February 28, 1646

On February 28, 1646, Roger Scott, of Lynn, Massachusetts, was tried and found guilty of sleeping in church. After a long day at work in the field on Saturday, and in 1646 they were all long days at work in the field, Roger Scott fell asleep during Sunday service. He was rudely awakened by one of the tithingmen hitting him on the head with a long, knobbed staff. Did you get that? The Puritans had men in the church who carried wooden staves to thump people in the head when they fell asleep. Roger, being rightfully angry, struck back, which made things worse. He was quickly put on trial, where he was of course found guilty for sleeping in church. What was his punishment? Roger was sentenced to a public whipping. Not a spanking, which costs $20 bucks, same as in town, but a whipping. With a whip. Which breaks the skin. Lucky for him he didn’t have long hair, was idle (didn’t have a job), was duck hunting, swearing, skipping church, or was gossipy. All of which were illegal in Puritan America and would result in whippings, imprisonment, hanging, or other stupid punishments to embarrass the victim, excuse me, the criminal. It’s a good thing there aren’t people and preachers in America today who want to return us to those times.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
This entry was posted in 17th Century, Historical Facts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *