Barrow, Craig, 1876-1945.

Dates:
Birth 1876
Death 1945

Biographical notes:

Craig Barrow (1876-1945), chief surgeon of the Central of Georgia Railway married Elfrida DeRenne (1884-1970) in 1906. She was a descendant of Noble Jones, owner of Wormsloe Plantation in Savannah, Georgia. The Barrows lived at the residence on Wormsloe Plantation, but also owned a summer home in Hendersonville, North Carolina called Yonholme. Elfrida DeRenne Barrow was the author of several books about the history of Savannah.

The oldest of Georgia's tidewater estates, Wormsloe has remained in the hands of the same family since the mid-1730s. Claimed and developed by founding Georgia colonist Noble Jones, Wormsloe has successively served as a military stronghold, plantation, country residence, farm, tourist attraction, and historic site. Nonetheless, Wormsloe's most characteristic and defining use has been as the ancestral home of Noble Jones's descendants. Lying some ten miles southeast of Savannah, Wormsloe occupies the southern portion of the Isle of Hope, a peninsula four miles long and as much as a mile wide. During the colonial era Wormsloe's strategic location made it a valuable component of Savannah's outer defenses against Spanish attack. As a principal military officer of colonial Georgia, Jones used Wormsloe (then his leasehold) as a guard post, and his fortified tabby residence served as nucleus for a garrison of marines. In 1756 George II of England formally granted Jones ownership of Wormsloe (originally spelled "Wormslow"). In his will Jones directed that Wormsloe go to his son, Noble Wimberly Jones, and "his Heirs for ever." Nonetheless, for almost six decades after Jones's death and burial at Wormsloe in 1775, his descendants made very limited use of the estate. His daughter, Mary Jones Bulloch, had only a life interest in the estate, as well as a Savannah residence. Noble Wimberly Jones preferred to live in Savannah and elsewhere; before his death he transferred Wormsloe to his son George Jones, who also owned other residences and even turned the estate over to a lessee for a period. George Frederick Tilghman Jones changed the spelling of the estate from Wormslow to Wormsloe. He transformed his own name to George Wymberley Jones before legally adding a new surname in 1866 to become G.W.J. De Renne. Incorporating the original Wormsloe House, he created a spacious three-story residence. It faced north toward the road to Savannah, below which he purchased an additional 250 acres, adding it to the Wormsloe estate. Slaves worked his fields for Sea Island cotton as a money crop and harvested a large variety of edible crops as well, including seafood, poultry, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. More significant for the survival of Wormsloe was De Renne's linkage of the estate with historical and literary publications. The first of these, a handsome reprint of a rare 1781 pamphlet credited to George Walton, appeared under the Wormsloe imprint in 1847. It created a line of books carried on by De Renne and his descendants until this day. From G.W.J. De Renne's time also came an association of the family and the estate with collections of books and manuscripts devoted to Georgiana. With the death of G.W.J. De Renne in 1880, Wormsloe entered a sort of limbo until De Renne's sole surviving child, Wymberley Jones De Renne, took possession of it in 1893. He oversaw the extensive renovation and expansion of Wormsloe House, as well as numerous improvements to the grounds, which included cattle barns and a dairy operation. With Wymberley De Renne's death in 1916, his father's estate was finally settled, and his son, W. W. De Renne, became master of Wormsloe, having purchased his sisters' shares in the family estate. The young De Renne, with his wife, Augusta Floyd De Renne, maintained and expanded the gardens at Wormsloe, creating three interlocking formal gardens to the rear of Wormsloe House. When business reverses cost him most of his inheritance, De Renne and his wife opened the estate to visitors in 1927 as Wormsloe Gardens, a popular tourist attraction that rivaled South Carolina's Magnolia Gardens. De Renne had mortgaged Wormsloe in 1920, and his sister, Elfrida, took up the mortgage in 1930. She leased the estate to her brother until 1938. In that year the De Rennes moved to Athens, where Wormsloe's Georgia Library became part of the University of Georgia's library collection. In 1938 Elfrida De Renne Barrow and her husband, Craig Barrow, moved to Wormsloe. Stripping Wormsloe House of its Victorian additions and ornamentation, the Barrows returned the structure to its former simplicity, adding a columned two-story portico double stairs to the front entry. The gardens, also simplified, were opened once a year for various charitable causes. Elfrida Barrow linked Wormsloe to publications more explicitly than any of her ancestors. She created the nonprofit Wormsloe Foundation, which published primary and secondary works relating to Georgia history. The first of these was Wormsloe: Two Centuries of a Georgia Family, by E. Merton Coulter. In 1961 Barrow presented the bulk of Wormsloe-750 acres-to the foundation, reserving for her family mainly Wormsloe House and about fifty acres surrounding it. The foundation's tax-exempt Wormsloe lands were to be used for various purposes related to history, conservation, and education. After Barrow's death in 1970, a court case began that ultimately led to the Georgia Supreme Court's revoking the foundation's tax-exempt status. Consequently, its Wormsloe acreage was acquired by the Nature Conservancy in 1972 and transferred the next year to the state of Georgia. In 1979 the state opened Wormsloe Historic Site, which features a museum and walking tours. These include the ruins of Noble Jones's fortified residence and the Jones family burial ground. Though visible from the oak avenue, Wormsloe House remains private property, still occupied by descendants of Noble Jones. Wormsloe Plantation - New Georgia Encyclopedia http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org (Retrieved August 17, 2009)

