ESAU GROVES, a highly respected resident of Mt. Hope Township, is a native
of Washington County, Ind., and was born Nov. 7, 1818. His father, Peter Groves, was of German birth and parentage
and was left an orphan at an early age. When twelve years of age he accompanied his two older brothers to America,
and they located in South Carolina, where young Peter commenced the battle of life, working by the day and month
at whatever his hands could find to do. After a few years he went into North Carolina, and afterward, when a young
man, to Kentucky, where he married, and thence, with his bride, removed to the Territory of Indiana and was one
of the pioneers of Washington County. There he purchased a tract of timber land, built a log house, and commenced
to open up a farm. In 1833 he sold out and removed to Clinton County, Ind., where he improved another farm which
was originally part timber and part prairie. Upon his arrival there, Indians were still numerous and white men
few. After five years he removed overland to Western Missouri, the journey being made with ox-teams. He was accompanied
by his wife and five children, and they carried their household goods and cooking utensils, and lived after the
manner of the early emigrants. He then located in Livingston County, upon a tract of wild land eight miles from
any settlement, and followed the same routine which he had experienced in Washington and Clinton Counties, Ind.
Upon this latter farm he lived until 1846, and then, selling out, removed to the eastern part of Missouri, where
he spent the remainder of his days. After the death of Peter Groves, his widow, with her two sons, one daughter
and a granddaughter, started across the plains to Oregon. One son, Elijah, and the granddaughter were the only
ones who lived to reach their destination. The remainder died and were buried on the plains.
The mother of our subject, before her marriage, was Miss Nancy Humphreys, and she was a native of Germany. She became the mother of twelve children, of whom Esau of this sketch is the only one known to be living. He spent the first fifteen years of his life in his native county and accompanied his parents in their subsequent removals. In July, 1840, he came into McLean County, poor in pocket and without friends and acquaintances. He employed himself at whatever his hands could find to do, and by a straightforward and honest life soon found friends and became prosperous in his labors and undertakings. The farm which he now owns and occupies and which he obtained by his own industry was entered for him at the land sales at Springfield in June, 1852, and he took possession of it in August of the same year. The first improvement was a small frame building in which the family lived for a few years. In 1875 he erected his present comfortable and convenient dwelling, and now has the entire quarter section under a good state of cultivation, with a good barn and all necessary out-buildings. Mr. and Mrs. G. together own 240 acres, all improved and valuable.
Mr. Groves was married in this county, Feb. 8, 1848, to Miss Mary Stubblefield. Mrs. G. is a native of Fayette County, Ohio, born Dec. 24, 1818, and is the second daughter of Robert and Sarah (Funk) Stubblefield. (See sketch of John Stubblefield). They have one child only, a daughter, Sarah Frances, who is now the wife of John Reidle, and lives on the old homestead. Our subject and his wife became connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church in their youth, with which faith they still hold fellowship, and by their upright lives have adorned their profession and secured the esteem and confidence of a large circle of friends.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 743. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.