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Milam County, Texas

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Jared Ellison Groce


SOURCE: Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845, Austin, TX: Book Exchange, 1941. Sesquicentennial Re-print Edition, San Augustine, TX: S. Malone Printer, Sons of the Republic of Texas, 1986, p. 93

Jared Ellison Groce, planter, politician, and wealthiest man in Austin’s Colony, was born in Halifax, County, Virginia on October 12, 1782. Migrating to Lincoln County, Georgia, Groce became active in politics and served as a delegate to the Convention that framed the State Constitution. From Georgia he went in 1814 to Alabama, where he established Fort Groce and became a substantial planter and slaveholder. From Alabama he came in 1821 to Texas, where he was granted ten sitios [1] of land by the Mexican Government “on account of the property he has brought with him," this property consisting chiefly of a great number of slaves. Continuing his activities as a planter, Jared Groce raised the first cotton in Texas, built the first cotton gin in 1828, and bought, for a bolt of cloth and a riding pony, the land on which the town of Courtney now stands. Tiring of the Brazos, Groce built his home on Wallace Prairie and called it “Retreat,” it being a “retreat from the malaria-infested Brazos bottom vicinity." Subsequently the post office and village there bore the same name. As delegate from Viesca (later Milam County) to the Conventions of 1832 and 1833, Jared Groce voted at the former against the resolution seeking separate statehood for Texas, though later in the Texas Revolution he furnished provisions free to Houston’s army as they camped nearby enroute to San Jacinto, and maintained a hospital in his home for the wounded. Groce, crippled in both hands, did not participate in the military events of the Revolution, and on November 11, 1836, died of malaria. - See Blair, Early History of Grimes County, 74-90; Thrall, Pictorial History of Texas, 547-8; Journal of the Convention of 1832, Constitution, or Form of Government of the State of Texas, 1833.



[1] sitio - a tract of land. Sitio de ganado mayor - a tract of land one league square, 5,000 varas on each side. Sitio de ganado menor - a tract of land 3,333 varas on each side.

[2] vara - a measurement generally accepted in the areas covered by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase as 33 inches.

[3] league - 5,000 varas or 2.63 miles.



We must say a special thank you to Vanessa Deshazer of Menifee, CA, for typing the above biographical sketch for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.

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Created on 9 July 2004 and last revised on ____________