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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Baptist Children's Homes

Durham Building, Baptist Orphanage, Thomasville, N.C.; postcard published by American News Co., New York, N.Y. From the North Carolina Postcard Collection, UNC Libraries. by Glenn Jonas, 2006

See Also: Free Will Baptist Children's Home

Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina, Inc., founded in 1885, is one of the largest residential child care facilities in the South. The idea to establish an orphanage was first brought before the North Carolina Baptist State Convention in 1884 but was rejected primarily because of the cost of such an enterprise, the existence of the Oxford Masonic Orphanage (which Baptists had helped organize), and the tendency among many North Carolina Baptists to reject any type of missionary efforts beyond the local church. Within a year, however, supporters of the idea had appointed John Haymes Mills as the first general superintendent and commissioned him with the task of raising money and finding a site. A site was selected in Thomasville, and the first resident of the Baptist Orphanage was admitted in 1885.

Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina, Inc., became an important ministry of the Baptist denomination, receiving a great deal of support from the North Carolina Baptist State Convention. In the early 2000s, the organization had 12 facilities throughout the state, aiding more than 1,200 children and their families through residential group care, crisis emergency care, maternity services for unmarried women, and other support programs.

Additional Resources:

Baptist Children's Home of North Carolina:

Image Credit:

Durham Building, Baptist Orphanage, Thomasville, N.C.; postcard published by American News Co., New York, N.Y. From the North Carolina Postcard Collection, UNC Libraries. Available from (accessed June 8, 2012).




My mother was in Thomasville orphanage sometime in 1940s probably 1945-1950. She has passed away now but I would like to know when she was there exactly. I am trying to trace family history for my grandchildren. Her brother and sisiter where also there. Any help would be appreciated.


Hi Sharon,

Thank you for visiting this article.

Here is the link to the website for the Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina --  They will be able to tell you if they have any records from Thomasville that you can access.

I am also connecting you by email with Reference Services at the N.C. Government & Heritage Library.  Genealogy librarians may also be able to suggest additional resources that are available to help you locate information.

Good luck and best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


How do I find the someone who was put in an orphanage in Thomasville, NC in early 1920-1929. I have his name and only know he was place in an orphanage because the family could not care for him. He lost an arm while at the orphanage. I am doing research on this family. I can submit more info if this is a source than could help me. Thanks for your consideration and help.


Hi Faye, I've just sent an email connecting you with Reference Services at the NC Government & Heritage Library. For additional information about Reference Services, please visit Someone in Reference Services will be in touch with you soon about your questions.


Emily Horton, Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

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