Oren Groce (25 August 1925- 30 September 1940)


From a 1940 Glasgow Times newspaper:

“The tragic death of Oren Groce, 16 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Willie Ray Groce, of rural Glasgow, came as a shock to the many friends of the Groce family in Barren County. Young Groce died at the Samson Community Hospital here Monday afternoon as the result of injuries received when a tree fell on him Saturday.
“The accident occurred Saturday around 8 am when young Groce, his father, and 3 brothers were cutting some timber at their farm near Boyds Creek on the Tompkinsville Road. The young man was injured when the tree fell back on him after striking another tree, crushing both his legs and pinning him underneath.
“The tree had to be sawed in two before the Groce boy could be removed from beneath. Both legs were badly crushed and he suffered internal injuries. The young man suffered intense pain and little hope was held for his recovery from the outset.
“Besides his parents, he is survived by four brothers, Ewell, Chester, Elbert, and Clifton; two sisters, Doris and Maymie Ruth, all at home.
“Funeral services were held Tuesday at 1 pm at the Groce home, the Rev. Ernest L. Dixon in charge. Interment followed in the Groce Cemetery near Oleoak.”

AN: I was told by a family member that Oren was supposed to stay at home that day, because of the danger of the job, but he slipped off from home to follow his father and brothers. The Groce family farm is off of Hwy 63 (Tompkinsville Road) on the Willie Groce Road. But according to one family legend I had heard, this incident actually happened near the Groce Cemetery, on some land they were clearing. I never talked to any of the ones directly involved about what happened that day, but it was a tragic situation all the way around.


About Gclee

I am a long time genealogy and local history hunter from Barren Co., KY. I have many stories to share that may be of interest to other local genealogists and history buffs. I enjoy this as a hobby and hope I can be of encouragement to others. I also hope everyone enjoys my stories as much as I have enjoyed learning about them.
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2 Responses to Oren Groce (25 August 1925- 30 September 1940)

  1. Janet Smith says:

    First, I’d like to say that my mother’s father, Willie Groce was a self made man. He was smart, and could do anything he set out to do. He was a benevolent man, when need be. He worked hard all his life. Papa was fair with people and lead his life straight as an arrow. He ran his farm like a well oiled machine. However, Papa was a very contrary natured man with his family, and ruled them with an iron will.

    My mother’s brother Oren had planned on going to the fair on Saturday. Papa woke up with in a foul mood and decided he and his four sons would clear some trees off his land. There was no protest about it. You just didn’t cross Papa.

    My uncle Chester used to talk about this incident and would become so terribly angry with Papa. Chester claimed that Papa had relentlessly ridden Oren hard all morning. When the tree was cut, Papa yelled, “TIMBER!” The boys and Papa ran in the opposite direction of the falling tree. Oren ran the other direction. Papa screamed and yelled at Oren to turn around, but Oren didn’t turn around. The tree fell across Oren and crushed his pelvis and legs. The impact buried Oren a foot into the ground.

    With a cross cut saw, the older brothers feverishly sawed the fallen tree to free Oren. My mother always spoke of riding to the hospital with Oren in the back of their jeep. Mama said Oren cried out in immense pain. Oren’s leg was amputated and he died within three days. On his death bed Oren ask Papa to please keep the family together.

    The family was overwhelmed with grief. For Papa to keep his promise to Oren, each time one of Papa’s children married, Papa gave them land off his farm to build a home on. This explains why the Groce family all lived so close together. Chester declined to live on the land, and moved toward Temple Hill.

    Mama said they started going to church after Oren’s death. My grandparents gave their lives to the Lord and were saved. They never got over losing Oren, and throughout my life I’ve heard my mother and her brother Chester go over what happened that day. Oren never lived to know me, but his memory is forever etched in my mind.

    • Shirley Riddle Steenbergen says:

      I never knew this, and having grown up down the road from the Groce family. I know later in life, Willie would come visit my daddy a lot on Sunday morning. Unsure but guess they had some great discussions on their lives and families.

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