The now and then postings of the discoveries and contributions of the Miller and Bechtold families .

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mexico Orphan's Home

Philanthropy of our GG Grandfather Levi Miller

Orphans and Widows Home 

Becomes large modern nursing residence "Timbercrest"

About 1889 Levi P. Miller, one of the early settlers of Jefferson 
township and a devout member of the German Baptist church, donated 
a site and erected a building near Mexico for an "Old Folks' and 
Orphan Children's Home," on condition that the churches of his 
denomination in what is known as the Middle District of Indiana sup- 
port the institution. When the home was first opened the old folks 
and children were kept together, but it was soon discovered that the 
playfulness of the young ones was sometimes annoying to the elder 
inmates, or that the sedateness of the old served to check the natural 
tendency of the children to amuse themselves. Other buildings were 
therefore erected so that the homes are kept separate, though under the 
same management. Orphans are received from a number of counties 
in central and northern Indiana and are well cared for at the home, at 
a charge of twenty-five cents per day for each child, until suitable 
homes can be found for them. The institution is under the control of 
a board of five directors, selected by the German Baptist church, and 
for a number of years Rev. Frank Fisher has held the position of 
superintendent. Mr. Fisher publishes a paper called The Orphan, 
which has a large circulation in Indiana and adjoining states. Although 
the home is not, strictly speaking, a charitable institution in the sense 
that it dispenses alms or aid in a general way, it has done a great work 
in finding homes for orphan children and in caring for old people, who 
might otherwise have become a charge upon the county.

MEXICO ORPHANS HOME [Mexico, Miami County]
The editor of the Macy Monitor recently visited the orphans' home at Mexico which is conducted by Rev. Frank Fisher. He was favorably impressed with the excellent management everywhere manifest. The Monitor says: "He has children there from almost everywhere, and is fortunate in finding them homes. The work that is being done there stands at the head of philanthropic enterprises and is justified from a business standpoint by the fact that it is self-supporting. The home was started by the munificence of Levi Miller, a well-to-do farmer who lives in that neighborhood, and contains sixteen acres. There has been added since, fifteen acres, which gives work to all the children during the summer. It is an ideal place for children who are left alone in the world. At present there are forty children. there."
[Rochester Sentinel, Tuesday, October 30, 1900]

The Mexico Orphans Home reports the following Fulton County children in the Home: Daisy Kershner; Alfred, Fern, Burdell and Fred Gray; and Clara and Fred White.
[Rochester Sentinel, Thursday, May 16, 1907]

Peru, Ind., Nov. 12 - The Mexico Welfare Home, operated by the Church of the Brethren for more than 50 years, will no longer care for orphaned children and in the future will be used only as a home for elderly persons. This change was made effective today and more than 25 orphans who were in the institution were placed in private homes in Miami and adjoining counties.
The welfare law enacted by the state legislature several years ago makes provisions for the support of homeless children. Since the law went into effect more children are being placed in private homes and there has been a large decrease in the number of applicants at orphan homes thruout the state.
The Mexico institution was founded in 1888 by Levi P. Miller, and a few years later an Old Folks Home was established there. As many as 175 children have been enrolled at the orphan Home. Miss Mary South is the present superintendent.
Rev. Frank Fisher, 85, who was superintendent of the Welfare Home for 35 years, now is a resident there, having his own cottage.
The News-Sentinel, Thursday, November 12, 1942]


  1. I was wondering if Bechtold family could be related to Hannah Bechtol? I have an ancestor, Lewis Philips, who married her in Fairfield Co., Ohio in the 1840's. They moved to Wabash Co., In. in1848. Some of her family also moved with them. Thank You, Belinda Armstrong

  2. Since 1968 the Timbercrest Home, now Timbercrest Senior Living Center, is located in North Manchester, Indiana.