Margaret Guenther Gideon

GROOS, GUSTAV (1832–1895). Gustav Groos, businessman and banker, son of Carl (Karl) Wilhelm Apollo and Sophie (Martin) Groos, was born on June 10, 1832, in Strass-Ebersbach, Saxony, the grandson of a Lutheran pastor. He sailed with his father, a forty-nine-year-old widower, three brothers, and four sisters to Galveston on November 20, 1848, on the bark Louis from Antwerp. The family settled at Latium, one of the "Latin Settlements," just east of the line between Fayette and Washington counties in the La Bahía prairie. Many of the new farmers in this settlement, established in the late 1840s, were university graduates and enjoyed a cultural exchange, sometimes in Latin, rare among the pioneers of Texas.

Money from Groos National Bank
Photograph, A $10 note from Groos National Bank. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Groos also farmed at Round Top. His father, in a letter dated April 9, 1849, from Friedrich Ernst's place near Industry, tells his family in Germany of baking cornbread in saucepans as they "ate little else but bread and meat for three cents per head." The family had just extended a fence for Ernst, who had paid them with two cows and calves, so they were looking forward to fresh milk and summer vegetables. In 1854 Gustav's older brother, Friedrich W. Groos, secured a contract to haul supplies to the newly established Fort Duncan in Eagle Pass. Gustav and a third brother, Carl W. A. Groos, joined the business, named F. Groos and Company. The three brothers expanded the firm to include a general-merchandise and banking business. In 1866 they moved the business to San Antonio, where they opened a bank, which later became Groos National Bank.

Grave of Gustav Groos
Photograph, Grave of Gustav Groos, in San Antonio. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

On December 28, 1865, at Bluff, near La Grange in Fayette County, Groos married Anna Willrich from Uelsen, Hanover, the daughter of Georg Carl and Elise (Kuckuck) Willrich. In 1875 Groos built their home at 231 Washington Street in King William Historic District, San Antonio. It remained the residence of the family until 1979. Gustav Groos died in San Antonio on August 21, 1895; Anna, aged 103, died on November 16, 1946. Both are buried in City Cemetery No. 1.


Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831–1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (Groos Family). Leonie Rummel Weyand and Houston Wade, An Early History of Fayette County (La Grange, Texas: La Grange Journal, 1936).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Margaret Guenther Gideon, "GROOS, GUSTAV," accessed April 25, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on July 11, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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