Sunday, February 15, 2009

Incarcerating teenaged mothers

My mother was a social worker and especially loved her job when we lived in Natchez, Mississippi, and she worked in an unwed mothers' home (called Kings' Daughters). It's so interesting to me how times have changed. In those days, parents sent their unmarried teenaged daughters to a maternity home to have the baby so no one would know she'd been pregnant. When the baby was born, the mother would sign adoption papers and the baby was taken away. My mother used to say that the girls who held and cuddled their babies after they were born suffered the most when they gave them up.

Now times have changed so much that these homes for unwed mothers are viewed as prisons for teenagers forced to give up their babies against their will. I saw a website to help women who have been in these types of maternity homes find each other. My mother would have been horrified to see the title of the website:

This is for Women who are searching for others who were incarcerated in the same Maternity Home at the same time.


I found the name of a woman whose mother had been in the home my mother worked in and wrote her. She wrote back:

"I have done some research on the home and have been there a few times. I have letters that my Mother and Grandmother wrote to each other while she stayed there and I can tell you ... my Mom loved your Mother and her help was invaluable. She even had my Grandmother bring her some pecans from home. I tried to find some information on your Mom but didn't have much luck. Maybe you can let me know more about her. Regretfully, I wished I could have found here sooner. Just so you will know, I was not put up for adoption, my Mom, with much prayer and guidance from people like your Mother decided to raise me."

This all happened two weeks after my mother died. She would have loved to have known about this woman but it just happened too late.


rosezac said...

I live in Natchez MS. MY mother was a resident at Kings Daughters. Her name is Geraldine Derrick. I was born 02/02/1957. If anyone remembers her could you please contact me. My best friends aunt worked at Kings Daughters. Her name was Hattie. I would be most grateful if anyone has any information on Geraldine Derrick to please let me know. My e-mail address in

todd robison said...

i live in logan ohio. would like to know if the kings daughters home was the only like it in natchez miss in and around 1964. have an older half brother that was given away at birth . would like any info anyone could give. thanks my email is

Marta said...

My birth mother was a resident at the Kings Daughter Maternity home in Natchez in 1966-1967. I was put up for adoption after my January 1967 birth. I have visited the home once a few years ago when it was vacant. Fortunately i became friends with the woman in the original post whose mother kept her. We found each other in a search similar to this one. We have pieced together many events that took place back then and her mother and grandmother's letters that she shared with me have been priceless. I have never contacted my birthmother but I feel like i know her thanks to the letters that she wrote to my friend's mother. Her mother's memories have been so valuable as well.
My email contact is if anyone has any info to share.

Anonymous said...

My mother was sent to nachez to home for unwed mothers in 1967 gave birth to boy may 7-9 1967 their about I wish I knew if he was looking for his birth grandfather was in the army and mom was 20 and the birth father ran out on her.was at kings daughters in 1967.any info or if by chance know how to post to look for my brother would be great here name was Irene castlen long black hair,brown email just do not know how to start finding someone

dominique said...

I was born March 4, 1957 at Kings' Daughters, under the name of baby girl hall. If anyone has ant information please contact me.

dominique said...

I was born March 4, 1957 at Kings Daughters home for unwed mothers.If anyone knows how to contact Elizabeth that started the posting please let me known.
If you have any other information please contact me at

Casey Ann said...

Dominique, I have forwarded your comment to Elizabeth.

hope ellis said...

I am helping my good friend find his birth mother. He said he was adopted from Natchez Mississippi Home for Children and he was told his birth mother was at Natchez Miss. Maternity Home for Women. He was born on October 10, 1968. If you could help us with ANY INFORMATION we would really appreciate your help. I, too am adopted but have found my birth family and hope to help him find his. My email is