of home the Girtens may have erected in 1819 in Union County Kentucky.