1862The Gloucester Fishermen’s and Seamen’s Widows and Orphans Aid Society was organized.People and Communities, Local Organizations, Women's History

Constitution of the Gloucester Fishermen’s and Seamen’s Widows and Orphans Aid Society, 1865. Courtesy of Gloucester City Archives, CC253, Box 61, FF 1
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After a severe February storm where many died at sea, Mr. Ripley Ropes of Salem mentioned to Joseph O. Proctor, the President of the Gloucester Mutual Fishing Insurance Company, that he would give $500 for the establishment of an organization that would serve widows and orphans of lost fishermen. A public meeting was called on March 20 to discuss the matter. Addison Gilbert was chosen as the Chairman of the committee. The committee tried different methods of raising money, including selling yearly memberships for $1 or deducting .5% from each fishing voyage.

A committee of women was chosen to assist in the work of charitable giving. Mrs. Joseph O. Proctor worked with the organization for 25 years and was in charge of distributing clothing and shoes to recipients. Generally, cash payments in the amount of either two or four dollars were given, and clothing was given on demand.

The society was incorporated on March 8, 1865.

Gloucester City Archives, CC253, Box 61, FF 1 “Unfolding Histories: Cape Ann before 1900 · Charity and Welfare” https://wayback.archive-it.org/11179/20181018194735/http://onlineexhibitions.capeannmuseum.org/s/unfoldinghistories/page/charityandwelfare
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