The Humane Society in Glens Falls, Sandy Hill,
Fort Edward and South Glens Falls*
The Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society (based in Schenectady, Albany, and Troy) held a meeting on October 27, 1905 to consider organizing a branch in the Glens Falls Area. A committee was formed to act on forming this organization, and Dr. T. H. Foulds was elected chairman.
On November 12th, the organization was established to represent the Glens Falls, Sandy Hill (Hudson Falls), South Glens Falls, and Fort Edward Region. It was to be named the Department of the North of the Mohawk and Hudson Valley Humane Society. It was also later referred to as the Mohawk and Hudson Valley Humane Society of the North. Dr. Foulds was elected president. Of the fifteen board members, prominent community names such as Abbott, Barber, Wing, Williams, Peck, Ingalsby, Robertson, and Keefe appeared. Work began immediately to obtain a permanent charter.
At the December 27, 1905 meeting, it was decided to hire a secretary, a Mrs. W. M. Morrow, for a salary of $10.00 a month, commencing January 1, 1906. The Society would work with needy and abused children and animals, as well as adults.
By the February 13, 1906 meeting, the Society had dealt with 30 cases and four children were committed to the society in Troy. Garments were also given to needy families.
At the March 12th meeting, a motion was made and passed that no publicity regarding the work of the Society would be given until such time as a case was closed, or rendered by the courts. The salary of Mrs. Morrow was raised to $25 a month.
At this time it was reported that during the preceding month:
60 cases were handled and garments were given to 40 needy families.
Seven children were committed to the Society by justices, and they were provided with lodging in the homes of private people or public institutions.
250 calls were made investigating reported cases and securing information and evidence.
Forty five appearances were made in court in Glens Falls, Sandy Hill and Fort Edward in references to cases.
Several prosecutions were instituted for violation of the laws regarding cruelty to animals. 4 horses and 10 dogs were put down by agents of the Society.
Because the Society was only able to employ a superintendent for 4 months out of a year, its work was being greatly hampered. During the rest of the year, the work fell to the executive committee of the board. At this point, the Society opened "The Shelter" at 53 Bay Street in Glens Falls. This would be in cooperation with the "Willing Workers" and John H. Quinn was appointed probation officer for a term of 1 year.
A fine of$.10 was assessed on members who missed a meeting as of the February 11, 1907 meeting of the Society held at 53 Bay Street. It was reported that 28 new cases had been reported since December 19th. Several civic organizations began contributing to the costs of running the Society. Included are the Chaffing Dish Club, the Washington Commandery, K.T. and The Shelter Club. Names of individual cases began showing up in the minutes of the meetings. Cases were refused help if it appeared that the request was for "day care" and not a needs' situation.
At the March 4th meeting, Dr. Annetta Barber was instructed to see that Society children were attending Sunday School with Catholic children attending a Catholic service, and Protestant children attending "some" Protestant service.
By April 1, 1907, there were 66 newly reported cases. When children were placed in private homes, the home owners were paid $2 a week toward their care.
In July there were 95 new cases reported, and in October it was voted on that "The Shelter" would move to 76 Sanford Street as of November 1st. It was now felt that the community greatly misunderstood the work of the Society, so changes were made in their policy of no publicity.
A matron and officer were being housed at the Sanford Street site on a regular basis. There duty was to react quickly to cases of animal and child abuse. Examples of publicly reported cases are as follows:
A young girl was found living in a barn suffering from skin disease caused by poverty and neglect. After being cared for at The Shelter of 2 months, she was sent to live with a sister in the west who was able to give her a permanent home.
Two children of intemperate parents were kept at The Shelter for 4 months, but were later returned to their parents who began housekeeping again.
A family of several children spent several months at The Shelter until their father was able to take them back and provide them with a good home.
A mother and 3 children stayed at The Shelter temporarily until a home was found for them so they could start again.
A wayward girl, after much effort, was placed in a good home where she was well cared for, and showed much improvement.
Two children, abandoned by their parents, were cared for at The Shelter for a month, clothed, and put in excellent homes in the country where they were reported to be doing well and were happy.
In addition to between 90 and 100 human cases, the Society dealt with between 40 and 50 animal situations. The "Willing Workers" have raised their contribution to $50 a month toward maintaining The Shelter. Dolan Brothers' Drug Store contributed all the medicines necessary. Milk was donated by Dobler, groceries donated by McIntosh, Patterson, C.R. Eddy's Sons, H.F. Lee, Orville Smith, Gilbert & Tarrant and J. O'Leary. Ice was furnished by Hovey Ice Company, and bread by Harrington. Coal and clothing was also being donated by generous individuals. It was reported that $115 a month was needed to maintain the organization, but it was expected to be higher during the winter months.
This was all reported to the public around Thanksgiving and the community reaction was positive and caring.
The work of the organization continued with the help of prominent citizens and members of the board as benefactors. The Shelter was maintained until November 1, 1908, after which time the children under the care of the Society were boarded with private families. The yearly report showed the Society investigated 99 cases. Of these, 45 were children, 5 women, 20 men, 20 horses, 2 cows, 5 cats and 2 dogs.
