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Home North Carolina Wake County City of Raleigh Historical Markers Fannie E. S. Heck 1862-1915

Fannie E. S. Heck 1862-1915

Blount Street at North Street, Raleigh, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 47' 4.8552", -78° 38' 10.2012"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Social activist; writer. Led the Baptist Woman's Missionary Union after 1892. A benefactor of present Meredith College. Lived in this house"
     Fannie Heck devoted her life to religious work. Born in Virginia to Mattie and Jonathan Heck, a Confederate lieutenant colonel, she was given the inauspicious middle name of Exile. She later adopted the name Scudder. After the war her family settled in Raleigh and built the manor now known as the Heck-Andrews House. She joined the First Baptist Church, engaging in her first mission work, and attended Hollins Institute.

     In 1886 the Baptist State Board of Missions agreed to allow women to organize for mission work. Fannie Heck, age twenty-four, was asked to preside over the Woman’s Central Committee of Missions. She would lead the North Carolina organization until her death in 1915. The Central Committee was permitted by the state board to join the Southern (later national) Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) in 1888 and Heck was elected president of that body in 1892. In terms of varying lengths, she would lead the national organization for fifteen years. Fannie Heck is considered to be the predominant force behind the WMU’s philosophies and ministries. Carol Crawford Holcombe, a Texas Baptist University professor, claims that the WMU’s emphasis on social service can be attributed entirely to Heck, who taught that social service was “an intrinsic part of the missionary enterprise.”

     Fannie Heck was among the founders of the Woman’s Missionary Union Training School (now Carver School of Missions and Social Work) in Louisville, Kentucky, and a benefactor of North Carolina’s Baptist Female University (now Meredith College) and helped form the Woman’s Executive Committee of that school. She was the author of numerous books, pamphlets, and articles, including In Royal Service (1913), Everyday Gladness (1915), and Sunrise and Other Poems (1916). Fannie Heck died August 15, 1915, and is buried in Raleigh's Oakwood Cemetery.

Catherine B. Allen, Laborers Together With God: 22 Great Women in Baptist Life (1987)
Dorothy Allred, And So Much More: Living Legacies of North Carolina Women of Mission (2002)
Ethlene Boone Cox, Following His Train (1938)
Mary Lynch Johnson, A History of Meredith College (1956)
Foy Johnson Farmer, Hitherto: History of North Carolina Woman’s Missionary Union (1952)
Mrs. W. C. James, Fannie E. S. Heck: Study of Hidden Springs in a Rarely Useful and Victorious Life (1939)
Mark Wingfield, “Scholar Traces Influence of WMU on Baptists' Social Ministries,” in Baptist Standard, March 27, 2000, available at: http://www.baptiststandard.com/2000/3_27/pages/wmu.html
Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives: http://www.sbhla.org/bio_fheck.htm

StoppingPoints.com Editorial on Fannie E. S. Heck 1862-1915:
The Fannie Heck House is located at 309 Blount Street and is one of the nation's most beautiful Victorian / Second Empire Style houses.
Among the first grand residences built in Raleigh after the Civil War, the Heck-Andrews House set the tone for the subsequent development of North Blount Street as an enclave of the well-to-do. Industrialist Jonathan McGee Heck had the towering Second Empire house constructed for his wife Mattie in 1869 on what was then the edge of town. Heck was born in western Virginia in 1831. A Confederate officer early in the Civil War, he was captured but subsequently paroled. Heck then turned to manufacturing armaments for the Confederacy, an activity that seeded his fortune. After the war, Heck expanded his wealth through real estate sales and development. It was his wife, however, who pursued the purchase of the Blount Street lot.
During the war, Mattie Heck and her children had led a nomadic existence. In 1866, the family secured a plantation in Warren County, but rural life did not agree with Mrs. Heck. With the purchase of the one-acre lot in Raleigh, the capital city became the Hecks' permanent home. On July 22, 1869, Raleigh builders Wilson and Waddell were contracted to erect a three story house, with tower, slate and french roof, all materials to be of the very best, and to be put up in the very best manner. The building's architect was G. S. H. Appleget, who also designed the Andrews-Duncan house just across North Street, and Shaw University's Estey Hall.
Life at the house was opulent and active. Photographs show the interior lavishly decorated in the style of the day, with heavy draperies, lace curtains, mahogany furniture and plush carpets. Eight of the Hecks' 12 children were born at the house. One daughter, Fannie, grew to national prominence as president of the Women's Missionary Union from 1890 until her death in 1915.
Jonathan Heck died in 1894. In 1916, Mattie Heck deeded the house to daughter Mattie Heck Boushall. In 1921, the house was acquired by prominent Raleigh attorney A. B. Andrews, Jr. who had grown up in the Andrews-Duncan house across the street. He is said to have bought the property for his wife, Helen, who sadly died before their move was completed. Andrews moved in nonetheless, frequently entertaining at the house, escorting guests to the top of the four-story tower to view the changing Raleigh skyline. After Andrews' death in 1946, the house experienced a period of decline. In 1987, the state government, which had acquired most of the other large residences on Blount Street as office space, secured controlling interest in the house. Recent stabilization measures have included complete refurbishment of the exterior. Plans are now under development for an adaptive use of the interior of this designated Raleigh Historic Landmark.
Related Themes: C.S.A., Confederate States of America, Confederacy
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Fannie E. S. Heck 1862-1915 Historical Marker Location Map, Raleigh, North Carolina