THE CHILDREN'S HOME
315 Gillespie Road
The history of the Children's Home in
Chattanooga, Tennessee, can be traced back to 1872 when a group of concerned
women began to rescue orphaned children. Their effort became known as the
Women's Christian Association. The organization continued to grow and a
larger facility was built on Vine Street in 1913. With the new building
came a new name: The Vine Street Orphans' Home. In 1939, it moved to
its present facility on Gillespie Road. In 1955, the name was changed to
Children's Home. In 1969, the facilities changed to the Children's
Home Extended Care program. In 1983, the Children's Home contracted with
Hamilton County government to provide emergency shelter for children and then
became known as the Children's Home/Chambliss Shelter as it is operated today.
(Excerpts taken from the Children's Home/Chambliss Shelter
This page of the Bonny Oaks website is dedicated to the Children's Home in
Chattanooga, Tennessee, or, as we called it "Vine Street". Many
of the Bonny Oaks children came from Vine Street when they reached junior high
school age as Vine Street only took infants and children up to age 12 or so. Some of
the Bonny Oaks children had siblings who remained there while they lived at
Bonny Oaks. Thus we always considered Vine Street as our
"sister" children's home.
On a recent visit to Vine Street, James Ellis and I met with Gloria Miller,
Director of Records, and Mrs. Paulette Acord, Director of Volunteer
Services. Ms. Miller and Mrs. Acord were extremely kind and helpful
to us. Ms. Miller opened the boxes of newspaper articles and
photographs from it's children's home days and gave permission for them to be
scanned for this website. The next day, James Ellis and I carried computer
equipment and set up at Vine Street for a full day of scanning. James was
immensely helpful and deserves a lot of credit for hanging in there to help in researching
everything in the boxes. Thank you James Ellis!
The first picture we picked up to scan was a group photo of children around 1958/1959 which had myself in it and, to my surprise, my sister, my two brothers. You may see other Bonny Oaks friends of yours
in the pictures when they
were very young too. Actually, I was quite surprised to find many Bonny Oaks
children whom I knew very well at Bonny Oaks yet never realized or remembered
that they were at Vine Street during the years I was there because we were so
young at the time.
Children's Home effectively ended it's dedicated mission as a home for children
in 1969. This page only addresses it's tenure as a children's home.
The Children's Home was never a county operated home like Bonny Oaks.
These newspaper clippings and photographs would not have been available to us
without the consent of Ms. Miller (pictured left) and we are deeply indebted and grateful to
HERE TO VIEW THE PICTURE INDEX
OF VINE STREET
Emails regarding Vine Street:
July 7, 2014
I thought you would like to receive the latest photo of Larry and me at the
"Pickens County Senior Citizens Center" in Jasper, Georgia. The Site
Manager, Kimberly Bolt, took a group shot of all the seniors that showed up
for the 4th of July Party. I hope you can see both of us. We are standing
in the very back. Take Care! Sincerely, Roy Lee Dunn
January 30, 2014
I am doing family history research on my husband's
side. His grandmother, Ella Bernard, was sent to live
at Vine Street Orphan's Home as a child or teen, but we
do not know how old she was or what year, but think it
may have been around 1880. She apparently ended up
working at Vine Street in her late teens. She was
listed as a "cook" at Vine Street in the Chattanooga
Directory in 1889 and in 1891 she was listed in the City
Directory as the "Assistant Matron. Ella Bernard's
birth name was Marguerite Elaine Bernard, but apparently
she used Ella as her first name. Family records
indicate that Ella's mother died very young and that
Ella was sent to Vine Street after her father's
remarriage or death".
Do you have any records of children or teens who lived at
Vine Street in the period from 1875-1891? Would you have any
information about her parents from the records? Her father
was Charles Bernard and her mother, we think, was Virginia
We know what happened to Ella because she married my husband's
grandfather, William Crouch and they moved to Minnesota. But we
know almost nothing about Ella's parents. And that is the reason I
am hoping there may be some records about Ella's parents (my
husband's great-grandparents) In the Vine Street records.
Thank you for your help, if possible!
|April 22, 2013
is a real treat for the website.
