Trees in History- The Ruben Griffit Gingko


Gingko at the Victorian Rose Inn on the North East corner of Washington and Cross Street - Morgantown, IN

Ruben C. Griffit was born in a log cabin on this lot in 1845.  At the age of 17 he enlisted with the Union Army only to be captured one year later and incarcerated in the legendary Andersonville Prison in Georgia.  From his small prison window he watched a tiny tree grow out of a dry crack in the earth.  It gave him hope that he too might survive.

Having seen the dire need for physicians during the war, upon his release he returned home and became a prominent Morgantown physician.  In 1894 he tore down the family cabin and built this house to use as his residence and office.  In 1908, the governor of Indiana commissioned him to return to Andersonville to erect a memorial for the 630 soldiers who died there.  Upon his return he carried with him a Ginkgo sapling which he planted in his yard. This small sapling is now 100 years old and 44 inches in diameter with a crown that extends across much of the property.  It is, in itself, a memorial to those soldiers that died at Andersonville.

Unfortunately in 1910 while observing fireworks from an upstairs window Dr. Griffit fell to his death.  This house and tree was added to the National Registry in 2006.

~ by daniel on May 1, 2009.

Leave a Reply