President’s Message

Fellow Rotarians,

A Haverhill Halloween History Minute: A Witches Story

On August 4, 1692 Mary Clark of Haverhill, under accusations of being a witch, was presented in Salem before John Hathorne and other magistrates for examination. At the trial a girl named Mary Walcott was called as a witness against Clark and swore that she had been afflicted by Clark’s “looking upon her,” which caused her to suffer grotesque fits of contortion, falling into frozen postures and complaining of biting and pinching sensations. The Judges who were predisposed toward the guilt of those suspected of witchcraft, lest they be considered in league with the devil, exhorted Mary Clark to confess but she absolutely denied the charges.

A Constable of Haverhill (either Joseph Peaslee or John Ayer, both of whom were in attendance) was called upon and asked about Mary Clark’s fame and reputation. He answered that he had heard that she was or had been guilty of such actions, but as to anything in particular he could not say. When the Justices asked Walcott if she could be mistaken, she answered that this was the very woman she saw afflict Timothy Swan, and also Betty Hubbard and Ann Putnam on separate occasions. 

Hubbard and Putnam along with Susanna Sheldon and Mary Post were part of a group of girls whose imaginations were carried away by palmistry, magic and spiritualism and they were the chief accusers and witnesses in many of the witchcraft trials. Ann Putnam said that Clark had afflicted her by pinching, choking and striking her. Mary Post even claimed to have observed her spirit eating and drinking at a witch meeting and that she had also seen her afflict Timothy Swan.

In addition to Clark the list of those accused at Salem included Martha Emerson, Mary Green, Frances Hutchins and Ruth Wilford all of Haverhill. One other from north of the Merrimack, Susannah Martin of Amesbury, executed July 19, 1692, was the “Goody Martin” of John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem “The Witch’s Daughter.”

As the accusations became bolder doubts were developing as to how so many respectable people could be guilty. In the fall of 1692 Sir William Phipps, the Governor of Massachusetts vacated the Salem Court of its authority. He disallowed all spectral evidence and the following spring most charges were dismissed and those still imprisoned were pardoned. It was most likely that the Haverhill women were released at that time.

Announcements:

Art: Reminded us that we have Community Meals at the Citizens Center on 11/21

Tracy: Gus Reusch will be honored as Educator of the Year– November 15

John: Vote for CAI Thursday October 27

Happy $$$

Stacey for her new job

Allison: MV Chamber event at Pentucket Bank 10/27

Joe: Happy for ???

Dick: For a bad weather report today

Jim: Young Professional event

Tracy: Travel $$$

Michel: Just because he is happy

Art: His puppy is much better but his wallet is much lighter…

Rick: Put a stop to Art’s puns dead in his tracks.

Speaker: Erin Kelly made a return visit on behalf of the Boston Celtics organization and kept hoop fans expectations high with a report on the 2016-17 edition of the Green. Plans are already afoot to celebrate Paul Pierce’s career when he retires after this season. A one day contract with the Celtics is a good bet.

Tracy was the recipient our guest speaker’s Happy $$ Prize

Raffle: Bill had the matching ticket but left the $400+ jackpot intact for another day!

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Officers & Directors

• President Arthur Veasey

• President Elect Stacey Bruzzese

• Past President Michel van Ravestyn

• Treasurer Bill Kleuber

• Assistant Treasurer Greg DiBurro

• Secretary Dick Sundell

• Sargent At Arms Buddy Baker

• Assistant Sergeant at Arms Greg DiBurro

• Membership Chair Michel van Ravestyn

• Foundation Chair Harry Korslund

• Programs/Speaker Chair Stacey Bruzzese

• Greeter Greg DiBurro

• Assistant Greeter

• Director Melissa Cerasuolo

• Director at Large Greg DiBurro

• Director at Large Greg Stark

• Director at Large Jean Poth

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