Jersey County ILGenWeb, copyright Judy Griffin 2002. In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, data and images may be used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit or for other presentation without express permission by the contributor(s).
The Whipping Post – Greene County 1832Jersey County was part of Green County in 1832. From the Carrollton Patriot, Friday, February 2, 1906.
The Whipping Post in Carrollton in 1832, by Dr. Samuel Willard.
At the annual meeting of the Ill. Historical Soc., held in Springfield last week, a paper of unusual interest was read. It related personal reminiscences of its author, Dr. Samuel Willard, who is now in his eighty-fifth year and a resident of Chicago. Dr. Willard spent his boyhood in Carrollton and Greene county, coming here from Boston with his parents in 1831. They landed 25 miles from John Russell’s house, after a journey of 27 days. Dr. Willard’s narrative entire would fill more than two pages of The Patriot, but being composed mainly of incidents and sketches, we shall publish most of it in installments from time to time. These sketches will be worth preserving, for nothing of Greene county history has been so graphically told by an eye witness.
In view of the present agitation for the establishem of whipping posts Dr. Willard’s account of the first and lonly public legal whipping administered in Carrollton as he saw it, is apropos. After telling of the first hanging, he says:
Another infliction of punishment which would now be more revolting in public than a hanging would be, I saw on the public square in Carrollton in 1832. There was then no penitentiaries in the state, hence other penalties had to take the place of confinement. Near the court house on the public square there was set a strong post, an unhewen log, ten feet high, with a crosspiece near the top. I saw a man brought from the jail by the sheriff and a constable, to be whipped thirty lashes for the theft of a horse. He was stripped naked to the hips, his hands were tied and the rope was carried to the crosspiece and drawn as tight as it could be without taking his feet from the ground. Then Sheriff Fry took that terrible instrument of punishment and torture, a rawhide. Probably many of you have not seen one. To make it a taper strip of soft, wet cowskin was twisted until the edges met, and the thing was dried in that position. It was hard, ridgy, and rough, but flexible as a switch, three-quarters of a yard long. The sheriff began laying strokes on the culprit’s back, beginning near his neck and going regularly down one side of his backbone, the former sheriff Young counting the strokes aloud. Each stroke made a red blood-blister. When fifteen blows had been counted, the officer paused and someone ran to the poor wretch with a tumbler of whiskey. Then the other side of the man received like treatment. Then the man’s shirt was replaced and he was led away to the jail. One of the bystanders said: “O, Lord! He isn’t as bad cut up as G. H. was when L. M. flogged him three or four years ago.” Boy as I was I did not know what a dreadful infliction it was. The whipping post remained there 2 or 3 years, but I never heard of any further use of it.