Groce's Retreat

By: Sarah Groce Berlet

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

Groce's Retreat, Jared E. Groce's plantation home in what is now southwestern Grimes County, was built in 1833 when Groce moved to the site on Wallace Prairie, retreating from the malaria of the Brazos River bottoms. The house was located on a three-acre tract twelve miles south of Navasota on an elevation in prairie country that later was part of the farms of S. D. Mason and N. W. Lyles on the east bank of the Brazos River. While residing at the plantation in early 1836, George C. Childress drafted the Texas Declaration of Independence, which was signed at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 2. President David G. Burnet and his cabinet stayed at Groce's Retreat from March 18 to March 21, 1836, on their way from Washington-on-the-Brazos to Harrisburg; for three days it was thus the temporary capital of the Republic of Texas. William Fairfax Gray described the houses of the plantation as numerous but small and crowded. Groce died there on November 20, 1836. His heirs sold the property to a family named Dunham. The property was later purchased by Dugald McAlpine who built his residence a mile north of the former plantation house. Some of the Groce buildings were standing in 1852. A state historical marker on Highway 6 commemorates the site.

Rosa Groce Bertleth, "Jared Ellison Groce," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 20 (April 1917). E. L. Blair, Early History of Grimes County (Austin: 1930). Grimes County Historical Commission, History of Grimes County, Land of Heritage and Progress (Dallas: Taylor, 1982). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
  • Architecture
  • Houses, Mansions, and Plantations
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Texas Revolution

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Sarah Groce Berlet, “Groce's Retreat,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995