WHITTEN, JAMES D
WHITTEN, JAMES D. (1833–1877). James D. Whitten, farmer, lawyer, and state representative, was born in Carnesville, Franklin County, Georgia, on January 16, 1833. He was the son of Alvin Earle and Mary Catherine Whiting (Jones) Whitten. Whitten was raised in Georgia, where he assisted on the family farm and read law. In 1850 he immigrated to Texas and settled at Wharton in Wharton County by 1851. There, on April 18, 1855, Whitten married Clorinne J. Thomas. This couple had four sons and four daughters, as well as three other children who died in infancy. Throughout the 1850s Whitten practiced law in the area, as a partner in Quinan, Whitten, & Thompson. In addition, he served as county clerk from 1856 through 1858. He reported over $3,000 in wealth including the ownership of six slaves in the 1860 census. During the Civil War, Whitten served in state and local militias—first as captain for the Twenty-second Brigade, Texas State Troops, and later as major in the Home Guards, a reserve unit of the Texas Rangers. In this latter position he was responsible for gathering supplies for shipment to Wharton County men serving in the Confederate Army as well as for attending the needs of impoverished war widows in the community. Following the war, Whitten assumed a role in local public affairs. In April 1866 he was appointed by the county commissioners court to choose a site for the Wharton City Cemetery. Later in 1866 Whitten won election as representative for District 47—comprised of Wharton, Fort Bend, and Matagorda counties—to the Eleventh Texas Legislature. Whitten died in Wharton on April 11, 1878, and was buried there at East Avenue Cemetery.
Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Christina Stopka, comp., “Partial List of Texas Ranger Company and Unit Commanders” (http://www.texasranger.org/ReCenter/Captains.pdf), accessed April 14, 2011. Annie Lee Williams, A History of Wharton County (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1964).
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