Sunday, September 19, 2010
Life and Death of T.S. Croft (1821 - 1899)
We here present a splendid picture of the late Thomas S. Croft, whose death was announced in the Press two weeks ago. As he was a pioneer citizen of the county, our local annuals would be incomplete without this picture and brief sketch.
T.S. Croft was born in Christian county, Sept. 25, 1821, and was a son of Martin and Fannie (Sullivan) Croft. His parents were born in South Carolina, and his father was a soldier of 1812.
In 1806 Martin Croft came West and settled in Christian county, Ky., near where the town of Crofton stands. In 1826 he moved to Livingston county, settling near Salem, later he moved to the Hurricane country, where he resided until his death, September 15, 1834. His wife survived him twelve years, dying November 20, 1846.
Thomas S. Croft was one of a family of nine children, of whom but two are now living, F.H. Croft and Mrs. Josiah Stalions. Thomas Croft remained at home until he was sixteen years old, and then began farming for himself. He later taught school for five terms in his home district. The first farm he owned comprised sixty acres. He was a tireless farmer; full of energy and thrift, he began early in his career to manifest the qualities of success, in industry and good judgment in his work. The country in that section was then sparsely settled, land was cheap, and Mr. Croft began to invest little by little in the fine lands of that section. Besides farming at different periods he engaged in saw milling and rehandling tobacco. In all of these he was successful, and as his acres began to broaden, he turned his attention to stock raising and for years was perhaps more extensively engaged in this business than any other man in the county.
When his children became grown, Mr. Croft owned about 5000 acres of land, and the greater portion of this he divided among them, giving each one several hundred acres.
He was married to Miss Elmira Wright, daughter of Thomas and Mildred Wright, of Tennessee, Oct. 14, 1847, and eleven children were born, of whom the following are living: Mildred, wife of G.B. Crawford; Mrs. N.J. Yates; P.B. Croft; Mary S., wife of Dr. J.O. Dixon; Elmira, wife of W.E. Dowell, and Buckner Croft, all of whom are citizens of this county.
He was active in the establishment of the Hurricane camp meeting and for a number of years contributed to its maintenance. He made a handsome donation to the Christian church at Marion.
Mr. Croft was a member of the Christian church at Salem. He has taken a lively interest in church matters for several years, and has contributed liberally to several churches.
He was buried on the Croft farm near Tolu, Rev. Robt. Johnson conducting the funeral services in the presence of a large crowd of the friends of the family.
Mr. Croft began life a poor man, and died perhaps the wealthiest man in the county. He left by will his property all to his wife, to be divided among the children at her death, though he made handsome provisions for his children as they became of age.