Girard was founded in the spring of 1868, in opposition to Crawfordsville, and named after the town of Girard, Pennsylvania, the former home of trustee Charles Strong. It was based around the surveyed line of the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Gulf Railroad, in an attempt to gain an advantage over its rival.
The first buildings erected in Girard were a general store, a dwelling house, an Eclectic Physician and Surgeon, and a drugstore. Some time during this year the first blacksmith shop-Boyle Blacksmith-was opened on the North side of the square, followed by White Blacksmith on the Northwest corner of the square. The first birth in Girard was that of Mary Fletcher, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Fletcher, and the first death that of Mrs. L. Crawford in the spring of 1869. Immediately after the death of this lady, the Judge, McIntosh, located the cemetery southwest of the city.