Photo Friday: Calling the Children Home

The Mt. Carmel Faith Orphanage was established by a Brethren in Christ couple in the early years of the twentieth century, and remained in operation until the 1970s. (Courtesy of the Brethren in Christ Historical Library and Archives)

On Thursday, my wife and I flew from Philadelphia to Chicago, Illinois. Over the next few days, we’ll spend time with some of Katie’s family and friends in and around the Rockford, Ill., area.

Given our jaunt to the Land of Lincoln, I thought it might be appropriate to make today’s Photo Friday installment Illinois-specific. Thus, today we feature the Mt. Carmel Faith Missionary Training Home and Orphanage, a Brethren in Christ institution in Whiteside County, Illinois.

Commonly called the Faith Home, the orphanage was established by the Rev. Abram G. Zook and his wife.

Here’s some background:

On March 1, 1900, the home was dedicated. The first orphan arrived in April from Chicago, to be followed by 11 more from the same city. …

[The orphanage] was taken over as a project by the Brethren in Christ [General] Conference in 1912. Dedicated workers labored hard for its success.

The first worker to join [Rev.] and Mrs. Zook at the orphanage was Miss May L. Donaldson. She was a teacher at the Franklin School during the term 1899-1900 and remained for the dedication of the home. The meeting lasted for several days in a tent across from the newly-opened refuge. Diphtheria broke out and a quarantine was imposed; it lasted for several weeks. Miss Donaldson remained to help care for the children. The first year was made more difficult by the epidemic. One of the children in the home died as did a daughter of [Rev.] and Mrs. Zook.

To read more about the orphanage (and to scroll through a registry of the deceased buried in the nearby Zook Graveyard), click here.


About Devin Manzullo-Thomas

Father to Lucas. Husband to Katie. Prof and administrator at Messiah College. PhD student at Temple University. Member of Grantham BIC.
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8 Responses to Photo Friday: Calling the Children Home

  1. dorothy gish says:

    Were you and Katie able to visit the site. When did it close?

    • Devin says:

      Unfortunately, we didn’t have the chance to visit on this trip out, but I hope to in the future. The orphanage closed in 1968, when the congregation moved from Franklin Corners to Morrison, where it continues in operation today.

  2. George areEdrington says:

    I was a child at the home in the 60’s. My brothers and sisters also lived there. Iona Lee, Riley Ray, Harley Dale, Mona Mae, Sherwood Thomas Edrington.

    George Elden Edrington

    • sheri says:

      Dear George: Saw what you had to say. I was a child at the home too in the late 50’s. My other brothers and I were there. Sheri, Jim, Mike & Jack. .

  3. Interesting…. I was one of those in the waiting in the year 1940. State took me away from my parents, put me up for adoption. Coming from a family of 14, several of my brothers & sisters were also in the home when I was for a short time. Was adopted out , in the hands of social worker & adoption coordinator , a Mrs. Allen. Was born Nov. 4 , 1939 & officially adopted out & placed into a home around Christmas time of 1940.

  4. Ronald Sharp Sr says:

    I also had some cousins there from May 20, 1948 till May 7, 1953. Ray, Roy, Bonnie and Stanford Sharp. Their dad was killed in Okinawa during WW II.

  5. Ronald Helms says:

    How would I find the census/children’s names in the home during the time, 1938 -1942? Am looking for the childrens last names, Ingram.

  6. Linda Hines says:

    My mother and her siblings were placed there when my mom was around 7 lived there until she was 14. Tom. Judy. Shirley. And Bill Harding would love to know more about what it was like to live there as a child. Mom talked about it some but not much

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