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Farmhouse built 100 years ago serves families today

The Moody family farmhouse was built in 1917 by the father of May Beryl and Nora F. Moody on the foundation of the original home which burned. The sisters’ father purchased 980 acres and managed livestock and farmed to raise his family. Over time, some acreage was sold, and today the Macon County Airport sits across from the farmhouse on a large tract of land that was once Moody property.

The farmhouse is located in the beautiful Iotla Valley. There are several buildings and a barn adjacent to the house. Miss May Beryl willed the farmhouse and surrounding property to Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) after her passing in July 1980.

Miss Nora conceded her interests in the property to BCH and lived in the home until her passing and then the farmhouse came to BCH.

It is said that May Beryl wanted to “collect land” during her lifetime. And that is what she did. The elementary school teacher at her death had more than 300 acres titled in her name. The largest portion was original Moody family land –– the farmhouse sits in the middle of 100 acres of pasture land. The rest of the property is wooded and rises out of the valley.

Miss Nora, who also was a teacher, said that it was Miss May Beryl’s dream to see the property used to benefit the children of western North Carolina after her death. The sisters touched hundreds of children’s lives as educators in Macon County.

In 1984, BCH made plans to build a children’s residential cottage on the property, extending its ministry reach deep into the far western area of North Carolina.

When the capital campaign to raise $500,000 began in 1984, BCH president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell said: “There has long been a need for a specialized childcare facility in the far western reaches of our state. The vision that Miss May Beryl had in her lifetime, and that her sister, Miss Nora Moody, continues to have, is an inspiration to all of us who will be involved in the campaign to raise the half million dollars.”

The first residential cottage, Moody Home, was constructed to meet the needs of teen girls and opened in 1988. It is now a Family Care home serving single moms and their children. Family Care helps mothers transition to successful, independent living.

A second home for teen boys, Drake Cottage, was built and opened in 2001. It continues to serve as a group home for boys.

In commemoration of Moody Farmhouse’s centennial, the building was renovated and now is home to BCH’s Moody Home Ministries administration offices and the offices and training facilities for BCH’s western area Foster Care Program. BCH foster care families provide family living care for the child(ren) who cannot reside with family or a legal custodian.

The upstairs bedrooms are used for overnight staff members who travel for trainings as well as for foster care parents who are trained on site. There are plans to use bedrooms as needed by Western Carolina University students who participate in HOMEBASE. HOMEBASE is a new outreach for college students who have aged out of foster or residential care.

“It is because of the vision of these two sisters that the Moody Ministries and Moody Farmhouse continue to impact lives,” BCH’s statewide director, child/residential services Linda Morgan said. “It is an amazing story of love that will continue to go on and on.”

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