General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

David Groce

Theobald "David" Groce of Clinton county, Kentucky filed for and was
granted a pension for his Revolutionary War service in 1838 at age 94. 
Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1744, he apparently is buried under
one  of the impoundments in Clinton county, Kentucky at his death on
October 14, 1839 at the Groce farm or the cemetery at Paoli, Both  of
these are close to the town of Albany the county seat of Clinton.   . 
Perhaps typical of his ethnic background , he received his pension as
David  Gross yet more frequently he was listed  as Duval, Devault
(German for David), and Groce was frequently revised from  Gross by his
family especially after they moved to Kentucky.   He proclaimed he had
enlisted in the service from Surry county, North Carolina  under
Captain Jacob  Free  in 1778 for duty against the Indians  and that he
later fought in battles against the English  in 1779 under Captain
Sanders in Salisbury and Charlotte, NC.  He served under Captain
William Null in 1780 being wounded at the Battle of Hanging Rock and
had been  stationed at Camden and had been involved in  campaigns  in  
South Carolina.

The  first land for his son Johannes was in Clinton county Kentucky  in
1799     and his last child in Surry county, North Carolina was born in
1797 so his move was  from  1797 to 1800  but apparently around the
time his father Simon died in 1800 in Surry county where he had arrived
with young Theobald in 1767 , a transfer of land by Simon to Theobald
in 1797 and the appearance of Theobald on the 1800 census of Surry
county.   Theobald was already 23 years of age when they arrived in
Surry and had enlisted at age 34 and served until he was around  37
years of age; the first land recorded for him in Clinton county,
Kentucky was in  1825 when he bought land on  the lower Clear Fork. 
Possibly Johannes had arrived first to survey the Kentucky lands for
his family and the death of Simon triggered the move which could have
been as late as 1804 according to the generalized statements in the
pension application.

His pension covered his war years  from 1778 ,  Charleston had fallen
to the British in May 1789 and  many small outposts were established by
them , including one in Lancaster county south of Heath Springs which
was about a mile and a half from Hanging Rock.    Hanging Rock was well
fortified with about 1400 British troops which included the crack 500
man unit Prince of Wales American Regiment which had 93 casualties out
of its membership  of 181.  Two Loyalist companies accompanied the
British and Tarleton's Legion.  The American commander was General
Thomas Sumter and he with his 600 militiamen,( 500 North Carolina
militia under  Colonel Irwin and Major William R. Davie, who had been
born in England, graduated from Princeton, and lived in the Waxhaw
region,  and 300 South Carolinians under Colonels Sumter, Lacy and Hill
)  without cannon,  and he  faced the task of taking on the entrenched 
1400 British  with artillery.   Command had been placed  under Sumter
as the senior leader and the  wisdom of his plan to have the cavalry
ride to the engagement and then dismount  was debated, especially by
Major Davie whose men led the critical charge against the English when
many of  Sumter's troops were engaged in looting the British camp.

The battle raged for over  three hours and the British commander Major
Carden  in the midst of the battle
lost his nerve, and  resigned his command to Colonel John  Rousselet of
Tarleton's Legion  The battle was fought in intense heat but the lack
of ammunition by Sumter prevented his forces from completely knocking
out the British who lost 192 soldiers to the 12 Americans who fell.
Theobald Groce was wounded in the fighting but spent only a week or so
under the care of a surgeon and then was released; Major Davie had the
forethought to establish a hospital for his wounded in Charlotte prior
to the battle.
The best American force of  Major Davie was terribly cut up  as they
were tying up their horses in the midst of the battle, the feature of
Sumter's  plan objected to by Davie who desired the horses to remind
behind, , and tradition reveals that Andrew Jackson at age 13
participated in the battle and later stated he modeled his style after
the brave men of Hanging Rock and that he would have followed Colonel
William Richardson Davie to his death.    The  possibility existed for
an even greater American victory but as J. E. Cousar of Lancaster
stated  " some of father Archibald's buddies found some run in the
British camp and became so drunk that it was necessary prematurely to
start the march back to the base camp at Waxhaw. This preoccupation by
the Americans allowed the British to retreat to Camden but Sumter
placed a positive spin on the results by telling his troops "boys it is
not good to pursue a victory too far."

After the  battle Davie had ridden on to join General Gates at Camden
when he heard the news of the defeat of Gates on August 10, 1780.   It
is apparent from the Groce  pension where he stated his Camden stay in
the hospital and march to Charlotte and Salisbury that Groce was
closely associated with the forces of  Major Davie, organized
originally by him and primarily at his own expense in outfitting them, 
and must have been involved with his unit during this campaign although
his unit is not identified in the pension.  It was at Charlotte that
Davie made a stand with some 150 of his men against three charges of
the 2,000 British troops advancing on the city -- all of the repulsed
charges were in the full view of the British army.  Royal control of
the Carolinas had not been achieved by the British due to battles like
Hanging  Rock and  Kings Mountain.   This future governor of the state
of North Carolina,  primary founder of the University of North Carolina
and one of the eight delegates to the Constitutional Convention not
born  in the colonies  must have been an inspiration to Groce as much
as he was to Andrew Jackson.

Born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania Theobald moved to Surry at age
14   around 1767 with his parents.  His father Simon Gross had migrated
to the colonies in  1741, probably from the area which later became
Switzerland, and had married Dorethea , possibly Danner,   while
helping to organize new congregations of the Reformed Lutheran Church
in Pennsylvania.   He was honored along with descendents of the five
early founders of the Penryn ,Pennsylvania church in services in 2002
for its 250th anniversary.     The son and Revolutionary War patriot 
Theobald or David married around 1770 in Surry county to Barbara
Edelmann born in Germany in 1753 and their children included  Catherine
born in Surry in 1773, Johannes also born in Surry in 1776, Abraham
born 1777, David born in 1782 and moved to Missouri, Simon also born in
Surry in 1783, Anna Margaret born 1785 in Surry, Christina born 1794
and  Jacob born 1797 in Surry county.   As was typical of most families
in such movement, clusters of the family remained in Europe, Lancaster
county, Pennsylvania, Surry county, North Carolina as well as Clinton
county in  Kentucky with at least one member of each generation leaving
the group and forming a new center of the family.  Variations in the
spelling of the last name still exist and seem most dependent upon the
geographic area of the family but it is  not unusual for several
spellings to be common at the same time in the same family.

The compiler of this account is descended thru the son Jacob  born 1797
of Theobald  and then thru Asa , born January 1827 as the  son of Jacob
and Asa 's daughter  Mille Groce who was   born April 12, 1858   and
who married James Mark Dishman  (Jim Snodgrass General Martin chapter
SAR  2008


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