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Kenrick A.Claflin & Son

The Massachusetts Humane Society – A Short History

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The Massachusetts Humane Society – A Short History

The Massachusetts Humane Society was organized in 1787 and is generally considered to be the predecessor to the U. S. Life-Saving Service.
The Merrimack Humane Society was organized in 1802.
The Massachusetts Humane Society, was one of the first organizations to establish and supply early “Life Saving Stations” in the United States and from their very beginning awarded “Premiums“ for acts of heroism involving the saving of life at sea and along the coast of Massachusetts. Soon its “sister” organization, the Merrimack Humane Society was formed to focus on the Newburyport – Plum Island area and northeast coast.
Even after the establishment of the U.S. Life Saving Service in the post Civil War years, the Humane Society continued to provide support and equipment to its members who constituted a “coastal volunteer crew” as well as maintaining “shelter huts” along deserted stretches of the coast for the use of shipwreck victims who has washed ashore far from human habitations. Besides providing equipment and training of volunteer Life-Saving crews along the Massachusetts coast, the Humane Society awarded Life Saving Medals and cash “Premiums” to those who risked their own lives to help passengers and crewmembers of shipwrecks in their area.
The Massachusetts Humane Society still exists – today, The Humane Society carries on the mission envisioned by its founders. It recognizes those who voluntarily risk their lives to save others and seeks to prevent accident, injury and death, primarily on the waters.