Julia Ann Tarrant Barron gave of her wealth and services for the
establishment of education and religious institutions.
Born in Abbeville, South Carolina, December 18,
1805, Julia's family was a part of the migration to claim and subdue Alabama
Territory. The Tarrants settled in the Elyton area of Jefferson County, where
Julia married William C. Barron, also a native of South Carolina. He was a
prosperous merchant and planter and opened one of the first stores in Marion in
1820. Julia was left a widow in 1832.
A member of Siloam Baptist Church, she gave the land on which the
building was constructed. She invited a group of potential leaders to her home
for a meeting which resulted in the establishment of the Judson College. Her
son, John Thomas, was one of the first nine "young ladies" in
attendance. Since he soon outgrew the girl's school, his mother was
instrumental in beginning Howard College, now known as Samford University. She,
in cooperation with the Baptist gentlemen who began Judson, again provided
funds to start the new college. John Barron was the first collegiate graduate
of Howard College in 1846.
She along with her pastor and Milo P. Jewett began The Alabama
Baptist, a newspaper for Alabama Baptists.
With the Civil War and the decline of the Marion economy, Julia Barron's
fortune was lost. At the laying of a cornerstone for Judson College in 1889,
she was described as a "white-winged messenger who blessed the schools
with her prayers, tears, time, and ample means."
Julia Barron's death on February 5, 1890, brought a flurry of obituary
editorials. One of them said, "Hers was a useful life, and her noble deeds
will continue to live in the memory of thousands of Christian people."
Her former pastor, William H. McIntosh, wrote, "It may truthfully be
said of her that her purse was the Lord's, and she held all that she possessed
in trust." He once asked her, after she was reduced to poverty, how she
felt about all the money she had given away. She replied, "I only wish I
had more to give."