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GROAT, Andrew


Posted By: Annette Lucas (email)
Date: 5/23/2021 at 08:25:21

SOURCE: Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon Counties, Iowa; W. S. Dunbar & Co., Publishers, 1889

ANDREW J. GROAT, a native of Brownville, Jefferson County, New York, was born March 6, 1832. He is the son of Peter H. and Sarah Ann (Marks) Groat, natives of New York. When he was seven months old his parents removed to Canada, where they remained for a short time; from Canada they removed to Whiteside County, Illinois, and remained there one winter. In the spring of 1833 they located in Clinton County, Iowa, on the land where Camanche now stands. Mr. Groat homesteaded a tract of land, and added to it until he owned 320 acres of land. The Indians had not made their final departure when he settled here, and the land was wild and uncultivated. He erected the first blacksmith shop in this section of country, and was one of the first mail carriers in that part of Iowa; his route lay between Davenport and Dubuque, and was known as the River Route. He was one of the founders of the town of Camanche. In those early days people were compelled to go to Elkhorn Grove to mill, a distance of thirty miles; it required from one to two weeks to make the trip, as the grinding was of slow process, being done in an old ox-mill, on the tread-mill pattern, such as the people of this day and age will see nowhere. But they were right glad of even these facilities, for very often they were obliged to resort to a more ancient mode of grinding; they would take a log, and make a wooden mortar four or five feet long, and a heavy wooden maul, and placing the corn in this mortar, would work the maul up and down until the corn was mashed into coarse meal. Their meat was principally wild, such as deer and turkey. Their buildings were of the rudest sort, constructed of rough or hewn logs, with stick and clay chimneys, and puncheon floors. Sawmills then were almost unknown, and the lumber they had was procured by the whip-saw process. No one but a veritable pioneer can realize the hardships and privations undergone in opening up a new country. Amid such surroundings and scenes our subject, Andrew J. Groat, grew to maturity; he received his education in the subscription schools of those days. At the age of sixteen years he returned to New York, intending to make a visit, but circumstances changed his plans and he remained three years. He was naturally of a roving disposition, and visited a good many points in Illinois. Mr. Groat was united in marriage to Miss Nancy E. Irwin, December 2, 1858; she is a daughter of Andrew and Nancy (Haynes) Irwin; the father was a native of Ireland, and the mother of Germany. She was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, December 18, 1840. Mr. and Mrs. Groat are the parents of eight children John F., Lillie M., wife of George W. Moore; Flora B., Nancy E., Andrew J., Viola G., Ina E., and Alvin J. In 1872 Mr. Groat came to Shelby County, settling in Cuppy's Grove, where he rented land for two years, and then purchased eighty acres of land east of the grove. After that he made several changes in his location, and finally settled in section 3, Polk Township, on a farm of 200 acres of partially improved land; this he has improved and placed in a fine degree of cultivation. He is a live, energetic man, and stands to-day in the first ranks of Shelby County's honored citizens. Mr. and Mrs. Groat are members of the United Brethren church. He is a staunch Democrat, but refuses to accept any party honors in the way of public office.


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