The Obituary of Lucinda J. Gros was contributed by Rita Gros Parish. This is an unusually long obituary as the writer used the occasion to reprint the 1859 obit of Lawrence Gros. The latter obit discusses in detail other early families who married into the Gros family.


From The Fort Plain Standard, Wednesday, June 4, 1890


Deceased Was a Descendant of Lawrence Gros, Who Played an Important Part in the Revolutionary Scenes of the Mohawk Valley- An Interesting History of the Gros Family and Other Persons Prominent in Local History.

LATHROP- In Fort Plain, May 30, 1890, Lucinda J. Gros, daughter of Nicholas Gros, and relict of Ralph Ripley Lathrop, formerly of Canajoharie, in her 74th year. She was born in Palatine, September 17, 1816.

She was a lady, who throughout her life recognized and experienced the virtue of Christian faith, and the peace which it brings to all believers. She was much esteemed by all her friends and acquaintances. She leaves four sons: Henry G. Lathrop, of St. Johnsville; DeWitt W. Lathrop, of Bloomington, Illinois; John R. Lathrop, of Johnstown; and Louis B. Lathrop, of Syracuse. Of the large family of Nicholas and Catharine Gros, only three now remain: Louisa Gros, wife of Andrew Dunn, of this village; Cornelia Gros, wife of Rev. G.W. Hemperley, of Cobleskill; and Adelia Gros, widow of Ephraim Spraker, of this village.

The funeral was held at the house on Willett street, Sunday afternoon, at 2 o'clock, Rev. James Demarest, D.D., officiating. A large concourse of relatives and friends paid their last respects to the memory of deceased. The remains were interred in the Gros private burying ground at Palatine Bridge.

It is seldom that the reader has an opportunity of learning through the life of one family the history of the Mohawk valley and its early residents, but the record and events happening in the valley belong and are largely connected with that of the Gros family, through its several branches. But of these, one by one are dropping off- and in the fullness of years are gathered to their fathers.

The following is a brief sketch of the Gros family and other persons connected with the early history of Fort Plain and vicinity, published thirty-one years ago, and which is re-published by request of descendants of the historic family, and will doubtless interest many of our readers:

GROS - At the residence of Mr. Charles Lintner, in this village, on Tuesday morning, the 14th inst., after an illness if nearly three months, Lawrence Gros, Esq., in the 83d year of his age.

To sketch a befitting notice of the death of a friend, while it affords a melancholy pleasure to the writer, is ever, under ordinary circumstances, a task of no little responsibility; but to follow the shaft of death when it has fallen upon such a victim as the deceased, is a labor, as the writer is well aware, of increased importance, because the more historical- the more intricately interwoven in the classic annals of the Mohawk Valley. The brighter connecting links in the chain which binds the present generation with that of our Revolution, either by action or observation, have one after another, nearly all fallen into the open sepulchre. True, here and there yet lingers a witness of the sanguinary strife through which, for eight long years, our starry banner trailed in blood; but few if any of those have been as intelligent and prominent actors in life's great drama, as was the subject of this obituary.

To do better justice to the historical part of the notice, I will here insert some memoranda which I copied a few years since, from the Will of the Rev. Johan Daniel Gros, which as the instrument states, was made in the presence of his brother, Lawrence, in the town of Canajoharie, December 11, 1811. The drawer of the Will says: "In order to perpetuate, among my relatives a grateful memorial of my beloved parents and parentage and place of nativity. I think it proper to state that I was born at Weibenheim, in the Cidevant Duchy of Deuxponts. My father was Lawrence Gros. My mother was Mary Magdalen, oldest daughter of Philip Bombach." He left the place of his nativity July 14, 1764, which he was two years after the death of his parents, and arrived at Philadelphia, December 1st of that year. He had, before setting out for this country, married a wife at Heidleberg. He left in Germany two sisters and two brothers, Lawrence and Johan Nicholas; the former brother afterwards followed him to America and the latter went to the East Indies, where he is supposed to have died, after having made eleven voyages thither. In his Will he expresses a doubt as to his brother being then alive," as he had again and again written to him through a friend, without learning where he was."

Soon after his advent to the new world, the Rev. Johan Daniel Gros* went to Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and after he had been preaching there for several years, he received a call to the pastoral charge of a congregation in Canajoharie, as a large territory along the river was then called; and removed hither about the year 1770. The church edifice stood nearly a mile to the westward of the Fort Plain Seminary, on about the same rise of ground from the Mohawk, and nearly equi-distant between those two points and on a similar elevation, stood the military post erected at the beginning of the war for freedom, and called Fort Plain; because of the sightly and commanding view it afforded.** This fort was usually under the command of Col. Marinus Willet, who held supervision over several smaller defenses in the neighborhood.

Henry Failing, a pioneer settler at St. Johnsville, emigrated from Germany to the colony of New York, with the Schoharie German settlers, who came under the patronage of Queen Anne- halted with them at the "Camps" on the Hudson in 1710, went with them to Schoharie and subsequently pitched his tent in the Mohawk valley. In 1740 he erected a substantial one and a half story stone house in St. Johnsville, which building was torn down in 1805. Henry Failing had a son Nicholas, who was the father of several daughters, one of whom, Maria, became the wife of Lawrence Gros; who, during the Revolution commanded a company of Rangers, and occupied a small dwelling situated a little distance from the old Wagner grist mill by the creek. The house stood about where the race-way now runs, and at the most is but a very few rods from the residence of Charles Lintner, so that Lawrence Gros, the subject of this notice, who was born there November 3, 1776, drew his first and last breath on the same acre of ground. Besides his namesake, Captain Gros had three other sons, Nicholas, Daniel and Henry. Nicholas is still living.

