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Shelandra Y. Ford
Historical Markers of Shelby County

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Porter-Leath Children's Center

An orphan asylum founded by Sarah Leath was chartered in 1850 and moved to this site in 1856. After surviving the hardships of the Civil War years, the orphanage endured the scourge of the 1873 yellow fever epidemic. Since many children were orphaned during this period, additional capacity was needed. Responding to this crisis, in 1875 the Independent Order of Odd Fellows provided funds to erect another building. In 1904 the name Porter was added in recognition of the generosity of the Porter family. Porter-Leath continued to be an orphanage until 1969 when it became a multi-service agency to serve more children in need.