Copyright notice

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.

Printer-friendly page

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 Grandmother and her siblings lived at an orphanage in Durham at 1105 Main Street around 1919-1920 as their parents went through a bad divorce. I would love to find out what orphanage that was and if I could get any records.


My grandmother Winifred Sails and her sister Helen were in a orphanage near Wilmington NC around 1933. I have no idea if this is it but I remember she got a news letter that helped her keep in contact with the kids they grew up with. If anyone recognizes them. I would love any info I can get! Thanks!


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. "


Are you referring to Mills Home in Thomasville? If so, I might be able to help.

Jimmy Rochelle, Secretary
Mills Home Alumni Association


I would love a copy of it also! I just discovered that relatives lived there in 1940, Alice and Beulah Mae Perry. I'm trying to build my family tree, and it seems there were a lot of adoptions on the Perry side. It really makes it difficult when your tracing your roots!
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.

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at