The venerable Jacob H. Failing, who died but a few months since within a mile of Fort Plain, was son of Henry N. Failing, and a nephew of Maria, the wife of Lawrence Gros, Sen. Isaac Hall Tiffany, Esq., a student of the celebrated Aaron Burr, and a very intelligent old gentleman, died a few months since at Fultonville, in this county. Thus have three men distinguished for general intelligence, probity of character and moral worth, who were born in 1776, gone from the Mohawk valley to the spirit world, since this year began.

It would require too much room to give in detail the thrilling scenes which transpired when Mr. Gros was under five years of age, a clear recollection of which he retained to the hour of his death. He witnessed, in the summer and autumn of 1780, the fireworks displayed by the torch-light progression of Tory and Indian mercenaries, among the dwellings, barns, grain barracks, and hay-stacks, as they swept over the settlements of the patriotic on both sides of the river contiguous to Fort Plain. A grist mill, which occupied nearly the sight of the present one, was constructed with a small block-house attached, and between that and the Fort were two or three dwellings that of Captain Gros included; those all escaped the incendiary torch; but three or four in sight, to the westward of the Fort, with the church and parsonage, were burned by the enemy, the flight of the owners and pursuit of the yelling savages having been watched with intense interest by the then few inmates of the garrison. Mr. O'Beel (John Abeel), finding his escape to the Fort cut off, fled toward the river, near which he was captured by an Indian and hurried away. His captor proved to be the Chief John- called by his race, Cornplanter,*** and his own son, who not only restored him to liberty, but furnished him an escort back to the smouldering ruins of his fine stone mansion- one of the best class of dwellings then in the valley. He remembered the muffled drums and imposing pageant when the remains of the brave Capt. McKean were disinterred and reburied with funeral honors near the new block house in 1781. He remembered the Peace Dance of a large party of friendly Oneida Indians at the close of the war; and their fantastic gestures and terrific yells around a roasted calf, a few rods back of the Fort. He remembered too, that still later, he, with several other boys, was paraded beside the road, which wound around the hill above William Lipe's barn**** to the Fort, by his Aunt, the wife of Domine Gros; and there made his best bow to the Great Chief of the army and several attendants, who, hat in hand, returned the salutation of the boys. On this visit to the Mohawk valley, Washington staid over night with Mr. Wormuth, (or Wormwood, as Campbell has the name in his "Annals of Tryon County.") who then lived in a stone house now in ruins in the "hop-yard" of John C. Lipe, perhaps a mile and a half west of the Fort Plain railroad depot. Mr. Wormuth had lost a promising son, a Lieutenant in the army, who was shot from his horse near Cherry Valley by the enemy under Brant, when on an errand from Fort Plain to the former place; and this incident tells why he was honored by a visit from so illustrious a guest. The precise time Washington was here is not now remembered, but as he visited Cherry Valley in the summer of 1784, in company with Gov. Geo. Clinton and others, it is presumed he went from here there.

Dignified in appearance courteous in manners, and honest in his purposes, Lawrence Gros was for more than half a century, a prominent and active citizen. He was a member of Assembly in 1820, 1821, and 1827- was many years Supervisor of the town of Canajoharie, in which town he resided, and being a man of good judgment and strict integrity, he was not unfrequently made a referee, to act as umpire between his fellows; and the confidence thus reposed in him was never betrayed. He was in every sense a gentleman. Twenty years ago a calamity befell him, the result of the fluctuating scale of business and a lack of integrity in a friend; his triumph over which, notwithstanding it wrested from him his enviable home, proved him a man of uncommon energy. Enjoying the respect of all who knew him, he goes to his grave sincerely mourned by all who can appreciate virtue and moral worth.

His funeral was numerously attended on Thursday afternoon, at the Universalist church, of which he was a prominent member, and an impressive discourse delivered on the occasion by its pastor, the Rev. C. E. Hewes. Let all men imitate the virtues of the lamented Lawrence Gros.

Fort Plain, June 21, 1859.

GROS-Catherine, daughter of Nicholas and Catharine Gros, born October 3, 1814; died November 16, 1862.

GROS-On November 20, 1863, Nicholas Gros, in his 83d year. Mr. Gros was born December 13, 1781.

On May 20th of the following year, 1864, Catharine Dygert, relict of Nicholas Gros, died in the 80th year of her age. She was born January 10, 1785.

Maria P. Gros, relict of John W. Riggs, and daughter of Nicholas Gros, died July 21, 1886, in her 83d year. She was born January 28, 1804.

Elizabeth Gros, second daughter of Nicholas Gros, and relict of Archibald Fox, died November 23, 1885, in the 80th year of her age. She was born February 18, 1806.

April 23, 1886, Juliette, another daughter of Nicholas and Catharine Gros, died in Palatine. She was born April 17, 1822.

Johan Daniel, son of Nicholas and Catharine Gros, born November 7, 1807; died June 14, 1877.

July 13, 1882, DeWitt W. Gros, died at the old homestead in Palatine, after an illness of several weeks. He was another son of Nicholas Gros and was born April 26, 1826.

* At the close of the war Domine Gros (as called by the age) went to New York, and in 1786, he was not only officiating there as a minister of the Gospel but also as a professor in Columbia College; about which time he published a work upon Moral Philosophy.

** At my last interview with this friend and patriarch, he said that "old Peter Lambert," as soldier there at the time it was erected, told him that the Fort was so named by Jacob Derrick, but whether the latter was an architect, a citizen or a soldier, is now unknown.

*** "Corn planter," who was a gentlemanly and dignified looking man, visited Fort Plain some fifty years ago, and being related to several of the best families there, was treated with marked civility.

**** Domine Gros preached in this barn from the time his church was burnt, to the close of the war. This old landmark gave place in 1858 to a new one.

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