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Meeting Minutes
Torch Club of the Fox Valley
13 October 2016
Atlas Coffee Mill & Café

Notes taken by: Jude Kuenn, secretary
Attendees:  Karen Bachhuber, David Debbink, Marcia Debbink, Mary Flanagan, Paul Freiberg, Walt Hedges, Jean Jepson, Barbara Kelly, Bill Kelly, Jude Kuenn, Cam Maurice, Amy Oberg, Mary Poulson, Richard Schoenbohm, Katie Shaw, Webb Shaw, Bob Swain, Helen Thiel, Peter Thiel, Sofia Wilson

Guests: Sue Bennett


Meeting called to order at 6:38pm.

  1. Guest Introductions: Richard introduced his guest Sue Bennett.
  2. Meeting minutes from 9/08/16 were accepted, motioned, seconded and approved.
  3. Treasurer’s report: 10/07/16 total of $2,312.64 was balance after Barbara was reimbursed for domain name renewal on GoDaddy ($20.17). Kelly’s donated the IATC $250 reimbursement to the Club. Report was accepted, motioned, seconded and approved. Barbara reminded everyone to remit Torch dues: $70 for an individual and $45 for second household member. Checks are payable to: Torch Club of the Fox Valley.
  4. Old Business:  
    A. Bill and Barbara reported the 2016 June IATC Convention in Columbus OH was very worthwhile with ~100 attendees. Mandatory presence for reimbursement went from 5 to 2 meetings. Next year’s reimbursement will be $300. Our club received the regional outstanding award, on display on the name tag table. Barbara shared a photo of a bearcat on Bill’s shoulders before dinner one evening. The 2017 IATC Convention will be in Kalamazoo, MI, an easy destination from the Fox Valley.
    B. Annual dues is due, mentioned by Barbara as part of the treasurer’s report.   
  5. New Business:  
    A. Future of IATC annual meetings - our club’s thoughts: Richard and Barbara participated in an officers’ survey. Bi-annual and/or regional meetings were proposed as a way to increase attendance.
    B. First discussion of our club’s March officer elections:  Richard will assemble an election committee for next spring’s slate. Paul has offered to become president. The vice president and secretary positions will be open. If you haven’t been an officer yet, please consider one of these posts in 2017. Term is for 2 years.
  6. Announcements:
    A. Barbara has E.A.T.S. tickets for sale. This year’s 20th anniversary event is Saturday 11/05/16 at UW-Fox Valley.
    B. Mary Poulson brought the fall Noonhour Philosophers’ schedule. Take one if interested in the Wednesday presentations.

Business segment adjourned at 6:50pm for dinner.
Amy Oberg presented “The Salem Witch Trials”
In the Bay Colonies of Massachusetts from January through September of 1692, 21 people and 2 dogs were hanged for witchcraft. The Salem witch trials were driven by mass hysteria, fear and irrational behavior. 350 were accused, and 20 died, mostly women and female children. Fathers and sons were exempt.
Salem was founded in 1628 by Puritans, non-conforming English Protestants who came to the U.S. to worship as they pleased, and their prayer took a good part of every day.
In 1641, a League Code for capital crimes by severity was rated: 1) idolatry, 2) witchcraft, 3) blasphemy, 4) murder, 5) poison, and 6) beast ology. People lived in fear of the devil; the devil certainly existed in the world and could take over a woman’s mind and body. It was believed that women could sign a pact with the devil for many benefits, including revenge on enemies.
Salem in 1692 had ~500 residents under the age of 70. Fear of Native Americans attacking, King Philip’s battles pushing non-Puritan refugees south to Salem, small pox, bad trade deals, and political unrest added to lack of community and prompted distrust. The year’s trials had no governor representation; he had been unseated in 1689.
Elizabeth, aged 9, and her sister Abagail, 11, were identified as witches after their uncle, a father figure and reverend of the church, noted irrational fits of behavior. A doctor was called in and confirmed witchcraft. The sisters blamed their slave Sarah. While she claimed innocence, Sarah later admitted being a witch, after the reverend beat her. She was hanged July 19th.
Martha, daughter of Thomas Putnam, went to trial when Elizabeth and Abby claimed she was the devil’s scepter. Martha was hanged September 9th.
Bridget Bishop, accused of sticking pins in dolls, was hanged June 10th.   
Also in July, Sara Good was accused by her four-year-old daughter and was hanged with five other women as witches. Girls called ‘accusers’ were never punished for their actions.
Judges and magistrates participated in unethical behavior. Critics of the trials were also accused of witchcraft. A special court of nine judges was created, an ‘Oyer and Terminer’, to decide cases. These were people of prudence, but they were also wealthy men. People died in dungeons, awaiting their trials.  Judges, townspeople, magistrates didn’t need much convincing for the person on trial to be condemned.
In October 11, 1692, the new governor forbade spectral elements or dreams as evidence. Salem was so focused on witchcraft, it ignored daily activities such as farming and food production.  
In 1957, the State of Massachusetts formally apologized to the families of the accused and hanged relatives. No trace of any historic court transcripts exist today, which perhaps was the work of the witches of Salem. 
The evening adjourned at 8:48pm.

Next meeting is 11/10/16; speaker will be Jude Kuenn on “The Land Called Tower Hill”.
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