The Croom Family and Goodwood Plantation: Land, Litigation, and Southern Lives by Erica Clark, William Rogers
One of the most elegant mansions in Florida, Goodwood was built over a century ago and stands today as one of Tallahassee’s grandest historical monuments. It was once the center of a thriving plantation founded by the Croom family of North Carolina, who in the 1820s sought to revive their fortunes in the newly opened Florida territory. William Warren Rogers and Erica R. Clark tell the story of this family and their legacy, shedding new light on many aspects of antebellum family life, plantation management, and race relations. They describe how brothers Hardy and Bryan Croom developed Goodwood Plantation to over four thousand acres with nearly two hundred slaves before Hardy and his family were killed in a shipwreck, and how a twenty-year lawsuit, complicated by questions of survivorship and residency, denied Bryan control of the estate. This meticulously detailed account, drawing extensively on family correspondence and court records, is a story of humaneness, hard work, and family valuesbut also of selfishness and greedthat reveals an intriguing chapter of southern history.