Groos, Friedrich Wilhelm Carl (1827–1912)

By: Miriam York

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: April 9, 2016

Friedrich (Frederick) Wilhelm Carl Groos, banker, was born on September 18, 1827, in Strass-Ebersbach, Dukedom of Hesse-Nassau, the son of Carl Wilhelm Apollo and Sophie Wilhelmine Luise (Martin) Groos. Groos attended school in his native town and at the gymnasiums of Wetzlar and Weilburg, graduating from the latter in 1846. He passed the examination of the engineers' school with first honors. In 1848 Groos moved to Texas with his father, three brothers, and four sisters. He lived first on a farm his father acquired in Fayette County, but in 1850 he moved to San Antonio and took a position with the mercantile firm of Guilbeau and Callaghan. François Guilbeau, Jr., served as French consul in San Antonio, and Bryan Callaghan was the father of Bryan V. Callaghan, Jr., who later became mayor of San Antonio. Groos represented that firm in Eagle Pass until 1854, when he formed his own merchandising and freighting company, F. Groos and Company, in partnership with his brothers Gustav and Carl Wilhelm August Groos. The firm's main offices were in Eagle Pass, with branches in San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Matamoros. Groos married Gertrude Rodríguez on November 27, 1854, in Eagle Pass. They had nine children. After the outbreak of the Civil War Groos moved to Monterrey. He made two trips to Europe during the war, residing with his family in Wetzlar, Germany, during 1864–66. In 1866 he moved the headquarters of F. Groos and Company to San Antonio, where he made his home for the rest of his life. In 1874 the company's mercantile operations were displaced by its banking functions, and the firm operated as a private bank until 1912, when it was chartered as the Groos National Bank. Groos served two terms on the San Antonio school board and three terms as San Antonio alderman (November 8, 1867-November 12, 1872, and January 14, 1873-January 19, 1875). In 1879 he was elected president of the gas company. Groos also served as president of the Casino Club and as president, for twenty years, of the German-English School. He was an honorary member of the Beethoven Musical Association. Gertrude Groos had died on February 7, 1873, and on December 12, 1874, Groos married Anna Siemering, sister of August Siemering. Groos and his second wife were the parents of eight children. Groos died on January 27, 1912, and was buried in San Antonio Cemetery Number One.

Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937). Lewis E. Daniell, Texas-The Country and Its Men (Austin?, 1924?). From Ox Carts to Jet Planes (San Antonio: Groos National Bank, 1954). San Antonio Express, January 28, 1912. August Santleben, A Texas Pioneer (New York and Washington: Neale, 1910). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (Groos Family). Adolf Paul Weber, Deutsche Pioniere: zur Geschichte des Deutschthums in Texas (San Antonio, 1894).

  • Education
  • University Presidents and School Administrators
  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Business

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

Miriam York, “Groos, Friedrich Wilhelm Carl,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022,

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April 9, 2016