Click on underlined link below to read Roy's writings about the Children's
Lee Dunn grew up at the Children's Home on Gillespie Road in Brainerd,
Chattanooga 1951 - 1965. He has written some of his memories for us. It's
a great insight into his childhood in a children's home, in Roy Lee's own
words. Please take the time to read and you'll see how important it is to
write your memories, some of Roy Lee's memories were some of mine too at the
Children's Home...the Christmas' efforts of the home for the children, and
even when the maintenance man passed away in his room at the home....I had
been there maybe a few months when Otis died and I remember it still. Thank
you Roy Lee, I hope others will be moved to send in their memories from the
Children's Home and Bonny Oaks too! Christine Haven
Roy Lee's email address
Click here to read Roy Lee Dunn's
"Memories" of his days at the Children's Home (Vine Street) Orphanage 1951 -
Click to enlarge
Larry Dunn (left)
Roy Lee Dunn (middle)
Nancy Jane Dunn (right)
Nancy Jane Dunn-Floyd 11/8/1944 - 9/15/2012
Nancy Dunn, Vine Street, passed away today at the age of 67 in
Pensacola Florida due to cancer. Her brother, Roy Lee Dunn
called to let us know. All our prayers and condolences to the Dunn
Rest in Peace Nancy.
||Roy Lee Dunn - Vine Street 1951 - 1965
Roy found the www.bonnyoaks.org
website and remembers many of the Vine Street children he grew up and wants
to hear from you. Roy attended Brainerd Jr. & Sr. Highs about
1960-1965. Roy was born in 1948 and lives in Powder Springs Georgia
today. He has sent his personal photographs and would love to hear
from you. Just click on the link below and it will bring up his photo
"Thanks to Roy for all your patience in getting this on the website,
hope you hear from lots of old friends"
CLICK HERE TO SEE
ROY'S PHOTO ALBUMs
Hello Bonny Oaks/Vine Street:
We have been searching for our uncle Thomas Odel TUCKER born March 1919
in Muhlenburg, KY. He is found in the 1920 Lauderdale County, TN
census with his Maternal Aunt "PARKER" & Uncle "DURHAM" sometime in the
1920's he and two girl cousins (PARKER) were taken to the "Vine
The girls went back to live with family, but "Odel"
stayed and was adopted. Can you help us trace the life of Odel TUCKER?
Mary in AZ
||Email from Phillip, Ringgold Georgia: "My name is
Phillip and my mom (1945-1952) was adopted from the Vine Street Orphanage.
They were adopted by Bill and Margorie Balinger. Would like to find my
||Hi Christine, I have someone looking in those
areas you suggested. I know that Mom Della went back to Tennessee
several years before I became part of the family to get a copy of her
birth certificate and they had quite a time as they were told many of the
records were burned in a fire (courthouse). We were hoping that by
posting our search for her sister on the webpage that if the sister looks
at the website and sees it she may contact us. I have several
papers that Mom D. gave me copies of from when she had to hire a lawyer
just to get the birth certificate in order to obtain her
passport. There is a letter signed by Sally Kate Jackson
from The Children's Home dated January of 1999. She sent a page
titled "Register of Children in Vine Street Orphans' Home"
and they are filled out in hand showing her date of entry and exit
when she was adopted by the George's. There is a notation on the
bottom regarding the sister. I think this is the first time Mom D.
knew she even had a sibling.
I looked back on the webpage and printed off some of the photos for her.
There was one of a 3 story house and I am thinking this is where she would
have been taken. If I am incorrect would you please help me know a
little clearer history for the Vine Street Orphanage so I can give her
this information? Thank you for your time and attention.
||Hi Christian, My first advice is to read the "To
Register" page of the www.bonnyoaks.com
website. It has instructions for tracing records through the
juvenile system of Chattanooga but "adoptions" questions are
supposed to be directed to the Nashville Tennessee departments. I
cannot check those pages from my office at work but could tonight when I
get home. Just thought I'd point you in that direction in case
you're hoping for a quick answer this morning. My records are
not extensive as you are needing. I will write more tonight.
