Orleans in Barnstable County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
The Legacy Continues
Lifesaving Heritage of Orleans
For nearly two centuries after the Sparrow-hawk rescue, there were no organized efforts to aid those who were involved in shipwrecks off Cape Cod shores. Those who found themselves cast up on the shores or sandbars of Cape Cod were at the mercy of whoever found them, if anyone did. Victims who made it ashore would have likely found a desolate shoreline with no one around.
As society developed in Massachusetts, the first organization to provide relief to shipwreck victims was the Humane Society of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which was founded in 1786. In 1789, the Society constructed several rough huts along the shoreline. These huts were unmanned, but provided welcome shelter and basic supplies to survivors who made it to shore. Eight years later, the Society began building lifeboat stations along the coast, one of which was in Orleans.
In 1802, Humane Society member the Reverend James Freeman delivered a report to the Trustees describing these stations. The Orleans station was “a mile south of the entrance of Nauset harbor, it joins the main land of Orleans, except in very high tides.” He also
One of the notable rescues that occurred in Orleans during the Humane Society years was the wreck of the Orissa, on January 18, 1857. The Orissa was bound for Boston from India with a cargo of ginger, jute, and linseed. Captain Dean Gray Linnell, who served as the keeper for the Humane Society station, was one of the first volunteer rescuers on the scene. The ship was a total loss, and several of the crew perished. The Orissa’s Captain, Cyrus Sears, was taken to Linnell’s home where a baby girl had been born and was yet unnamed. Sears proposed that the girl be named Orissa, and the name was accepted. Over the ensuing years, Sears sent Orissa gifts of gratitude for her parents’ hospitality.
This display was made possible through Orleans Community Preservation Funds
Erected by Orleans Community Preservation Committee.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Disasters • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 41° 47.191′ N, 69° 56.205′ W. Marker is in Orleans, Massachusetts, in Barnstable County. Marker is at the intersection of Beach Road and Surf Path, on the right on Beach Road. The marker is located at the east Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 250 Beach Road, Orleans MA 02653, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The United States Lifesaving Service (here, next to this marker); The Legacy Begins (here, next to this marker); Benjamin Sparrow (here, next to this marker); The Birth of the Coast Guard (here, next to this marker); The Legacy Endures (here, next to this marker); Nauset Beach (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); East Orleans Country Store (approx. 1˝ miles away); Universalist Society Meeting House (approx. 2.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Orleans.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 27, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 38 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 27, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.