Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Strange & Curious Punishments Puritan Style

From New York Times Article October 17, 1886 And Archival History, Court Documents and Genealogy








After some research on the names and events I am posting what I have found from sources from the archives.

From Boston Police History
 
1639---Edward Palmer was employed to build stocks (a place in which to set criminals for punishment); when completed, he presented his bill for his services. The bill was thought to be exorbitant, and Edward Palmer got placed in his own stocks and was fined five pounds.


From Prospect: Or, View of the Moral World, Volume 1 By Elihu Palmer

Extracts from the Ancient Records of Massachusetts. 
Edward Palmer, for his extortion in taking two pounds ; thirteen shillings and four penee, for the wood work of Boston stocks, is fined four pounds, and ordered to be set one hour in the flocks.

From Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 56, Number 108, 25 December 1886 — PUNISHING SCOLDS. [ARTICLE]




From Every Day Life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony By George Francis Dow

Her name was Mary Oliver and her criminal record begins in June, 1638. Governor Winthrop relates: "Amongst the rest, there was a woman in Salem, one Oliver, his wife, who had suffered somewhat in England by refusing to bow at the name of Jesus, though otherwise she was conformable to all their orders. She was (for ability of speech, and appearance of zeal and devotion) far before Mrs Hutchinson, and so the fitter instrument to have done hurt, but that she was poor and had little acquaintance. She took offense at this, that she might not be admitted to the Lord's supper without giving public satisfaction to the church of her faith, etc., and covenanting or professing to walk with them according to the rule of the gospel; so as upon the sacrament day she openly called for it, stood to plead her right, though she were denied; and would not forbear, before the magistrate, Mr. Endecott, did threaten to send the constable to put her forth. This woman was brought to the Court for disturbing the peace in the church, etc., and there she gave such peremptory answers, as she was committed till she should find sureties for her good behavior. After she had been in prison three or four days, she made means to the Governor and submitted herself, and acknowledged her fault in disturbing the church; whereupon he took her husband's bond for her good behavior, and discharged her out of prison. But he found, after, that she still held her former opinions, which were very dangerous, as, (I) that the church is the head of the people, both magistrates and ministers, met together and that these have power to ordain ministers, etc. II That all that dwell in the same town, and will profess their faith in Christ Jesus, ought to be received to the sacraments there; and that she was persuaded that, if Paul were at Salem, he would call all the inhabitants there saints. (III) That excommunication is no other but when Christians withdraw private communion from one that hath offended." September 24, 1639, this Mary Oliver was sentenced to prison in Boston indefinitely for her speeches at the arrival of newcomers. She was to be taken by the constables of Salem and Lynn to the prison in Boston. Her husband Thomas Oliver was bound in £20 for his wife's appearance at the next court in Boston.


Governor Winthrop continues: "About five years after, this woman was adjudged to be whipped for reproaching the magistrates. She stood without tying, and bore her punishment with a masculine spirit, glorying in her suffering. But after (when she came to consider the reproach, which would stick by her, etc.) she was much dejected about it. She had a cleft stick put on her tongue half an hour for reproaching the elders."
March 2, 1647-8, Mary Oliver was fined for working on the Sabbath day in time of public exercise; also for abusing Capt. Hathorne, uttering divers mutinous speeches, and denying the morality of the Sabbath. She was sentenced to sit in the stocks one hour next lecture day, if the weather be moderate; also for saying "You in New England are thieves and Robbers" and for saying to Mr. Gutch that she hoped to tear his flesh in pieces and all such as he was. For this she was bound to good behavior, and refusing to give bond was sent to Boston jail, and if she remained in the court's jurisdiction was to answer to further complaints at the next Salem Court.
It appears from depositions that she went to Robert Gutch's house in such gladness of spirit that he couldn't understand it, and she said to some there, not members, "Lift up your heads, your redemption draweth near," and when reminded what she already had been punished for, she said that she came out of that with a scarf and a ring.
November 15, 1648, Mary Oliver for living from her husband, was ordered to go to him before the next court, and in December she brought suit against John Robinson for false imprisonment, taking her in a violent manner and putting her in the stocks. She recovered a judgment of 10s. damages. The following February Mary Oliver was again presented at Court for living from her husband, and in July, having been ordered to go to her husband in England by the next ship, she was further enjoyed to go by the next opportunity on penalty of 20 li.
November 13, 1649, Mary Oliver was presented for stealing goats, and a month later she was presented for speaking against the Governor, saying that he was unjust, corrupt and a wretch, and that he made her pay for stealing two goats when there was no proof in the world of it. She was sentenced to be whipped next lecture day at Salem, if the weather be moderate, not exceeding twenty stripes. Capt. William Hathorne and Mr. Emanuel Downingwere to see the sentence executed. At the same court George Ropes complained that Mary Oliver kept away a spade of his and she was fined 5s.
February 28, 1649-50, Mary Oliver thus far had escaped the second whipping, for at her request Mr. Batter asked that her sentence be respited, which the Court granted "if she doe go into the Bay with Joseph Hardy this day or when he goeth next into the Bay with his vessell" otherwise she was to be called forth by Mr. Downing and Capt. Hathorne and be punished. If she returned, the punishment was to hold good.
The next day Mary Oliver's fine was remitted to the end that she use it in transporting herself and children out of this jurisdiction within three weeks. And there ended her turbulent career in the town of Salem, so far as the Court records show.


