Adlai Stevenson Croom
Biographical Sketch On The
Life Of A.S. Croom
Stevenson Croom was born February 20, 1892, at Oxford, Arkansas
(first known as Croom's Mill, Arkansas, before there was a post
office). He was the son of Wiley and Sarah Jane (Pearson) Croom. He
received his primary and secondary education in the local schools of
Arkansas. Later he attended Freed-Hardeman College at Henderson,
Tennessee. Following his work at Freed-Hardeman, he attended the
University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, where he received
his Bachelor's Degree. While there he studied Hebrew and Greek at the
Baptist Theological Seminary. Following his work at Louisville, he
went to Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, where he received
a Masters Degree in Mathematics. While at Harvard he sang in the
Harvard Glee Club.
June 28, 1922, Adlai Stevenson Croom married Miss Margaret Price
Harris of Blackwater, Missouri. To this union two boys and one girl were born. The boys were
named John Adley and William Sterling, both of whom were attorneys
at law. The girl was named Sarah Ann Croom Morris.
began preaching in the early 1900's in Arkansas. He always did
secular work while preaching locally or in meetings. States in which
he preached were Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Washington.
had a strong interest in Christian education. In 1919 a group of
dedicated Christian men at Morrilton, Arkansas, organized a Board
for the development of a Christian college. They raised money, did
construction and made plans to open a Junior College there in the
Fall of 1922. Croom was invited to be president of the new college.
accepted the invitation and operated the college for two years,
keeping its financial statements in the black. In the early months
of 1924 he learned that Harper College at Harper, Kansas, was in
financial difficulties and threatened with foreclosure. Looking
forward to the possibilities of a senior college, Croom went to
Harper, Kansas, and negotiated with J. N. Armstrong,
L. C. Sears, B.
F. Rhodes, S. A. Bell, George Kieffer, Ray Thompson and Mrs.
Florence Cathcart, all of whom accepted his invitation to come and
join the faculty of the Arkansas Christian College which with this
strength in faculty would immediately become a senior college. Croom
also agreed to raise $25,000 for the purpose of paying off the debts
at Harper College. He succeeded in raising the $25,000 and the group
of faculty members from Harper moved to Morrilton in the Summer of
also proposed to the board of the Arkansas Christian College that
the name of the institution be changed to "Harding College" as it
opened its third year as a senior college. He also recommended that
J. N. Armstrong be named as president, A. S. Croom as vice
president, and L. C. Sears as dean. These recommendations were
approved by the Arkansas Board and the doors of the institution were
opened in the fall of 1924 as a senior institution under the new
name of "Harding College."
1929 the college changed its name to "Harding Christian College." In
1934 the name was officially changed back to "Harding College," at
the time the institution moved to Searcy, Arkansas, where it has
continued from that date.
men have served Harding as presidents, men of devotion, men of
vision, men of consecration. It is fitting that a listing of these
men be made and remembered for their great work in continually
moving Harding forward to greater triumphs:
1922-1924 - A.
1924-1936 - Dr. J. N. Armstrong
1936-1965 - Dr. George S. Benson
1965-1987 - Dr. Clifton L. Ganus
1987- - Dr. David Burks
credit is due A. S. Croom for his vision, for his successful
operation of Arkansas Christian College for two years, for his
vision in seizing upon most of the faculty of Harper College in
order to move the Arkansas Christian College up to senior college
addition to his work in the founding of Harding College, Croom
served and worked with other colleges. He taught in Washburn College
in Topeka, Kansas. He served as the last president of Cordell
Christian College in Cordell, Oklahoma. In 1947 he took an active
part in getting Oklahoma Christian College started.
many years he wrote articles for many Christian papers such as the
Gospel Advocate, Christian Chronicle, Gospel Light, and others. He
authored several books, namely, "Christian and War" (1946), "Early
History of Harding College" (1954), "Man's Salvation by God's Grace"
(1973), and others.
Stevenson Croom died February 16, 1985, at Searcy, Arkansas. He was
survived by his wife, Margaret Price, one son, John Adley, and one
daughter, Sarah (Croom) Hatch.
Funeral service was conducted by Jimmy Allen at the College Church
of Christ in Searcy, Arkansas. Burial was in the
Oak Grove Cemetery
at Searcy, Arkansas.
Gussie Lambert, c.1988, pages 61-63
**According to the
Website, A.S. Croom never served as president of Harding, but
was only vice-president under J.N. Armstrong. According to family
members, and his grave marker he was Harding's 1st president. This
is perhaps explained because the Harding College name was not
introduced until 1924, two years after Croom had served as president
of what the school was known before, Arkansas Christian College, in
Morrilton, Arkansas. However, Croom's foresight and vision must not
be overlooked concerning the future of what would become Harding
College in Searcy, Arkansas.
Directions To The Grave Of A.S. Croom
A.S. Croom is buried in the Oak
Grove Cemetery in Searcy, Arkansas. Oak Grove is the oldest cemetery
in Searcy and is located in the north central part, near downtown.
If looking at a map, the location is on E. Moore. If traveling from
Main Street turn north on N. Horton and it will dead end into E.
Moore with the cemetery straight ahead. If entering the west
entrance of the cemetery. As you travel down, look to the left of
the road and note hearse entrances to the section. Go to the third
hearse entrance and stop the car. Begin looking to the left for the
grave about midway between the road and the cemetery's edge.
See Cemetery Map
N35º 15' 252" x WO 91º 43' 938"