b. 16/05/1872 Montezuma, Iowa. d. 06/08/1952 Sarasota, Florida.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 09/09/1899 near Porac, Luzon, Philippines.
William Grove was born in Montezuma, Iowa on May 16, 1872. He was the second of ten children born to Silas Wright and Angeline (née Crowell) Gove. Silas Grove fought with Company E, 15th Iowa Infantry during the American Civil War.
In his youth, Grove’s family owned various newspapers in Iowa, Kansas and Colorado. All family members were expected to assist the fledgling newspapers, and Grove began working as a printer’s devil at eight years old. In 1892, he enlisted in the Colorado National Guard, rising from the rank of private to Captain by May 1, 1898.
At the outbreak of the Spanish–American War, Grove was serving as the assistant adjutant general for Colorado. Colorado’s initial contribution of troops to the war came in the form of the 1st Colorado Infantry Regiment. Grove’s promotion to Captain came at this time, and the unit was deployed to the Philippines in June. After the end of hostilities with Spain, the unit was retained to prepare for the Philippine Insurrection expected to follow. During this preparation, Grove was promoted to Major on September 27, 1898. After the 1st Colorado Infantry were relieved by the 36th U. S. Volunteer Infantry, Grove joined that unit and was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on July 5, 1899. On December 24, 1899, he was promoted to Colonel. While in the Philippines, Grove participated in 32 hostile engagements, was wounded once, promoted three times, received five citations for bravery, and was twice recommended for the Medal of Honor. He was also recommended for brevet promotions and specifically called out by J. Franklin Bell, future Chief of Staff of the United States Army, for his heroism. Then Colonel Bell was Grove’s commanding officer, and was the colonel mentioned in Grove’s Medal of Honor citation. Then Major General Douglas MacArthur agreed, and personally recommended him for commission in the regular army.
Following his return to the United States in March 1901, Grove accepted a regular army commission as a Captain and went on to serve various tours as quartermaster and commissary. One of these included his return to the Philippines, where he received high praise from Major General John F. Weston. He was promoted to major in December 1911. In April 1913, he was placed in charge of subsistence (food service) in support of the 1913 Gettysburg reunion, again receiving high praise from many, including Major General Leonard Wood and Pennsylvania Governor John K. Tener.
In 1914, he was ordered to the Panama Canal to subsequently serve as the Chief Quartermaster under then military Governor of Panama Canal Zone, General George Washington Goethals. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in June 1917. At the outbreak of the United States’ entry into World War I, Goethals was brought back to active duty to serve as Acting Quartermaster General of the United States Army. Goebels, impressed by Grove’s service in Panama, immediately tasked Grove to “take charge of everything connected with feeding the Army.” Grove was promoted to colonel on January 12, 1918.
Grove then reorganized the subsistence division and made it ready to serve the growing wartime army, both at home and abroad. In June 1918, Grove was sent to France to ensure efficient transfer of supplies to the front lines. In October, Groves was reassigned to Paris to serve as Chief Purchasing Officer under General Charles G. Dawes, where he served until December 22, 1918.
For his war time service, he was awarded the United States Distinguished Service Medal. He was also awarded France’s Legion of Honour (Officier).
On April 1, 1924, the War Department conferred on him five Silver Citation Stars for his Philippine Campaign Medal. He was awarded he Silver Star with four oak leaf clusters and the Purple Heart when both decorations were created in 1932. His work supporting the U.S. Army in France impressed future President Herbert Hoover, then in charge of the American Relief Administration, who sent Grove to Poland to oversee the 100 million dollar effort there. His success was noted by both Hoover and Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the first Prime Minister of Poland. The Republic of Poland awarded him the Order of Polonia Restituta in recognition of his service to their country.
When he returned from Europe, Grove resigned from the army and entered private business. He spent nine months in Chicago, Illinois with Wilson and Company meat packers and two years in Rockaway, New Jersey with the 4-One Box Machine Makers (now the Stapling Machines Company).
In 1922, Herbert Hoover requested he lead the Ukraine section of the Joint Distribution Committee for Relief Work, under the auspices of the American Relief Administration’s effort during the Russian famine of 1921–22.
In May 1923, Grove returned to work for Wilson and Company, where he remained until 1940. He managed several locations from 1923 to 1930. In 1931, he was elected vice president of the company, serving in their Chicago office.
In 1940, Grove retired to Laurel, Florida. He began research into horticulture and experimented with planting tropical fruit in the area. The final result was his establishing the lychee as a staple crop of the region. He is also credited with the first ever using plastic wrap to augment air layering of plants, a method he started in 1947 in the course of propagating lychee.
On December 7, 1897, Grove married Flora Graham in Denver, Colorado. They had two sons: William Remsburg Grove, Jr. (1902-1978) and Graham Crowell Grove (1904-1915). William Remsburg Grove, Jr. graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1923, served in the U.S. Army and retired in Florida as a colonel.
On July 25, 1952, Grove suffered a heart attack and was transported to Venice Memorial Hospital, where he died on August 6, 1952.
In advance of his regiment, rushed to the assistance of his colonel, charging, pistol in hand, seven insurgents, and compelling surrender of all not killed or wounded.
BURIAL LOCATION: MANASOTA MEMORIAL PARK, BRADENTON, FLORIDA. (ASHES INTERRED).
SECTION C, LOT 120.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.