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Julia W. Croft Family Papers, 1830-1937 inclusive; bulk 1920-1937

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Biographical Sketch

Sarah Julia Wood was born in Alabama ca. 1868 to Ashley Clinton Wood (1832-1897), a lawyer, and Margaret Josephine Brooks (1836-1887). Julia’s mother was a daughter of Iverson Lewis Brooks (1793-1865), a wealthy planter and a Baptist pastor in Georgia and South Carolina, who served on the Furman Institution’s first Board of Trustees in 1835. 

Julia is listed as a preliminary-collegiate student at the Anderson Female Seminary at Anderson, S.C. in 1884. After Julia’s parents passed, she lived with her aunt, Julia E. Brooks Graham (1848-1909), widow of Winchester M. Graham (1821-1877), before 1897 in Schulz Hill, [now North Augusta] Aiken Co., S.C.  Julia’s aunt died in 1909, and sometime between 1910 and 1914, Julia married J. Morgan Landrum, a local farmer in Schulz Hill, and they lived on a farm called the Landrum Place.  

After her first husband’s death in 1922, Julia became the second wife of William M. Croft, son of Alabama Congressman, George W. Croft, in 1924. William Croft was in the dry goods business, and later was owner of Oak Grove Touring camp outside of North Augusta.

Julia’s grandfather, Iverson Lewis Brooks, had obtained two plantations in Aiken and Edgefield counties, S.C. with his marriage to his third wife, Mrs. Sarah J. Oliver Myers in 1831. Soon after this marriage, Brooks settled on an estate at Woodville, near Hamburg [now part of North Augusta, S.C.], in Aiken County, S.C., where he spent most of the remainder of his life. Julia Croft for many years lived in what was known as the old Brooks home on the Brooks estate [Woodville plantation] in North Augusta, S.C.

Through Julia Croft's relationship with Baptist minister Rev. George S. Lovell, Jr., she intended to bequeath monies to Furman University and Mercer University upon her death. After her death in 1964, the Brooks estate was sold and a fund was established in excess of $1 million named the Iverson L. Brooks Fund, the interest to benefit the two universities.