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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.

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).




I don't know if you can help but maybe can suggest something..My Grandmother Leila Helen Vollers (adopted last name) supposedly remembers being on a train and waving to her sibling..I am assuming "The Orphan Train." I believe Leila lived at the Oxford Orphanage..Leila was born in 1899 and was adopted by Lewis Henry Vollers and Susan Vollers of Wilmington, N.C. They also adopted (a little bit later) Clayton John..they called him Johnny. Leila use to rock him at the orphanage and cried when the Vollers took her home first, without him...I think she was there somewhere between 1899 to 1910..I think she was old enough to remember being on the train so 1904-1905 actually being there. There is adoption on both sides of my maternal and paternal side..Dad was given to my grandfather..that's another "battle." Leila's life has always fascinated me, but alas she died in 1954, 2 years before I was born from a "broken heart." Her name was Leila Helen Vollers Chason Spencer born August 1899..Can one even obtain birth certificates from adoption...In this age of computer miracles is it even possible to trace her life..


Dear Susan,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia. Unfortunately, birth certificate did not become mandatory until 1913. I recommend looking at Census records to give you a better idea of when the child entered the household.

Francesca Evans, Government & Heritage Library


I made a donation to the Children's Home a few years ago and they in turn sent a book which was the history of the home during 1920 to 1942. I was here from 1927 to 1942. I would like to purchase another of this particular book. Can you help? Thank you. "


Was there a school at Mills Home, Thomasville, NC called Central School around 1896 or possibly established during that time period?””


Dear Delores,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia. I have forwarded your question to reference services at the NC Government & Heritage Library. A librarian will contact you shortly to try to help.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library


How can I find out the name of the first child at the Baptist Children's Home of NC? I think she was a distant relative of mine. I remember my grandmother taking about her, but I can't remember her name.


Dear Ms. Burns,

Thank you for this intriguing question. I would suggest contacting the State Archives. You can find their contact information here:

Best of luck with your research!

Mike Millner, NC Government & Heritage Library


I was there in the mid 50s. I hated it then but have come to thank God they were there.


My great grandmother was an orphan there and I remember when we would go the first Sunday in August to the big reunion ,it was such a joy to see everyone getting together ,my great grandmother has passed since then and my mom's family still goes every year and are going today.


My grandparents were employees at mills home in Thomasville nc from 1951-1972. They lived in a house on campus on Watson circle, she was a seamstress at the sewing room and he the groundskeeper. Their names were George Don and Minnie Dare Greer Campbell. The House was long ago demolished and nothing was ever put in its place. As a young boy I have many fond memories of spending the weekends with them and being involved in the church that was across the street from where their house was located. The reason for bringing all this up is there is a book that was published about the mills home alumni and the homecoming events that spans over a period of years with a lot of photos of them and others during their time with the home. This hardback book was available for purchase at a homecoming event around 15 years ago. My mother who lives in Thomasville have tried to get each of us a copy and was working with a lady named Lib at the time but it never happened but would still love to buy 2 copies if there are any left. Thank you for your consideration
Donny D. Campbell

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