From The Olden Time Series, Vol. 5: Some Strange and Curious Punishments Gleanings Chiefly from Old Newspapers of Boston and Salem, Massachusetts Author: Henry M. Brooks

We here record a curious affair which took place in the State of Georgia in the year 1811. At the Superior Court at Milledgeville a Mrs. Palmer, who, the account states, "seems to have been rather glib of the tongue, was indicted, tried, convicted, and, in pursuance of the sentence of the Court, was punished by being publicly ducked in the Oconee River for—scolding." This, we are told, was the first instance of the kind that had ever occurred in that State, and "numerous spectators attended the execution of the sentence." A paper copying this account says that the "crime is old, but the punishment is new," and that "in the good old days of our Ancestors, when an unfortunate woman was accused of Witchcraft she was tied neck and heels and thrown into a pond of Water: if she drowned, it was agreed that she was no witch; if she swam, she was immediately tied to a stake and burnt alive. But who ever heard that our pious ancestors ducked women for scolding?" This writer is much mistaken; for it is well known that in England (and perhaps in this country in early times) the "ducking-stool" was resorted to for punishing "scolds." This was before the days of "women's rights," for there is no record of any man having been punished in this way.

For More see Marquis Eaton's essay  Punitive Pain and Humiliation
 

In the early seventeenth century, Boston's Roger Scott was picked up for "repeated sleeping on the Lord's Day" and sentenced to be severely whipped for "striking the person who waked him from his godless slumber."

From The Sabbath in Puritan New England: Chapter 6  The Tithingman and the Sleepers


Another over-watchful Newbury "awakener" rapped on the head a nodding man who protested indignantly that he was wide-awake, and was only bowing in solemn assent and approval of the minister's arguments. Roger Scott, of Lynn, in 1643 struck the tithingman who thus roughly and suddenly wakened him; and poor sleepy and bewildered Roger, who is branded through all time as "a common sleeper at the publick exercise," was, for this most naturally resentful act, but also most shockingly grave offense, soundly whipped, as a warning both to keep awake and not to strike back in meeting.
Add tidbit: 
Obadiah Turner, of Lynn, gives in his Journal a sad, sad disclosure of total depravity which was exposed by one of these sudden church-awakenings, and the story is best told in the journalist's own vivid words:--
"June 3, 1616.--Allen Bridges hath bin chose to wake ye sleepers in meeting. And being much proude of his place, must needs have a fox taile fixed to ye ende of a long staff wherewith he may brush ye faces of them yt will have napps in time of discourse, likewise a sharpe thorne whereby he may pricke such as be most sound. On ye last Lord his day, as hee strutted about ye meeting-house, he did spy Mr. Tomlins sleeping with much comfort, hys head kept steadie by being in ye corner, and his hand grasping ye rail. And soe spying, Allen did quickly thrust his staff behind Dame Ballard and give him a grievous prick upon ye hand. Whereupon Mr. Tomlins did spring vpp mch above ye floore, and with terrible force strike hys hand against ye wall; and also, to ye great wonder of all, prophanlie exclaim in a loud voice, curse ye wood-chuck, he dreaming so it seemed yt a wood-chuck had seized and bit his hand. But on coming to know where he was, and ye greate scandall he had committed, he seemed much abashed, but did not speak. And I think he will not soon again goe to sleepe in meeting."

