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644 James B. Hunt Dr.
Mount Olive, NC 28365
(919) 658-7869
644 James B. Hunt Dr., Mount Olive, NC 28365 | (919) 658-7869

Free Will Baptist Historical Collection

Ayden Sminary Building

Ayden Seminary (1898-1925)

(click on picture for original size)

Ayden Ministerial Students 1912-13

Ministerial Students, 1912-13

First Row: M.C. Prescott, Nettie Harris, J.E. Wooten, A.L. Sellars
Second Row: J.C. Griffin, S.H. Styron, R.R. Jones, Christian Hanzelman (German), N.D. Wiggs, W.B. Everett
Third Row: Luke Wetherington, Lemie Hopkins, Floyd Harris (not son of Rev. Charlie Jackson Harris), D.W. Alexander, L.L. Smith, J.C. Moye

Ayden Class of 1919

Class of 1919

Top Row: Wardie Woodard, H. Leroy Harris, M.H. Mellette, Jamie Prescott, A.M. Godwin, R.N. Hinnant
Bottom Row: Reba Loftin, Bertha Hart, Bert Moye Burnette, Flora Waller, Margaret Woodard, Glennie Nobles and Fanny Wellons

Photo circa 1914-17

Photo circa 1914-17

First Row (Bottom): Ray Jones, Dennis Alexander, Coley Prescott, D.C. Griffin, Larry Smith, Jack Tripp
Second Row: E.L. Hill, John William Sawyer (child), J.C. Moye, S.H. Styron, Elbert Prescott, Gurney Smith, M.C. Prescott, A.L. Sellars
Third Row (Top): Prof. J.E. Sawyer, Arthur Biggs, Arthur Jones, Jack Hooten, Robert Swain, Johnnie Sasser, Alton Rowe, Floyd Harris, J.E. Wooten, N.D. Wiggs

  • J.E.B. Davis—1898
  • Thomas E. Peden—1898-1910
  • J.E. Sawyer—1910-1917
  • R.B. Lee—1922-1924
  • C.E. Prescott—1924-1925

1905 Annual Catalogue of the Officers and Students

(Click on picture for original size)


Ayden 1905 Catalogue Cover

Part 1

Ayden 1905 Catalogue Pt1

Part 2

Ayden 1905 Catalogue Pt2

Part 3

Ayden 1905 Catalogue Pt3

Part 4

Ayden 1905 Catalogue Pt4

College Trustees & Faculty

Ayden 1905 Catalogue Trustees & Faculty

Picture of Dr. James Hemby and Mr. Wendell Prescott unveiling the marker, April 5, 1995
(click on picture for original size)

Former Colleges

Two church-affiliated schools were once located in Ayden. Carolina Christian College, founded by Disciples of Christ and a predecessor of Barton College in Wilson, operated 4/10 mile northeast from 1893 to 1903. Free Will Baptists in 1896 founded Ayden Seminary 4/10 mile southeast. Later known as Eureka College, it closed in 1929. In 1951 the Free Will Baptists established University of Mount Olive in Mount Olive.

This marker was erected in the center of the town of Ayden, on the north side of NC 103 (Third Street) at its intersection with West Avenue between the Town Hall and the railroad tracks.

  • Free Will Baptists founded the Free Will Baptist Theological Seminary in 1896 in Ayden, N.C. to train ministers. A charter was granted by the state of North Carolina to the Free Will Baptist Seminary and was later referred to as Ayden Seminary or as the Free Will Baptist Seminary at Ayden. The first pupil enrolled in 1898.
  • In February 1926, the Board of Trustees gave a new name to the institution: Eureka College.
  • The Seminary closed in 1929. The property was offered to the North Carolina State Convention to be used as a home of the Free Will Baptist Orphanage and Bible School.
  • On November 4, 1931, the new main building of the Eureka College was destroyed by fire.


Pelt, Michael R. A History of Original Free Will Baptists. Mount Olive, NC: University of Mount Olive Press, 1996

Moye Library, University of Mount Olive, 2017