Archive for February 18th, 2009

Sing Sing Prison Punishment

February 18, 2009
Drawing depicts an inmate's first day at Sing Sing c. 1860. The inmate would assume prison garb, be drilled in marching, and assigned a cell.

Drawing depicts an inmate's first day at Sing Sing c. 1860. The inmate would assume prison garb, be drilled in marching, and assigned a cell.

One way to deter undesirable behavior:

How Humanity is Made to Pay at Sing Sing

The mode of punishment now in Sing Sing prison is this: The authorities take a small cord and slip noose it around the thumbs of a prisoner, and then draw him up by the cord one foot from the floor, and let him hang there till he faints. They have a convict now under punishment whose keeper has hung him up in this way three times, and he (the keeper) says that he convict begs that he will not kill him. He let him hang and hour and ten minutes. I have been told that the Doctor says that if he had been left hanging five minutes longer he would have been a dead man. After being taken down the prisoner is put in a dark cell, in which planks are laid on the flags, with holes bored in them and pins driven in, which stick up about three inches. The prisoner has to stand on these pins in his stockings, or lie down upon them.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jun 6, 1871

Grammatical Conundrums

February 18, 2009
Tailor's Goose

Tailor's Goose

A Rich Grammatical Decision

The New York Tribune decides that the plural of “titmouse” is “titmouses,” not “titmice.” “On the same principle,” says another paper, “plural of a tailor’s ‘goose’ is ‘gooses,'” as indeed we hold that it is.

This reminds us of another anecdote in regard to a country merchant who wanted two of these tailor’s irons several years ago, and ordered them from Messrs Dunn & Spencer, hardware merchants then doing business in this city. He first wrote this order “Please send me two tailor’s gooses.” Thinking that this was bad grammar, he destroyed it and wrote this one “Please send me two tailor’s geese.”

Upon reflection he destroyed this one also for fear he “would receive live” geese. He thought over the matter until, he was very much worried and at last, in a moment of desperation, he seized his pen and wrote the following which was duly mailed “Messrs. Dunn & Spencer Please send me one tailor’s goose and d_ _n it, send me another.” This was the only way he knew of to order two of them, but of course he had not read the above wise decision then —Petersburg Courier

We once knew a merchant who wanted a dozen of the same article and got over the difficulty by ordering “one tailor’s goose,” and immediately under it, “eleven ditto.”

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Feb 12, 1871

Lynched for a Case of Mistaken Identity?

February 18, 2009
Slaughtered Hogs

Slaughtered Hogs

On the 14th instant a man named Casteel, living near Des Arc, Arkansas, was taken from his home and hung. He was charged with being unable to distinguish his own hogs from his neighbors.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Nov 2, 1868