Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Is anything in this article factually incorrect? Please submit a comment.

Printer-friendly page

Eureka College

by Michael R. Pelt, 2006

Image courtesy of Mount Olive College. Eureka College was established by the North Carolina Free Will Baptists in 1898 as the Free Will Baptist Theological College in Pitt County. A building large enough to accommodate the school was erected on Lee Street in Ayden. The school enrolled pupils in a primary department and offered several curricula for students in the "higher branches"—including a theological department for the training of future ministers. The institution was coeducational from the beginning and educated hundreds of students between 1898 and 1925. In addition to the courses of study offered, there was an emphasis on spiritual and moral instruction and on character development.

By 1918 enrollment at the school was declining, in part because of the rapid growth of high schools in rural eastern North Carolina, which led to the establishment of a college curriculum by 1925. In 1926 the board gave a new name to the institution-Eureka College. Enrollment remained low, however, and continuing economic troubles caused it to close in 1931.


Michael R. Pelt, A History of Original Free Will Baptists (1996).

Additional Resources:

Mount Olive College, Eureka College:

The Free Will Baptist, 1926:

Former College, NC Highway Historical Marker F-58:

Free Will Baptist Seminary, Free Will Baptist Press:

Howard Kester papers, 1923-1972, UNC Libraries:

Image Credit:

Image courtesy of Mount Olive College. Available from (accessed November 14, 2012).


Origin - location: 



Hi. I have found an amazing document, framed and dated from w.b. Everett in 1923 to a ms marie wilson for raising money to build future buildings for campus. It has a photo of the proposed campus and its seriously neat . id like for it to be where it could be appreciated but im not sure who to contact. Please send me an email of there is anyone that could help me.



If it is in your possession, you may try contacting the NC Museum of History ( or the State Archives of North Carolina (

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library


Gary Barefoot, OFWB Historical Collection, University of Mount Olive would love to add this to the collection!


to whom it may concern, my father walter benson attended eureka college. he is now in his seventies. my father's uncle was president of eureka college for several years. I am exploring my family history. I am walter benson's daughter angela benson. if you could email a list of past presidents of eureka college it would be very helpful. thank you for your help


Dear Angela,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and especially for taking the time to share your family's history and your research.

I have a few suggestions for collections and resources that you might want to consult.  Unfortunately, I do not find a readily available list or history online.

You may want to locate:

Pelt, Michael. 1983. A history of Ayden Seminary and Eureka College. [Mount Olive, N.C.?]: [Mount Olive College?]. The link I have included is to WorldCat. WorldCat is an online library catalog that searches the holdings of libraries around the world. I see that the item is in the collection of Mount Olive College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Michael Pelt was a professor at Mount Olive.  That book may be very helpful for you.

Please also see the essay for the NC Highway Historical Marker for "Former Colleges" -- The content of the essay may be helpful for you as well as the resources cited with the entry. You may want to contact researchers at the Office of Archives and History to inquire if they are aware of any additional information.

I hope this helps! I am also replying to the email address you included with your post.

Best wishes with your research,

Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at