From A History of Baptists  By Thomas Armitage

Quite likely those sinners, of the Gentiles, John Wood, Joseph Bednap and Roger Scott, were all present. Wood had been tried, February 19th, 1646, for 'professing Anabaptist sentiments and withholding his children from baptism;' Rednap had broken the law in usually 'departing from the congregation at the time of administering the seal of baptism;' [Felt, Ecc. Hist., ii, p. 46] and 'Scott was that drowsy sinner who was tried by the Court, February 28th, 1643, for common sleeping at the public exercise upon the Lord's day, and for striking him that waked him and was 'severely whipped' for the same in the ensuing December. This deponent saith not whether he really was at Witter's, or, if so, whether he wanted a quiet nap unaroused by a pugnacious Puritan Dogberry; perhaps he thought that a stirring Baptist sermon was just the novelty to keep him wide awake on that Sunday and in that particular place.

From Some strange and curious punishments edited by Henry Mason Brook

The whipping-post and stocks were discontinued in Massachusetts early in the present century. On the 15th of January, 1801, one Hawkins stood an hour in the pillory in Court Street (now Washington Street), Salem, and had his ear cropped for the crime of forgery, pursuant to the sentence of the Supreme Court.


From  Curious Punishments of Bygone Days  By Alice Morse Earle



From New England's Cruel and Unusual Punishments by Robert Ellis Cahill

Salem, 1801, "Hawkins, for Forgery, stood for one hour in the pillory and had his ears cropped.
Another over-watchful Newbury "awakener" rapped on the head a nodding man who protested indignantly that he was wide-awake, and was only bowing in solemn assent and approval of the minister's arguments. Roger Scott, of Lynn, in 1643 struck the tithingman who thus roughly and suddenly wakened him; and poor sleepy and bewildered Roger, who is branded through all time as "a common sleeper at the publick exercise," was, for this most naturally resentful act, but also most shockingly grave offense, soundly whipped, as a warning both to keep awake and not to strike back in meeting.
Add tidbit: 
Obadiah Turner, of Lynn, gives in his Journal a sad, sad disclosure of total depravity which was exposed by one of these sudden church-awakenings, and the story is best told in the journalist's own vivid words:--
"June 3, 1616.--Allen Bridges hath bin chose to wake ye sleepers in meeting. And being much proude of his place, must needs have a fox taile fixed to ye ende of a long staff wherewith he may brush ye faces of them yt will have napps in time of discourse, likewise a sharpe thorne whereby he may pricke such as be most sound. On ye last Lord his day, as hee strutted about ye meeting-house, he did spy Mr. Tomlins sleeping with much comfort, hys head kept steadie by being in ye corner, and his hand grasping ye rail. And soe spying, Allen did quickly thrust his staff behind Dame Ballard and give him a grievous prick upon ye hand. Whereupon Mr. Tomlins did spring vpp mch above ye floore, and with terrible force strike hys hand against ye wall; and also, to ye great wonder of all, prophanlie exclaim in a loud voice, curse ye wood-chuck, he dreaming so it seemed yt a wood-chuck had seized and bit his hand. But on coming to know where he was, and ye greate scandall he had committed, he seemed much abashed, but did not speak. And I think he will not soon again goe to sleepe in meeting."

From A History of Baptists  By Thomas Armitage

Quite likely those sinners, of the Gentiles, John Wood, Joseph Bednap and Roger Scott, were all present. Wood had been tried, February 19th, 1646, for 'professing Anabaptist sentiments and withholding his children from baptism;' Rednap had broken the law in usually 'departing from the congregation at the time of administering the seal of baptism;' [Felt, Ecc. Hist., ii, p. 46] and 'Scott was that drowsy sinner who was tried by the Court, February 28th, 1643, for common sleeping at the public exercise upon the Lord's day, and for striking him that waked him and was 'severely whipped' for the same in the ensuing December. This deponent saith not whether he really was at Witter's, or, if so, whether he wanted a quiet nap unaroused by a pugnacious Puritan Dogberry; perhaps he thought that a stirring Baptist sermon was just the novelty to keep him wide awake on that Sunday and in that particular place.

From Some strange and curious punishments edited by Henry Mason Brook. The whipping-post and stocks were discontinued in Massachusetts early in the present century. On the 15th of January, 1801, one Hawkins stood an hour in the pillory in Court Street (now Washington Street), Salem, and had his ear cropped for the crime of forgery, pursuant to the sentence of the Supreme Court.
OTHER BLOG to check out
The Hanging of Goodwife Knapp in 1653

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