SAMPSON GROVES, a retired farmer now living in Carlinville, probably has as much personal knowledge of the progress of this county as any man now living within its bounds. He came here more than half a century ago, when it was sparsely settled and much of the land was still owned by the Government, and Carlinville was a hamlet with its houses mostly of logs. There were no railroads in the county, and Alton and St. Louis were the nearest markets and depots for supplies. Deer and wolves roamed at will over the unsettled districts and frequently came very near the scattered farmhouses. Long years of earnest and well-directed efforts secured to Mr. Groves a goodly amount of property, and since 1888 he has been living in Carlinville, enjoying the ease and comfort that are so fitting for those of advancing years.
The parents of our subject were Solomon and Elizabeth (Dukes) Groves, who for some years made their home on a farm in Muhlenberg County, Ky. The father died there about 1821 and the mother some years later, she having made a second marriage, wedding George Gates. The son Sampson was born in Muhlenberg County, April 25, 1815, and remained with his mother during her lifetime. He was about ten years old when she was taken away and he was then bound out to a cabinetmaker living in Christian County. He was not well treated and his spirit rebelled and when about a twelvemonth had passed he ran away. His master soon found him and took him back, but he watched an opportunity, and a few weeks later again left, this time making his way back to his native county, where he found a safe harbor with his brother Jacob. In 1835 he accompanied a colony to this State, the company including his brother and the Barnetts.
Young Groves spent the winter in Sangamon County and in the spring of 1836 came to this county. He worked at the trade of a carpenter in and about Carlinville until the next year, when he returned to Kentucky on a visit. He made the round trip on horseback, spending a few weeks amid the scenes of his boyhood and youth, and then, returning hither, he again took up his trade and followed it until 1843. That year he entered a tract of Government land on section 3, Honey Point Township, and still later took up eighty acres adjoining. His first improvement was the clearing of a space on which to build a log house and after beginning housekeeping therein he continued his work on the property, brining it under subjection and placing upon it a good set of buildings. He lived on the farm until 1869, then made Carlinville his home seven years and a half, after which he returned to the farm. He made his permanent removal at the time before mentioned, and is now occupying a pleasant town house.
An event of much interest to Mr. Groves and to Miss Catherine Armstrong took place June 20, 1844, it being their union in the matrimonial tie. The bride was born in Botetourt County, Va., January 14, 1825. Her father, Watson Armstrong, was a native of Virginia and a farmer by occupation. He came to this State in 1830, accompanied by his wife and three children, traveling with teams and camping on the way. He settled in Sangamon County near Auburn and died there. The mother of Mrs. Groves bore the maiden name of Ann Wineman. She too was born in Virginia and her parents were Frederick and Catherine Wineman. Frederick Wineman is believed to have been born in Pennsylvania as he went from that State to Virginia. After the decease of Mr. Armstrong his widow married John Hutton and they came to this county about 1838, settling at Shaw's Point. Soon afterward Mr. Hutton left home and was never again heard from. His widow entered Government land and provided a home for her children. She married a third time, wedding Cephas Gillette, and went to Springfield where she spent her last years.
Mrs. Groves was carefully reared and given instruction in the domestic arts that were formerly considered necessary, as the manner of life differed materially from that of today. She knew well how to card, spin and weave, and during the early years of her married life clothed her family in homespun made by her own hands. She is an excellent housekeeper and has been a wise and affectionate mother as well as a companion in whom her husband could safely trust for encouragement and sympathy. the family is made up of six sons and daughters, all living but the second, Emily, who died at the early age of twenty-two years. The survivors are Ellis J., Ann E., George Watson, Sampson S. and Fred Grant. Both Mr. and Mrs. Groves belong to the Christian Church and they are conscientious and earnest in their efforts to live aright.