Groos, Carl Wilhelm August (1830–1893)

By: Miriam York

Type: Biography

Published: September 1, 1995

Updated: December 8, 2019

Carl (Karl) Wilhelm August Groos, banker, was born November 30, 1830, in Strass-Ebersbach, Dukedom of Hesse-Nassau, one of at least seven children of Carl Wilhelm Apollo and Sophie Wilhelmine Luise (Martin) Groos. Carl immigrated to Texas in 1848 with his brothers and sisters and his widowed father, arriving on the ship Louis. He lived in Fayette County for two years, then moved to Gillespie County, where he lived with relatives. In 1854 he joined his brothers Gustav and Friedrich Wilhelm Carl Groos in Eagle Pass, becoming part of the freighting firm of F. Groos and Company. In 1862, during the Civil War, Carl was arrested by Confederate authorities and taken to San Antonio. Suspicion had been aroused by a letter addressed to him that was found on the body of a Mexican killed at the battle of the Nueces, or possibly in the fighting two months later when some of the German survivors tried to cross over into Mexico. Quickly released, Carl returned to Eagle Pass, then in 1863 moved to Matamoros, where F. Groos and Company had a branch office. The firm weathered the war by freighting cotton to Mexico. After the war, Carl moved to San Antonio, where the headquarters of F. Groos and Company had been relocated. On May 20, 1870, Carl married Hulda Amalie Moureau, whose father was a cotton broker in New Braunfels and a German consul. The couple had ten children. Shortly after his marriage, Carl built a home in New Braunfels. In 1968 the Texas State Historical Survey Committee (later the Texas Historical Commission) awarded a historical marker to this building, at which time it housed the New Braunfels Art Center. In 1872 Carl and his wife moved to San Antonio. Groos remained active in F. Groos and Company, and his wife also became involved. The firm had developed a banking business as an adjunct to its freighting enterprise, and the former prospered to such an extent that after the war the freighting was discontinued. When the firm shifted to an exclusive focus on banking in 1874, Carl became the first president of the reorganized company. In 1879 the firm erected the first building in San Antonio devoted exclusively to banking. It was situated a half block east of its old building, at the corner of Commerce and Navarro (formerly known as Groos Alley). In 1912 this private bank became the Groos National Bank. Groos's other interests included the Western Texas Life, Fire, and Marine Insurance Company, of which he was director in 1870. In 1873 he was a member of the Republican party state executive committee. For a number of years he was president of the San Antonio Schuetzen Verein, and he was also a member of the Casino Club. Groos died in San Antonio on February 24, 1893.

Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). From Ox Carts to Jet Planes (San Antonio: Groos National Bank, 1954). Ethel Hander Geue, New Homes in a New Land: German Immigration to Texas, 1847–1861 (Waco: Texian Press, 1970). Nachrichten über die Familie Groos von Breitscheid (Darmstadt, 1937). San Antonio Daily Express, February 25, 1893, July 5, 1910. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (Groos family; Carl Wilhelm Groos).

  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Business

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

Miriam York, “Groos, Carl Wilhelm August,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

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September 1, 1995
December 8, 2019