The Society’s motto “Relieve the Distressed” was in its first century concentrated upon immigrant Scots who needed help to find shelter, money, and assistance in finding work. However disasters at home and abroad were given significant assistance such as for the suffering poor in the Highlands and Islands in 1846-7 and through the Army Relief Bazaar during the Civil War.
By the end of the 19th century the flood of Scottish immigrants required that special arrangements were made with boarding houses and restaurants to provide shelter and food for the newcomers. In the 20th century, however, the Society made it the practice to support a broad range of Albany area charities each year.
It had long been the custom to provide Members and indigent Scots with grave sites in two St. Andrew’s lots in Albany Rural Cemetery. In 1930 a large new lot was purchased and in 1945 David Lithgow proposed to erect a monument dedicated to St. Andrew. On the back wall of the monument is inscribed the following:
SACRED TO THE MEMORY
OF NATIVES OF SCOTLAND
WHO HAVING SOUGHT A HOME IN THIS LAND
DIED WHILE STRANGERS IN IT
THEY ARE LOVINGLY REMEMBERED IN DEATH
BY THEIR FELLOW COUNTRYMEN
THROUGH WHOSE KINDNESS THEY
HAVE HERE FOUND A PLACE OF SEPULCHER
This tradition continued into the 1930s when seven indigent Scots were buried in the Society’s new plot.