Always, Christine Haven
||Good morning, my name is Christian Matlock and I am trying
to help my mother-in-love find her sister. Her name is Della
Matlock. She was born Mary Skidmore on June 4, 1932 and taken to the
Vine Street Orphanage at that time. The name of parents on her birth
record are Mary Skidmore and James Cunningham. She was moved into
the home of Kelly and M. Grace George on July 28, 1934 and the
adoption became finalized in 1935. Her sister was born
November 5, 1933 with the name of Mildred Joyce Skidmore (there is a
possibility it could say Fuller) as there isn't real clarity on whether
the dad is the same as it was for Mary. Mildred was brought to the
orphanage on November 7, 1933. Her parents of record are Mary
Skidmore and the father's name could be either James (there is thought
records may have recorded the first name as John) Cunningham or it could
be M. Fuller. She was adopted from the home in October (led to
believe it was on the 6th) 1934 by a Mr. & Mrs. Fred Mayfield of
Pikeville Tennessee. Since Della, growing up, always
celebrated her birthday on the 3rd of June she thinks that Mildred's birth
date may be celebrated different as well. She
would love to find this sister whom she's never met but loved from the
time she discovered she had. We, her children would love to give her
this gift as well. If you have any ideas of where we can continue
the search or if you can allow Della to be able to post something on the
website she would be ever grateful. She doesn't have a computer and
therefore has asked me to use my email address as her contact. I
appreciate your time in reading and pondering this request.
Blessings to you,
Brenda S. Miller
Vine Street 1949-1955
Message: "I was in the Vine Street
Orphanage from 1949 to 1955. I would like to see if I could get any
records regarding my stay there. My name at the time was Brenda S.
Miller. I was born in September 1945. My mother and father are
now both deceased. They were Nora Ruth Benson Miller and Fred J.
Miller. I would appreciate hearing from you. I am searching
for Lynn Golden. I am living in Tangerine Florida today. Thank
you. Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Bonny Oaks 1952
Vine Street 1944-1952
Message: "Hi, I'm
Bonnie Jean Bools (Hagan). I'm now 66 years old. (I AM?). I
live in Joplin, MO. I've just been on the Bonny Oaks site, clicked
on Vine Street site and read the email from Mary Alyce Adams. I was
at Vine Street from 1944 til 1952. I don't remember Mary Alyce, but
she may remember some of the girls I remember. I would LOVE to hear
from some of them like Nancy Goins, Melinda Williams, Patricia Shell and
others. I was also at Bonny Oaks and remember how nice Mr. Adamson
was. Unfortunately, I got put in with an older roommate who was
planning to run away. She did so almost a year later with 3 other
girls, taking me with them insured my silence. My life has been
pretty good-not too much to complain about! I was just thinking
about my life, and that last statement is just too hilarious!! But,
I have fun! Send this on, if you please, thanks, Bonnie."
You can email Bonnie at email@example.com
||Mary Alyce Adams (Reels)
Vine Street: 1949 to 1951 (2.5 years)
Message: Mary lives in North Carolina today. If you want to
contact her, send me an email and I will clear the address for you (Chris
at firstname.lastname@example.org )
||Patricia A. Morgan (Dunsha
Smith) and sister, Betty Morgan
Message: "Resident of Vine Street Orphanage approximately 1953
when I was approximately 1 to 2 years of age! I have searched for
this website for a long time but was unable to find it in the past.
I had many brothers and sisters. One of my sisters came to the Vine
Street Orphanage with me. We were later adopted and moved to East
Tennessee. We would love to find pictures of the two of us from our
stay there since we do not have any! My name was Patricia Morgan at
that time. My sister's name was Betty Morgan. I stayed at Vine
Street approximately one year. Other brothers and sisters who were
older went to the Bachman Home and they have wonderful memories of that
place. I would love to be in contact with anyone who was there when
I was in the early 1950's! Thanks!"
|Father and Mother unknown but
I am looking for aunts, uncles, step-siblings, and biological relatives.
Message: "I was born 06/23/59 and was
placed at Vine Street Orphanage in 09/59, so I was only about 3 months old
when I first arrived there (09/1959 to 01/1962). My given name while
I was there was Margaret Alice. Last name is unknown. The only
information I have is that my Biological grandfather was a Baptist
preacher and that he came to visit me often while I was there and that my
biological mother had six siblings (mixture of brothers and sisters) and
she was the 4th born of these. I was also told that her oldest
brother had died. I read in the little bit of information that was
in the adoption papers that my biological mother may have been a
hairdresser's apprentice. Rebecca McCracken was the caseworker for
the adoptive parents.
If anyone has even the slightest memory of anything they feel may be
related to, or of help, to me to the information I have stated here,
PLEASE DON'T HESITATE TO CONTACT ME! You can email me through
Patricia at this address email@example.com
ANYTHING you may have to say on this matter would be tremendously
appreciated! Sincerely, Margaret C.A. Shepherd
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