Groos, Johann Jacob (1822–1878)

By: Miriam York

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: April 9, 2016

Johann (John) Jacob Groos, surveyor and commissioner of the General Land Office, was born in Offenbach, Germany, in 1822. Groos had three years of college study as a civil engineer and worked as a surveyor in Germany. In 1845 he married Katharine Blieder, with whom he had five sons and two daughters. Groos became interested in accounts of Texas circulated in Germany by agents of the Adelsverein, and in 1845 he immigrated to Texas with his wife, arriving with other German immigrants on the ship Herschel. Settling in New Braunfels, Groos took part in the first public drawing for town lots, in April 1845. By 1850 he had bought 520 acres in the Waco Springs community, five miles north of New Braunfels on the Guadalupe River, but by 1857 he had returned to New Braunfels. From 1849 to 1860 Groos served as deputy surveyor and as surveyor of Comal County. In February 1862 Groos was elected captain of Precinct No. 2, Thirty-first Brigade, Texas State Troops. During his service with the militia he helped defend frontier settlements against Indian raids. Groos was county clerk of Comal County from 1862 to 1865, alderman of New Braunfels from June 1865 to September 1866, and mayor of New Braunfels from November 1872 to June 1873. As a surveyor, Groos located claims and boundary lines in Comal, Bexar, and Kendall counties. He also secured preemption rights and land patents for numerous clients. Groos pursued other activities as well: in 1866 he became an agent for the Aetna and Phoenix insurance companies, and in 1869 he purchased the Guadalupe Hotel in New Braunfels, which he managed until 1873. In August 1871 he was appointed to secure the right of way through Comal County for the International Railroad Company. Groos was elected commissioner of the General Land Office on December 2, 1873, and took office on January 20, 1874; he served in that office until his death on June 15, 1878. He was buried in the Austin City Cemetery.

John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell, 1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Chester William and Ethel Hander Geue, eds., A New Land Beckoned: German Immigration to Texas, 1844–1847 (Waco: Texian Press, 1966; enlarged ed. 1972). Oscar Haas, History of New Braunfels and Comal County, Texas, 1844–1946 (Austin: Steck, 1968). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Politics and Government
  • Exploration
  • Surveyors and Cartographers

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

Miriam York, “Groos, Johann Jacob,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

April 9, 2016