McGroty immigrated from Ireland to Danville

Published 6:08 am Saturday, August 11, 2018

Alexander Scott McGroty, a local businessman for many years, came to Danville in 1838, a year after he immigrated from County Donegal, Ireland.

He joined the Montgomery & Fry Co., which had a drug store on the southwest corner of Main and Second streets (the old Hendren Corner).

In 1840, McGroty bought the firm and remained in the drug business and was a wholesale dealer in Danville continuously for 57 years, except for a brief time after the store burned in the great fire of 1860, and the beginning of the Civil War a year later.

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He retired from active business in 1889.

A street that runs along the old Wilderness Road was named McGroty Street in the early 1900s. The street renamed Wilderness Road in 1919.

McGroty and Rose Bradford Yeiser, daughter of Frederick Yeiser, a Kentucky native, were married Oct. 24, 1842. They had seven children. The McGroty couple attended Trinity Episcopal Church.

As a young man, he was interested in military affairs and formed a company in Danville where he was captain. He also was a charter member of the Masonic Lodge of Danville, and devoted member of the Odd Fellows Lodge.

McGroty died Oct. 6, 1915, at the age of 96.

He was born May 21, in 1820, in Ireland, and was a son of William McGorty and Sarah Spier of Ireland. He was the brother of J.P. McGroty, who lived in New Mexico.

His wife, Rose was born in 1812 in Danville and died in 1903. Both are buried in Bellevue Cemetery.

Property sells

In 1920, five years after McGroty died, his property, which included a large residence and two acres of land along East Broadway, McGroty and East Main streets, was sold to the Home Building and Development Co.

The company was composed of Harry D. Pushing, Hyman Pushing, Sam Lyons, A.B. Massey and W.F. Richardson.

The company planned to build several houses to rent and remodel and make apartments in the McGroty house at the corner of East Main Street and McGroty Avenue. Improvements were expected to cost more than $1 million.

Ashby Jackson was hired to build the houses and modernize the house. Occupancy was expected in six months.

At that time, rental property was scarce in Danville.

“There is not a vacant house in Danville and hundreds of people are looking for houses in which to live,” according to an article in the Advocate-Messenger archives.

Census records

The 1870 Census shows McGroty was a furniture maker and lived at 117 McGroty Street.

He is listed with this wife, Rose B. and children, Rose Evermon, A.S. Jr., Frederick William, James Joseph, Mary Jane, Sarah Bradford and Alice Barbee.

In 1880, McGroty was 59 years old and his wife, Rose, was 58. Their children listed are: Mary, Rebecca, Lucinda, William M., A.S. and Clara Lee.

In 1900, The McGroty couple lived on East Main Street.

The 1910 Census shows McGroty was 89 years old and a boarder with Henry and Mary B. Jackson.