University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Groce Family Papers, ca. 1700, 1824-1871, 1930

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Groce Family
Title: Groce Family Papers
Dates: ca. 1700, 1824-1871, 1930
Abstract: The family papers of the Groce Family, one of the earliest and wealthiest Texas settlers.
Extent: 2 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

The Groce family was part of Stephen F. Austin’s colonization scheme for Texas. They built and lived on what would become known as the Bernardo Plantation. Jared Ellison Groce (1782-1839) moved to Texas after hearing of Stephen F. Austin’s proposed colonization play in 1821. He constructed what would soon be known as Bernardo Plantation and quickly became the wealthiest settler in the colony. In 1833, he built a new home, Groce’s Retreat, on the east bank of the Brazos River. Initially resistant to the idea of Texas independence, Groce soon became a staunch supporter, outfitting several men for service in the Texas army and allowing a draft of the Texas Declaration of Independence to be written at the Retreat. He died in 1839 and was buried at Bernardo.

Jared Groce’s oldest son, Leonard Waller Groce (1806-1873), joined his father during the move to Texas, but returned to Georgia briefly to finish his education. Leonard Groce served as a delegate to the Convention of 1833 and aided the Texas Army with his initial service and supplies following his father’s death. Groce continued to support Texas throughout his life, acting as a supplier for the Confederate Army. He died at Liendo on August 29, 1873.


Beazley, Julia . “Liendo Plantation.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed June 14 2010.

Beazley, Julia and Eldon S. Branda. “Leonard Waller Groce.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed May 24, 2010.

Berlet, Sarah Groce. “Groce’s Retreat.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed June 14, 2010.

Hazlewood, Claudia. “Bernardo Plantation.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed June 14, 2010.

Jackson , Charles Christopher. “Jared Ellison Groce.” Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed May 24, 2010.

Scope and Contents

The Groce Family Papers, [ca. 1700], 1821-71, 1930, contain letters, a diary, legal papers, account papers, family histories, genealogies, inventory, biographies, and letters of the Groce family, primarily Leonard W. Groce. Papers relate to land transactions, political developments, cotton production, care of slaves, trade in Mexico, and information on the Calvit, Dent, Fulton, Groce, Herndon, Waller, Wells, and Wilkins families.


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Austin, Stephen F. (Stephen Fuller), 1793-1836.
Burnet, David Gouverneur, 1789-1870.
Groce family -- Archives
Groce, Jared E. (Jared Ellison), 1782-1836 -- Archives
Groce, Leonard W. (Leonard Waller), 1806-1873 -- Archives
Perry, Hally Ballinger Bryan, 1868-1955
Wharton, John A. (John Austin), 1806-1838
Subjects (Organizations)
Austin's Colony (Tex.)
Cotton -- Texas -- History -- Sources
Family -- History.
Mexico -- History -- Sources
Slaves -- Texas -- History -- Sources
Austin County (Tex.)
Bellville (Tex.)
Brazoria (Tex.)
Galveston (Tex.)
Hempstead (Tex.)
Waller County (Tex.)
Waxahachie (Tex.)

Separated Material

Oil Painting of Leonard and Courtney Groce is located in the Texas Memorial Museum Collection.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Groce Family Papers, ca. 1700, 1824-1871, 1930, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.

Detailed Description of the Papers



2D223 Letters, 1852-1869
Account papers, 1825-1860
Legal papers, 1824-1871
2R6 Diary and biography of Leonard Waller Groce, 1866-1867
2R301 Family records:
3S184 Leonard W. Groce Commission:
Commander in Chief of the Forces of Texas, December 1, 1835