History of Bucks County, Pa Volume 3 by William H. Davis
Names and Page # Index


JOHN A. GROSS. The Gross family has figured in connection with the material and moral development of Bucks county for four generations. Jacob Gross, the founder of the family in America, was a native of Germany, whence he emigrated to this country, about 1761. He first settled at Skippack, Montgomery county, subsequently resided in Germantown and thence removed to Bedminster township, Bucks county, where he spent his remaining days. He was a shoemaker by trade and followed that pursuit in connection with general farming up to the time of his demise. While in Bedminster he was ordained a minister of the old Deep Run Mennonite church and was afterward elected a bishop of that denomination. His death occurred December 12, 1810, when he was sixty-seven years of age and his remains were interred in the church cemetery. He gave his services without financial compensation to the cause of the ministry, and his influence was marked as a potent element for good in the neighborhood where he resided. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary Krall, died February 10, 1816, at the age of sixty-three years. They were the parents of six children: Christian, Isaac, Mary, who became the wife of Abram Nash; Daniel, John and Jacob.

John Gross, son of Jacob and Mary (Krall) Gross, spent his entire life in Bucks county, and during the greater part of his business career carried on agricultural pursuits in Fountainville, Pennsylvania. He, too, was an ordained minister of the Old Mennonite church and officiated for years as pastor of the congregation of that denomination at Doylestown. He was married twice, his first union being with a Miss Leatherman, by whom he had the following children: John L., Jacob, Joseph, Anna, the wife of Henry Godshalk; and Mary, the wife of John Godshalk. For his second wife John Gross married Mrs. Myers, a widow, and their children were: William and Samuel, twins, and Sarah, the wife of Samuel W. Lapp.

John L. Gross, the eldest son of John Gross, was born in Fountainville, Pennsylvania, August 25, 1824, and in early life he engaged in farming. He was employed by Christian Leatherman and others until he found opportunity to engage in business on his own account. In connection with general agricultural pursuits he carried on the commission business, carrying his products to the Philadelphia market. About 1853 he entered mercantile circles in partnership with Henry H. Rosenberger, his brother-in-law, establishing a commission business at Dublin. About four years later he purchased two acres of ground from his father, constituting a part of the old family homestead, and he erected thereon a store building in Fountainville that is still occupied by his son, John A. Gross. There he carried on merchandising for about thirteen years, after which he sold his business to John L. Kramer and resumed farming, conducting agricultural pursuits with good success for ten years. At the end of that time he purchased the stock that was in his store building and resumed merchandising, in which he continued until 1891, when he retired from business life and sold his stock of goods to his two sons, Daniel G. and John A. Gross. Starting out empty handed to make his own living he continually progressed and as the result of his capable management, keen discernment and executive force he won a full measure of prosperity. He also took a deep interest in the moral development of his community, and for a long period served as an elder in the Old Mennonite church, occupying that position up to the time of his death, which occurred on the 5th of December, 1901. In early manhood he married Miss Esther Gotwals, and they become the parents of four children: Daniel G., Mary Ann, the wife of Henry Johnson; John A., and Emma, wife of John F. Mood.

John A. Gross was born in the house where he now lives and in which he conducts his mercantile interests, his natal day being October 28, 1865. He acquired his education in the common schools and early became familiar with commercial methods by acting as clerk in his fatherís establishment. He was thus employed until 1891, when he and his brother Daniel purchased the business of their father and for four years conducted the store under the style of Gross Brothers. On the expiration of that period John A. Gross bought his brother Danielís interest and has since continued as sole proprietor, conducting one of the best general stores in this part of Bucks county, his reliable business methods and earnest desire to please his patrons being among the salient features of his successful career. On the 6th day of December, 1888, John A. Gross was married to Miss Anna E. Leatherman, daughter of Isaac and Lydia Leatherman, and they had one child, Clarence L., who was born November 5, 1890, and died June 27, 1896. Mr. and Mrs. Gross hold membership in the Salem Reformed church of Doylestown. In politics he is a Republican and was auditor of his township for three years. In 1891 he was appointed postmaster by John Wanamaker, then postmaster general of the United States, and has since occupied that position.

Text taken from page 362-363

Davis, William W. H., A. M. History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905] Volume III

Transcribed June 2002 as part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project,

Published July 2002 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb pages at

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