|LADIES BENEVOLENT SOCIETY AND MECHANICS; BENEFICIAL SOCIETY.
THE FEMALE BENEVOLENT SOCIETY OF COLUMBUS
Was organized by a meeting held for that purpose at the Town street Methodist Church, in January, 1835. The object of its formation was to devise and carry out a systematic plan for the temporary relief of the poor. It was expressly provided in the constitution, that the relief administered should be given in such a manner as to encourage industry, and independent exertions for support. "The sick, the old and infirm, widows, and very young and destitute children, were to be the first objects of attention." This society was organized as a union society, and has always continued to have members from all denominations; any female of good character being permitted to join, on paying her annual subscription.
The city was divided into wards and districts, to each of which visitors were assigned, whose duty was to inspect
personally all cases coming to her knowledge, and relieve them.
The first officers elected were, Mrs. James Hoge, Pres't; Mrs. E. W. Sehon, Vice Pres't; Mrs. N. H. Swayne, Treas'r; Miss M. Kelley, Sec'y. The original number of members was one hundred and seven. The society thus organized, has continued to carry out its original design from that time to the present.
In 1836, the managers of the society, observing the large number of children destitute of the means of education, at the suggestion of the President, Mrs. Dalton, took steps to establish a free school; which was opened in a rented room. Subsequently, a small lot on Fourth street, was donated to them by Hon. Alfred Kelley, on wich a small school house was afterwards erected by contributions of citizens, and under the supervision of Mr. P. B. Wilcox, Mr. Dwight Woodbury, and Mr. Joseph Ridgway, jr.
This school was continued until the present system of public schools was matured, about the year 1855 or 1856 [Should be 1845 or 1846*]. The building and lot were subsequently sold for $500, and the money placed at interest, to add to the yearly income of the society.
*Transcriber's Note: At the end of the history the author, William T. Martin, includes the following—"ERRATA. On page 408, sixth and seventh line from the bottom, for '1855 or 1856,' read '1845 or 1846,' when the school was discontinued."
I. G. Dryer, Mrs. Dr. Lord, Mrs. J. L. Bates. Mrs. Dryer held the office for many years, and was a most efficient officer. The offices of Secretary and Treasurer were filled most faithfully for eleven years by Miss Mary E. Stewart, afterwards Mrs. Joseph Geiger.
Among the most active and efficient visitors from the original organization may be found the names of Mrs. Gen. Patterson, Mrs. Demas Adams, Mrs. Bailhache, Mrs. J. M. Espy, Mrs. Wm. Neil, Mrs. Joel Buttles, Mrs. Alfred Kelley, Mrs. J. N. Champion, Mrs. Chittenden, Mrs. Asbury, Mrs. Dr. Awl, Mrs. Dr. Edmiston, etc., etc.
The officers of the society for the present year, 1858, are Mrs. J. L. Bates, Pres't; Mrs. Wm. Neil, Vice Pres't; Mrs. Samuel Galloway, Treas'r; Mrs. A. P. Stone, Sec'y. The income of the society amounts at present to between $600 and $700 annually, all of which is expended. This fund is dereived from subscriptions from members, and annual donations from gentlemen, from interest on permanent fund, and from collections in churches.
MECHANICS' BENEFICIAL SOCIETY.
In 1830, a number of the mechanics of Columbus formed themselves into a society, which, on the 9th of March, 1831, was incorporated by the name of the "Mechanics' Beneficial Society of Columbus." The incorporators named in the act, were P. H. Olmsted,
M. R. Spurgeon, Jonathan Neereamer and C. Love, and their associates—the object of the society being the advancement of the best interests of mechanics, manufacturers and artisans, by a more general diffusion of knowledge, and for the purpose of more conveniently and effectually affording relief to unfortunate members. The act of incorporation constituted P. H. Olmsted, President, M. R. Spurgeon, John Haver, Jonathan Neereamer and Charles Love, the first board of Trustees. The society held their business meetings either in some public office or rented room, until 1841, when they leased part of a lot at the corner of High and Rich streets, and in 1842, erected the building known as "Mechanics' Hall." This was done by voluntary contributions of the members, and other citizens. About this time, the society was in a flourishing condition, and numbered over one hundred members.
Agreeably to the amended constitution and by-laws, adopted September 2, 1856, any new member, when admitted, must pay an initiation fee of not less than fifteen nor more than thirty dollars, according to his age; no one is admitted at an age over forty-five years. Each member must pay a monthly due of thirty-three and a third cents, and one dollar extra at the death of any benefit member.
Any person having been a member of the society
nine months, is considered a benefit member; and in case of sickness so as to be incapable of performing manual labor, or attending to his ordinary business, from any unavoidable casualty, shall be entitled to three dollars per week, out of the funds of the society, during such disability: And in case of the death of any benefit member, his widow or heirs are entitled to from fifty to three hundred dollars, out of the funds of the society, in proportion to the length of time the deceased had been a member.
The number of members in 1856, was reduced to thirty-three.
OFFICERS OF THE SOCIETY FOR 1857.
Vice President—James Stephens.
Secretary—J. P. Burck.
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