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Virtual Meeting via Zoom
Saturday, November 7, 2020

Submitted by Robert H. Everitt

To comply with Center for Disease Control guidelines and restrictions placed on public gatherings by state and local health departments, the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Society of Indiana Pioneers was held virtually via Zoom on Saturday, November 7. Special thanks to Office Manager Sally Fadely for making the arrangements and hosting the meeting.

President Julie Newhouse called the meeting to order at 11:00 am, with nearly 70 members participating in the online meeting.

A number of committees reported on activities during the past year. Among the highlights of committee reports given, the Society awarded four field trip grants, but because of travel restrictions, each of the recipients agreed to defer their grant until travel for field trips is once again possible. Plans for 2021 pilgrimages are “fluid” as we await some loosening of travel and gathering restrictions before finalizing any plans for 2021.

Genealogist Michele Kerr reported that the number of proven pioneer ancestors now stands at 9,536; applications submitted and approved so far in 2020 have resulted in an additional 168 pioneer ancestors in the database. Participation in the Facebook page continues to grow, and interest in the Guide to Applying for Membership now posted on the Facebook page has generated interest in membership in the Society.

The membership elected the following persons to the Board of Governors for three-year terms ending in 2023:

  • Roberta “Brigitt” Caito, Indianapolis
  • Judith Griffin, Danville
  • Terri Lynn Gorney, Ft. Wayne
  • Dr. Ronald V. Morris, Centerville
  • Kathy Parkison, Rensselaer
  • Eric N. Ward, Cambridge, MA
  • David R. Yeley, Columbus

The service of retiring Board members Helen Dickinson and Eric Koch was acknowledged.

The Board elected the following as officers of the Society for one-year terms:

  • Dr. Robert E. Clements, President
  • Dr. Ron Morris, Vice President/President-elect
  • Robert H. Everitt, Secretary
  • Bruce W. Oakley, Treasurer
  • Marcia Ahrens Krieg, Registrar
  • Jeanie Pike Hornung, Yearbook Editor
  • Julie Hughes Newhouse, Immediate Past President

A highlight of the meeting was hearing presentations by two of the Society’s awardees in 2020. Matt Barnett, teacher at Lewis Cass Junior/Senior High School in Walton, Indiana, expressed appreciation for receipt of the cash award, which will permit him to develop further his efforts to provide hands-on experience to his students on how the pioneer families went about their daily tasks. Jazma Sutton, winner of a Society of Indiana Pioneers Fellowship to pursue research on her doctoral dissertation, “Black Women in the Underground Railroad”, told of interviews and diaries of family members of some of the women she was studying.

The meeting was closed with many expressing hope that the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will be lifted and the 2021 Annual Meeting will again allow the members to socialize in fellowship with one another.