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Groshong, Samuel
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Groshong, Samuel
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Samuel Groshong (b.1793 France; died abt 1827 Adams Co., IL)

The War of 1812 had ended and a fort was built in Western Illinois in 1814 called Fort Edwards, where the present city of Warsaw now stands. Another government outpost was Alton, Illinois. Between these two outposts, a Frenchman by the name of Samuel Groshong made his journeys on foot as a dispatch bearer and a scout for the Federal Government. Some say he was also a spy for the Federal Government. He was probably the first white man to visit the area of Ursa, Illinois, known before 1850 as Bear Creek territory. He later established a home here. Samuel knew most of the Indians on the trail between Fort Edwards and Alton. He spoke four or five Indian languages and also French. On most of his trips he was disguised as an Indian. The old Warsaw Wagon Road was an Indian trail that man was using long before the area was known as Adams County. Samuel was married to a Pottawatomie Indian woman. Two daughters were born, Fannie in 1806 and Mary in May of 1811. Mary was born in Lincoln County, Missouri. Samuel and his family settled in Adams County, Illinois in 1823 and built the first cabin in the county. In 1823, George Campbell arrived on foot from Tennessee and erected a cabin on his claim in the north east quarter of Section 31 near what is now Walnut Corners. At this time Campbell stayed with Groshong for four days before returning on foot to Tennessee for his stock and other supplies. On his return trip in 1824, he was joined near Palmyra, Missouri by Groshong and his two daughters for the remainder of the trip. Palmyra was the location of a trading post at the time. Samuel's wife had died shortly before. When they got to the Mississippi River, they built a raft of logs to ferry the wagons and small stock that could not swim. They made most of the stock swim it. They had horses for riding purposes only. Most work was done by oxen. This is the way all of the first settlers crossed any rivers that they came to. Groshong settled on the north east quarter of Section 29 near Rock Creek. George Campbell married Samuel's daughter Mary the next year on August 18, 1825. In January of 1825, the Adams County circuit court was organized. On the 5th of September, the Grand Jurors were summoned to appear at the court house on the 5th of October. Samuel Groshong was one of the jurymen. One week later the petit jury met. George Campbell was on that jury. The court house at that time stood were fifth and Main St. is now in Quincy, Illinois. Samuel died in the winter of 1826 or 1827. His is buried in the old cemetery just North of Ursa on the West side of the road known as the Denson Cemetery. His grave in the Southwest part of the cemetery. They covered it with rocks to keep the wolves from digging him up. At the time he was buried, the ground was frozen so hard they only buried him about two feet deep. Those days they just wrapped them in a blanket. There is another grave in that cemetery covered with rocks also.

Groshong Family History Update from Erick P. Lee

Samuel Groshong was not actually born in France, he was of French descent (his father Jacob Grosjean came to America aboard the ship Queen of Denmark in 1751). Samuel was born in Pennsylvania about 1794. His wife was not a Potowatami Indian as family tradition had indicated. Her name was Elizabeth Buckalew and she was born in North Carolina and was of European descent. The town of Ursa recently placed a headstone in Denson cemetery for Samuel Groshong.

Sources: The History of Adams County, Illinois, A History of the County - Its Cities, Towns, Etc.; Chicago: Murray, Williamson & Phelps, 1879; pp558-560, 801.

Peoples History of Quincy and Adams County, Illinois; Ursa Township Historian Truman Waite; pp. 735-736; 1967.

History supplied by Erick P. Lee.

"Some of the Old Settlers of Adams County"; Samuel Jackson Campbell(1866-1952). Original penciled in long hand on a ruled writing tablet in 1932 and Copied by Inez Mueller, Samuel Jackson Campbell's granddaughter, in 1952. The story was provided to Truman Waite by Mrs. Mueller who later provided it to the Mendon Dispatch and was published with Mrs. Mueller's courtesy.

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Submitted: 05/26/10

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