Portraits of Courtney and Leonard Groce, 1840–1850s

Early Tejas settlers, cotton barons, slaveholders

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These oil paintings of Courtney and Leonard Groce hung in the couple's homes at their Bernardo and Liendo plantations.

Leonard Groce (1806–1873) was the oldest son of Jared Groce II (1782–1836), one of the earliest settlers to move to Tejas with Stephen F. Austin in 1822. Jared Groce was the largest owner of enslaved persons in Tejas, and as such received title to 44,280 acres (10 leagues) in what became Brazoria, Waller, and Grimes counties. Upon completing his education, Leonard returned to Tejas where he took over managing the family's Bernardo Plantation in Waller County. Within a few years, the Groce's had a thriving cotton plantation that lead Texas in cotton production for the next 40 years.

Groce married Courtney Ann Fulton (1816–1869) in two ceremonies, the first of which took place at Courtney's home in Louisiana in November 1831. The second occurred upon their arrival in Tejas in January 1832. According to Mexican law, all residents were required to be Catholic and all marriages had to be presided over by a Catholic priest. This second Catholic ceremony ensured that their future 11 children could legally inherit their parents' lands.  

During the Texas Revolution, the Groce's allowed General Sam Houston and his army to camp on their land, on the opposite side of the Brazos River from Bernardo. For two weeks the Groce family supplied the army with provisions, shelter, and medical attention.

Leonard Groce purchased a neighboring plot of land in the 1840s and built a new plantation there in 1853. He named it Liendo after the original land grantee, José Justo Liendo. Groce died at Liendo on August 29, 1873, four years after his wife's death in Galveston.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

Portraits of Courtney and Leonard Groce, 1840–1850s Artifact from Hempstead
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