Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Caswell County Pillory and Stocks

Caswell County Pillory and Stocks

Corporal punishment in North Carolina, short of death, has taken the varied forms of (1) mutilation and dismemberment, (2) public whippings, and (3) confinement before the public gaze in the pillory and stocks.

A major part of punishment in stocks and pillories was public humiliation and they were commonly found in the town square. The Stocks were used to publicly humiliate people that had committed petty crimes. As the offender sat in the stocks, the townspeople would often pelt them with rotten food, dead animals or stones while jeering, mocking, and ridiculing them.

As late as 1836, certain crimes in North Carolina were punishable by confinement in the pillory and stocks. These forms of corporal punishment were steadily restricted throughout the first half of the nineteenth century and altogether disappeared by constitutional fiat in 1868.

Caswell County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions:

April 1824: "Ordered the treasurer of public buildings build or repair the stocks in such manner as he may adjudge best for the use and benefit of the county."

July 1824: "Ames Ford be allowed $50.56 for building stock and pilory [sic] in this county."

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