18 March 2013

Military Monday: George Groce


George W. Groce
Co. F
6th Penn. Calvary
1846 - 1933

George would have been young when the Civil War broke out. He and or his family received assistance from the State while he was actively serving. The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a law on 15 May 1861 that created a board of relief for the support of the families of volunteer soldiers for the duration of the “current hostilities”. There are several Groce famioly members listed in the papers. They all lived in East Caln although the database does not list how they are all related. They were: Carolyn, George, John, Miles and Phelby Jane. They are all on the same voucher - #93 - indicating one family.

There is also a George Groce (no middle initial given) who shows up on the Bounty Lists. This George (be it the same or not) is listed as being in Co. E of the 97th Regiment in 1863 - 1864. Three other Groce men are listed as well: Charles, Ellis P. and Thomas B.
George Washington Groce passed on 13 December 1933. He fought in the Civil War, according to the Veteran's Burial Records, 1885-1979. The County paid for the burials of those who were honorably discharged and had served during wartime but “died without sufficient means to defray the necessary burial expenses.”

George is buried at Hephzibah Baptist Cemetery in Chester County, PA, next to his wives. Elizabeth J. Groce was born 3 July 1844 and passed 15 April 1910. Sarah A. Irwin Groce lived 1858 - 1928. Both ladies had their own individual stone and both read, "wife of G. W. Groce." According to the Chester County Archives, George was 60 when he and Sarah married. They were married 20 April 1921 in Parkesburg, Chester County, PA. I found no record in the online archives of a marriage to Elizabeth.

The Hephzibah Baptist Church, which sits along Strasburg Road, is 293 years old. In the beginning, 1707, the minister and the faithful would meet at John Bentley’s house in Laural, Newlin Township. After he passed, the meetings were held at his son's house. His son, Jeffrey Bentley, who gave a lot of ground to the congregation in 1752 and built a meeting house. The church grew and soon realized the need for a larger meeting place. In August of 1792, laid the first stone for the meeting house. It was finished in May 1793.

The small group broke from their mother church, the Brandywine Baptist Church, and, on 20 May 1810, the church located at McWilliamstown became Hephzibah. Area maps in 1883 began to show that area of Chester County not as McWilliamstown but rather now as Hephzibah. Today the church remains the Hephzibah Baptist Church.

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