The Savannah Golf Club has made a significant impact on the game of golf as well as American and Georgian history. On record the Savannah Golf Club is the oldest golf club in America and is believed to be the first American city where the game of golf was played. Our proud heritage dates back to our beginnings in 1794. Documented in our archives are several historical publications that warrant our founding; the invitation of December 20, 1811 as well as the call to an annual meeting in September, 1796. Savannah Golf Club website http://thesavannahgolfclub.memberstatements.com/tour/tours.cfm?ClubID=13227&TourID=60030 (Retrived August 17, 2009)

The Central of Georgia Railway was one of the most significant railroads in the American South and a vital part of Georgia's transportation infrastructure for more than one hundred years. From its start the Central was a classic expression of the developmental American railroad, serving as a leader in the region's economic growth. In response to the innovative South Carolina Railroad that was diverting cotton and other products from the Piedmont area to Charleston, South Carolina, Georgians officially organized the Central in 1833. Originally known as the Central Railroad and Canal Company of Georgia, it was reorganized as the Central Rail Road and Banking Company in 1835. Through state charters, a steady increase in local investments, and the labor of Irish immigrants and African American slaves, the line reached from Savannah to the outskirts of Macon by 1843. At that time the Central was perhaps the longest railroad under one management in the world. It did not keep that distinction for long, yet expanded in the 1840s and 1850s, with direct ownership and indirect control of lines that reached to Atlanta and Columbus, and into southwest Georgia. With tracks that passed through some of the most productive cotton lands in the state, the Central was a vital element in the antebellum Georgia economy. The extensive and innovative roundhouse complex built in Savannah in the 1850s survives today as the most complete antebellum railroad complex in the nation. During the Civil War (1861-65) the Central remained operational and served Confederate military, manufacturing, and economic objectives until the summer of 1864, when Union forces began a systematic destruction of bridges, track, and rolling stock. Images of "Sherman's bowties," the term for pieces of rail heated and then twisted around Georgia trees, have become part of the iconography of General William T. Sherman's destructive march to the sea. The Central recovered rather quickly from this destruction, however, and was operational again by June 1866. In the postbellum era the railroad underwent another phase of expansion and profitability. It expanded operations into Alabama and Tennessee, founded numerous short lines that connected Georgia cities and towns, created a steamboat line that linked Georgia to the major port cities of the Atlantic seaboard, and positioned itself as an important player in a chaotic era of takeovers, mergers, and fraud in the railroad industry. After losing control to outside investors in 1892, the Central regained nominal independence as the reorganized Central of Georgia Railway in 1895 before the Illinois Central System acquired control in 1907. Central of Georgia Railway - New Georgia Encyclopedia http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org (Retrieved August 17, 2009)

From the description of Craig Barrow family papers, 1766-1985, (bulk 1919-1970). (University of Georgia). WorldCat record id: 430827736

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Places:

  • Wormsloe Plantation Site (Ga.) (as recorded)
  • Savannah (Ga.) (as recorded)