Charleston in Charleston County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Crime & Punishment: “Tyed to the Usual Tree”
What constitutes a crime? In early Charles Towne, the majority of prosecuted crimes involved slander against the government, or actions that endangered the colony or threatened its profit. This differed from New England colonies, where religious or moral laws ruled daily life.
A harsh, yet common, punishment was to tie the offender to “the usual tree” where lashes were “well laid on the naked back.” Lesser offenders received time in the stocks or pillory, while some were locked in a room. Humiliating and sometimes painful, these punishments occurred for all to see, creating a deterrent for others.
Location. 32° 48.155′ N, 79° 58.97′ W. Marker is in Charleston, South Carolina, in Charleston County. Marker can be reached from Old Town Plantation Road near 1500 Old Towne Road. Touch for map. Marker is located on the History Trail at Charles Towne Landing. Marker is in this post office area: Charleston SC 29407, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Common Lodging (a few steps from this marker); On the Edge of an Empire (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Protecting the Colony – The Palisade Wall (about 400 feet away); Trade, Profits and Support (about 400 feet away); Seeking, Wealth, Sowing Servitude (about 500 feet away); Mixed Results (about 500 feet away); Buildings “All of Wood”? (about 500 feet away); Postponed Aspirations (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charleston.
More about this marker. The bottom of the marker contains a picture of a man in a locked room, another of a man with his feet in the pillory, and one of a man tied to a tree being whipped. These have a caption of “In 1673, the Grand Council prosecuted Richard Battin for slanderous remarks against a Council member and the Lord Proprietors. For his crime, he was sentenced to be ‘stript to ye waist, and receive thirteen lashes upon his naked back well laid on, and then be put in the stocks for ye space of one whole hour, with a paper of his accusation on ye fore part of his head.”
Also see . . . Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site. (Submitted on August 19, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Colonial Era • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 19, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 505 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 19, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.