Matamoras Minute: The Grohs Family
Continuing with the topic of German immigrants, attention now shifts to the Grohs family. The patriarch Jacob Grohs was a man of many skills. He came to Matamoras in 1863 and was a harness and saddle maker.
However a devastating fire broke out in a block of buildings along the upper side of Front Street at its intersection with Main where Grohs had his shop.
An old frame building on the corner housing a wholesale and retail liquor store owned by Mark Albert was the site where the fire first started.
Following the fire Grohs took on another chapter in life and began construction of a two-story brick building on the west side of Front Street.
One of the people employed by Grohs was Jacob Gautschi, another German immigrant, who would later buy the building from Grohs. The future Gautschi building would have a history all its own.
Jacob Grohs was a civic minded man and was active in a variety of outlets. A member of the Odd Fellows he was the group’s treasurer and was a member of the Matamoras town council. He also was the treasurer of the school board at the time it was decided to build the large schoolhouse on the newly acquired Broadway location. He would prove to be heavily involved in the entire construction of the building.
Jacob was married twice. His first wife, Martha, died at the age of 42, and he then married Anna Rachel McHugh. Jacob’s death occurred in 1894 when he was only 47 years old. Anna would live until 1954 being 98 years old. Each wife bore children. To Martha was born Edward and Amelia. To Anna was born a daughter which the couple named Martha, to honor the memory of his first wife. She was called Mattie by the family and community. At some point the spelling of Grohs was changed to Gross.
Edward and Amelia were both employed by the Bank of New Matamoras. Edward, who was also an insurance agent, served as cashier and Amelia as assistant cashier.
The bank, as has been told, did not survive. Edward left Ohio and died in Florida in 1917. Amelia married Hugh Kane and lived until 1975 to the age of 99.
John Miller is president of the Matamoras Area Historical Society. Membership dues are $15 per year single/couple. Life membership is $150. Contact the society at P.O. Box 1846, New Matamoras, Ohio 45767. Much of this column is built on the work of Matamoras’ historian, the late Diana McMahan.