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Throughout the world - and over the years - several Grand Lodges have sponsored Children's Homes (formerly referred to as 'orphanages'). With changing involvement by government, some jurisdictions have closed the facilities that once served a very important role in society: helping to care for those who needed care most but who were shunned by society.Masonic Home for Children - North Carolina

The homes continue in some locations, though. North Carolina is a wonderful example. Since 1873, the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford has sought to provide, for deserving children in need, a program of holistic care which includes moral guidance, physical supervision, mental training, and medical intervention, to the end that each child is provided a well-rounded basis for wise decisions, including reuniting with family, as the child approaches adulthood and independent living.

Offering long term residential care financial assistance for higher education to children in North Carolina, it accepts children based on need and assistance "without discrimination as to race, color, national origin, sex, (or) religious denomination."

An Assistant Superintendent of the School, Rev. B. Patrick Cox writes this about its history:

"Oxford is the oldest Masonic institution in the United States occupying its original site. Prior to its founding as the Oxford Orphan Asylum in 1872, the property was home to St. John's College, a small, Masonic liberal arts college well known for its scholarly attributes. The storm clouds of war on the horizon across the old South in 1860 broke in its full fury in the spring of 1861. The calamity of The War Between the States effectively closed the college for the duration of the war. Another effort was made to reopen the school after hostilities ended; however, due to the large numbers of Confederate dead, the school was never able to operate successfully again. The property and the old St. John's building housing the college was closed and a caretaker appointed to tend the property.Oxford Graduates

During the early 1870's at the annual communication of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina in Raleigh many Masons questioned what could or should be done with the property. Meeting in 1872, the Grand Lodge was once more faced with the question. After discussion, debate, and a tie vote by the Grand Lodge, Grand Master John Nichols cast the deciding vote that established the Masonic charity that became known as Oxford Orphanage. In February 1873, the first superintendent, John H. Mills, welcomed the first of many thousands who have passed through the portals of Oxford and into Masonic care.

Today little remains of the original vision of North Carolina's Masons of the 19th century. Through their efforts the foundation was laid, but as in every generation the working tools of life have been passed from the old to the young. And like the children who have passed through the gates, the original idea has grown. Life under the oaks at Oxford continues to evolve and each new day brings change."

Oxford is indeed a monument to the caring concern of Freemasons in North Carolina and has been a blessing to the many children who have come into its halls. You can find out much more about the Home by pointing your browser here.

 

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