About Julia Croom (Stevens)
William Whitfield and Julia Stephens Croom
William Whitfield Croom was born in Lenoir County, North Carolina, the son of General William Croom and Elizabeth Whitfield. General Croom died in 1829, and William moved to Gadsden County, Florida, ca. 1835, where he became a cotton commission merchant and broker in Quincy. He also hired out most of the fifty slaves he inherited from his father's estate. In 1836 he married Julia Stephens of New Bern, North Carolina. Julia's father, Marcus Cicero Stephens, and mother, Mary Anne "Polly" Ellis, and their seven children had also relocated in Quincy, Florida, in 1835. William and Julia had two children, Cicero Stephens and Elizabeth Whitfield.
During the 1850s William initiated a business relationship with a Dr. Taylor in Columbus, Georgia, and traveled frequently to New York in connection with his commission merchant business and a silk and ribbon jobbing business. William also speculated in land in Minnesota and Iowa, although with little success. William Whitfield
In 1857 William purchased 1,000 acres of land in Bolivar County, Mississippi. The Crooms lived in a boarding house in Memphis, Tennessee, while renovating a house on the plantation. However, they did not stay long in Mississippi, since Julia did not like the climate or the isolation. They left their daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband to manage the plantation and they returned to New York.
On the eve of the Civil War it became increasingly difficult to conduct business in New York. In 1860, William and Julia moved to Eutaw, Alabama, where they had relatives. Following the war, their financial situation was precarious, and William had no regular occupation. In 1868, the year after Julia Croom died, William was forced to file for bankruptcy. His properties in Eutaw and Mississippi went on the auction block, and he moved to Rome, Georgia, where he secured a position teaching French in a girl's school. He remained there until his death in 1876.
Guide to the Velma and Stephens G. Croom Collection
The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library
University of South Alabama