Founders of the Massachusetts Bible Society - 1809

The Massachusetts Bible Society began on July 6, 1809 and is an ecumenical, Christian organization dedicated to promoting Biblical literacy, understanding, and dialogue. This blog lists brief biographies of our founders who gathered in the Massachusetts State House Senate Chamber on that historic day to sign the Charter founding MBS. Please visit our website:

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Location: Newton Centre, MA, United States

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mr. Joseph W. Jenkins

Joseph Jenkins was, like many of our founders, also a member of the Humane Society of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Since 20th and 21st century Humane Societies work for the humane treatment of animals, there should just be a brief explanation of these prior humane societies.

The Humane Society in Massachusetts began through conversations between MBS founder Rev. James Freeman and others in 1786. It was modeled after a British Society which was itself modeled after a Dutch society with the stated goal of “the recovery of persons who meet with such accidents as to produce in them the appearance of death, and for promoting the cause of humanity, by pursuing such means, from time to time, as shall have for their object the preservation of human life, and the alleviation of its miseries.”

It is notable that forty-six of our founders are on the list of members for the Humane Society of the Commonwealth in 1810, an interest in human welfare naturally combining with the prophetic call of the Scriptures to care for the less fortunate.

Along with founders Josiah Bumstead and Henry Homes, Joseph Jenkins was a founding member of the Society for Mutual Improvement, which began essentially as a group of Christians from various churches who wanted evening worship services and ended as the founders of Park Street Church. Mr. Jenkins served as the Sunday School Superintendent there from 1829-1834.

Joseph W. Jenkins was likely born in Plymouth on March 5, 1787 and died on June 4, 1849 in East Madison, Maine.

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