Leisy Orphan Aid Society (Kansas)
The Leisy Orphan Aid Society was incorporated in 1884 as the result of a $5,000 bequest by Jacob and Mary Strohm Leisy, of Halstead, Kansas. The Society was under the control of four General Conference Mennonite churches—First Mennonite Church (Halstead), First Mennonite Church of Christian (Moundridge), West Zion Mennonite Church (Moundridge), and Garden Township Mennonite Church. Leisy bought the 1950s "Orphan Farm" for $3,000, one and a half miles south of Halstead. Christian Krehbiel, under whose council the bequest was made and the foundation created, was in charge of handling the benefaction. The income from the Leisy Foundation was to be used to support orphan children within the confines of home missions. The orphans were not to be over 13 years old and were to be placed with Christian families.
In order to offer a wider circle of opportunities to share in this Christian service to children and to extend the aid to homeless children, another auxiliary organization, the Mennonite Orphan and Children's Aid Society, was incorporated on 4 October 1893, with 35 individuals and congregations in seven states as members who contributed $5 or $100 annually, which entitled them to vote and to life membership. Membership certificates to the number of 426 were issued. Later the two societies united. In addition a Mennonite Charité was incorporated at Halstead in 1908.
There were always 12-20 children in the Society Home coming from Chicago, Kansas City, and the state of Kansas, who were gradually distributed primarily in Mennonite homes. In the 20 years, 1914-1934, $8,789.60 was expended in aiding orphans. After World War I the Leisy Orphan Aid Society aided Mennonite orphans in Russia and Canada, and after World War II help was extended to Mennonite orphans in South America. The Society was still active in the 1950s. Most of the files have been preserved in the Mennonite Library and Archives, Bethel College (North Newton, KS).
Krehbiel, C. E. and P. P. Wedel. Fiftieth Anniversary of Leisy Orphan Aid Society. Halstead, KS, 1934.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 318. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Krahn, Cornelius. "Leisy Orphan Aid Society (Kansas)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1955. Web. 23 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/L4503.html.
APA style: Krahn, Cornelius. (1955). Leisy Orphan Aid Society (Kansas). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/L4503.html.