Source: Biographical Memoirs of Wabash County, Indiana (1901), pp. 412-414.


The subject of this sketch is a marked example of the self-made man, for, unaided, he has won his way from comparative obscurity to his present position as one of the representative farmers of Wabash county. He is a splendid type of the strong and sturdy class of yeomanry that constitute the moral bone and sinew of the great west and his life forcibly illustrates what a young man can accomplish when directed and controlled by correct moral principles. Mr. Groninger is an Ohio man, born in Ross county, that state on the 27th of April, 1832. His father, Leonard J. Groninger, was born in Juniata county, Pa., and the mother, whose maiden name was Winnie Piper, was a native of Ross county, Ohio. These parents were married in the latter state and in 1841 came to Wabash county, Ind., where they passed the remainder of their lives, the father dying at the home of his son, in Pleasant township, at the age of sixty-two, and the mother at the same place in her eighty-seventh year. Leonard J. Groninger worked at the tailor's trade in early life, but after becoming a resident of Wabash county he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits. He was a good man, fairly successful as a farmer, and the father of seven children, two sons and five daughters, all dead but the subject of this mention, who was the first born.

Henry L. Groninger was nine years old when his parents left their fortunes in the wilds of Wabash county. The original place of settlement was a small tract of land in Pleasant township, which the subject now owns, and amid the rugged duties and stirring scenes of pioneer times he passed the years of his youth and early manhood. Reared on a new and undeveloped farm he early became inured to the rough labor necessary to remove the timber, dig out stumps, etc., the ax and mattock being the first implements he learned how to use. In the indifferent subscription schools, common during the pioneer period, he learned the rudimentary branches, but by far the greater portion of his time was spent in the woods and fields assisting his father with the work of the farm. When old enough to start into the world for himself Mr. Groninger decided to become a farmer and he has since lent his energies in that direction with encouraging financial results. After the death of his father he took charge of the home place, which ultimately came into his possession, and with additional accessions he now owns two hundred and eighty acres in Pleasant township. With modern improvements in the way of dwelling, barn, outbuildings and other accessories, his place ranks with the best farms in the county, and as an agriculturist abreast the times in every department of his calling, Mr. Groninger is the peer of any of his contemporaries. To him the tilling of the soil has an interest akin to fascination, and he plans his work and manages his place according to the most approved scientific methods. His home has been arranged with an idea to convenience and comfort and the hospitality which reigns therein is proverbial throughout the community. In addition to general farming Mr. Groninger pays much attention to cattle, horses and hogs, his breeds being high grade and valuable. He has found this department of the farm handsomely remunerative and he expects to increase his investments therein in years to come.

Mr. Groninger was married June 10, 1856, to Miss Rebecca Bussard, daughter of Samuel and Mary (Lindermuth) Bussard, of Montgomery county, Ohio. Mrs. Groninger was born near Germantown., Ohio, on the 12th day of March, 1838, and at the age of six months was brought by her parents to Wabash county. She was reared and educated in Pleasant township, and since her infancy has passed the greater part of her life near where she now resides. Her father, a native of Maryland, went to Ohio when a young man and in 1838 became a resident of Pleasant township, in the growth and development of which he bore an active part; he died in this township at the age of seventy-two. His wife, a native of Pennsylvania, also died in the township of Pleasant, the date of her death being 1856. Samuel and Mary Bussard had a family of two sons and two daughters, of whom Mrs. Groninger was next to the oldest. Mr. and Mrs. Groninger have had ten children: The oldest is Horace G., a farmer of Kosciusko county; the second is Arthur D., a well-to-do farmer and stock-raiser of Pleasant township; Otto L. lives in Fulton county, this state, where he is engaged in agricultural pursuits; Loas A. married Peter Schwenk, and lives in the township of Pleasant; Mary E. is the wife of W.H. Tryon, a farmer of Terry county, Kan.; Samuel L. is a farmer of Pleasant township; Thomas L. is engaged in agriculture and stock-raising in Chester township; Winnie married J.H. Kreamer, who runs a meat market at Kewanna, Ind.; Charles L. lives in Pleasant township, where he was born; and Iva R., who married J.C. Butterbaugh, also lives on the home farm.

While not an aspirant for political preferment, Mr. Groninger has held several township offices, in all of which he acquitted himself creditably. He has always affiliated with the Republican party and had the pleasure of casting a vote for its first presidential candidate, John C. Fremont. He and wife are devout members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and as such have been highly valued for their good work in behalf of charitable enterprises. In 1853 Mr. Groninger was made a Mason and ever since joining the order he has been one of its most active members; at the present time he has the distinction of being the oldest Mason in Wabash county; also one of the brightest and best informed in the work of the several degrees which he has taken.

Mr. Groninger's career and the history of Pleasant township have been very closely interwoven. For nearly sixty years he has borne his part in the country's development and he is now one of the few survivors of a period made memorable by reason of the daring struggles and self-denying efforts of the hardy pioneer. Comfortably situated as far as this world's wealth is concerned, he no longer labors as formerly, but in a beautiful home, in the enjoyment of his many years of toil, he passes the time, conscious of having discharged life's duties faithfully and well. With the respect of his neighbors and fellow-citizens and a large acquaintance throughout the county, he is on good terms with the world and entertains no fears as to the future. With a reputation above criticism and a character without a flaw, it is eminently fitting that he receive mention as one of Pleasant township's representative men, and for this reason is the foregoing tribute to his worth accorded a place in these pages.