The parent organization reported that the 1908 annual report showed that 7,897 children were cared for in the entire district. There were 1,794 prosecutions, and 1,579 convictions. 327 children were placed in institutions.
In addition, 4,045 animals were involved in regular investigations in the district. This did not include 16 carloads of cattle which were overcrowded in transport. 8,000 animals were involved in kennel work of the society. This reflects over 20,000 children and animals cared for by the Society. The local Society was run as a department of the parent organization in Troy, with large offices in Schenectady and Albany. Local leaders continued to play a role on the board of the parent organization.
The annual report from January 4, 1910 shows continued contributions from organization in the form of money and goods. In addition, legal advice was furnished to the Society by Attorney J. Edward Singleton. Some of the cases included:
A family of 7 was fed and furnished with coal for 4 months.
An aged couple were in destitute circumstances because they wanted to stay together for the short time they had left. They were placed in a good home.
A destitute individual needing surgery, was provided with a series of operations and treatment by the Society.
A bed and bedding, and clothing was provided to a child.
Food was delivered to a large number of families after first being investigated by the Society and found worthy of help.
A parent was attended to for cruelly beating a child.
A young girl was rescued from a life of shame and placed in a house of shelter, where she was well cared for.
Another girl was taken from a drunken and dissolute parent and placed in a home where she was properly cared for.
These are just a few of the cases that were mentioned in connection with the work of the Society. During the year, investigator John Quinlan was involved with cases of 72 children, 41 men, 21 women, and 14 animals.
January 3, 1912 brought an agent from the parent organization to Glens Falls to assist with overwhelming numbers of referrals to the Society. No details were given as to why this was happening, or the type of cases involved.
However, by January 1914, the records show that to the credit of Glens Falls, there have only been a few cases of ill treatment of children. Also included in the report was the fact that the men of Glens Falls treated their horses well. Blankets were reported on almost all animals stopped on the street. [almost sounds like a seat-belt check]
At the January 19, 1915 annual meeting, President Daniel Robertson gave a talk on the history of the organization beginning with its birth in New York City in 1872. He quoted that "the right of children in respect to the law should be protected. The child has no protection except through the law; if it err, let it be on the side of, or for, the child." He went on to report on the following cases handled by the [now referred to as] the Glens Falls Society.
A young girl, friendless and destitute, was returned to her home in a distant town
A family in Saratoga county, living in great destitution was investigated and reported to the Humane Officer in that county.
An idiot boy in a family has been removed to an institution.
A child with a tubercular hip was placed in a state hospital for ruptured and crippled children.
A young girl paroled from a placement home has shown great improvement.
A sick and destitute woman was kept in a comfortable home.
Medical aid and other assistance was given a deserted child.
A motherless child was given aid when deserted by the father.
The January 5, 1916 annual meeting reported the following cases:
Three wayward and destitute boys were sent to an industrial school where they are making good progress.
A boy who had run away from home was found and returned to his parents.
A crippled boy in destitute circumstances was given material assistance and reading matter.
A family of 6 neglected children was placed in an orphanage.
Two children were placed in private homes.
An operation for a badly disfigured child was provided by the Society.
Two illegitimate, homeless boys were placed in an orphanage from which they have been adopted into good homes.
A family of small children left destitute was temporarily cared for.
Efforts were made to improve conditions in 2 families in which there were small children, with some measure of success.
Four children who, a few years ago were placed in industrial schools, have been under the observation of the Society. One boy is now in a preparatory school earning his way by his own efforts and one girl will soon be placed in a good private home.
The following was part of a report given to the Society in January of 1917.
"The people of this nation realize as they have never realized before the importance of saving the life of every child it is possible to save; not only to save it, but to start it on the road to useful citizenship that those children may take the places of men today and keep the standard of American life up to the high plane which it has hitherto occupied."
"There is no agency that can take the place of the right kind of parents in the proper development of children but unhappily there are always parents who, through adverse circumstances or through culpable neglect, allow their offspring to shift for themselves, to grow up noxious weeds in the garden of society, to crowd out useful plants in that garden and to poison with their pernicious, non-fragrance the atmosphere of the community."
"It is to these home neglected or home perverted children that the great body of child welfare workers reach out rescuing hands and lift them from the mire of mental swamps and jungles to place them on firm strata of healthful living. ...the percentage of lives saved to society is large."
The last annual report found in the scrapbook was from January 9, 1917.
A reference was made to the fine work of animal control officers, Daniel Hogan and Charles Miller. [Broncho Charlie Miller] They destroyed 26 horses, 8 cows, 250 cats which were diseased, old, crippled or otherwise no longer of service. They gave out many warnings to people to take better care of their animals.
In addition, a general report on people showed the Society dealt with cases of cruelty to children, placing children in homes, as well as families that were helped. Several wayward boys were committed to institutions.
* Research completed from a scrapbook of minutes of the organization donated to the Chapman Historical Museum in 1981.
Thus end the details from this old scrapbook. The original may be viewed by appointment at the Chapman Historical Museum, 348 Glen Street, Glens Falls, NY. (phone 518-793-2826)