HOW BANK ROBBERS WERE PUNISHED IN AMERICA.
A correspondent of the New York "Herald" dating Newcastle, Delaware,
December 10 writes: .................
Delaware is too small a State to be really healthy for bank bursters. Four
distinguished members of that fraternity - three of whom have graduated with
all the honours that the grand lodges at Sing Sing and Auburn could
onfer -- were to-day at this place placed in the pillory and afterwards
flogged with a nine thonged whip, in the presence of about 2000 spectators,
and at the close of the flagellation they, severally and collectively,
entered upon a course of 10 years' mural solitude within the walls of the
Newcastle County Prison. Delaware, having only three counties in its whole
territorial area, is not pompous enough to have a State prison.
The gentlemen referred to are known here, and in police and detective
circles as FRANK M. CARTER alias FRANK MCDONALD, alias MCCOY; JAMES HOPE,
alias JAMES THOMAS, alias JAMES J. WATSON; JAMES BRADY, alias ED. H.
HURBERT. and JOE HOWARD, alias JAMES KINGSLEY, alias JOSEPH LAWLOR.
On the evening of the 7th of November last, while the family of SAMUEL
FLOYD, cashier of the National Bank of Delaware, at Wilmington, were about
to seat themselves at the tea-table, a light rapping was heard at the front
basement door. MR. FLOYD left the table and opened the door, and instantly
five or six men, masked and wearing blue army coats, entered, and closing
the door, commanded immediate silence under penalty of death.
One held a pistol to MR. FLOYD's head, while another handcuffed him, and the
five or six other members of the family, being all females, were almost
A young girl named KATES, a niece of MR. FLOYD, seemed to swoon away, and
while the marauders were busy making safe disposition of the other persons,
MISS KATES quietly crawled to the door, opened it, ran upstairs in the dark
and escaping to the street gave an alarm.
One or two of the miscreants pursued her, but seeing that there was a hue
and cry raised they returned hastily and notified their associates to quit,
which they did. A police-officer encountered three of them, but they beat
him with blackjacks, and escaped, throwing away in their flight their masks,
some gags, the blue coats, and other articles. Lanterns were obtained, and
the discovery of these articles served to reveal their fugitive course.
Next day some parties who had leased some apartments to a number of men
whose actions were mysterious gave notice of the fact, and the four
prisoners above-named were arrested at their quarters. A large quantity of
burglars' implements was found in their rooms, and among them a portion of a
sectional "jemmy", the corresponding part of which had been left at MR.
FLOYDS's house. The disguise thrown away in the street also traced their
flight to within one block of where their apartments were located.
The writer then gives an exaggerated and sensational account of his journey
to the prison and the scenes on the road, and
On reaching the gaol this morning I was readily admitted, and passed by the
sheriff into the prison. In cell 18 I saw two of the prisoners, CARTER and
HOPE, in their shirt sleeves, walking up and down, conversing and smoking
pipes. They were decidedly neat, intelligent men, both light complexioned,
and having neatly-trimmed blonde whiskers. They were respectively about 38
and 32 years of age, and did not appear much worried.
BRADY and HOWARD were in a cell in the upper tier, two tall, well-made men,
with dark hair and whiskers, HOWARD being decidedly genteel and
prepossessing in appearance. They appeared to be 35 or 36 years of age.
Passing out into the gaol yard I saw the pillory and whipping-post about the
centre of the enclosure, and some negroes were just completing a temporary
board fence to keep the crowd away from the post. The law requires that the
whipping and pillory penalties should be inflicted between the hours of 9
a.m. and 4 a.m., and it was now approaching 10.
The instrument of punishment is a post about 20 feet high and about 12
inches square. Twelve feet from the ground an overhanging platform, six
feet square, is built, and about five feet above this are two arms of stout
planks. Each of these arms is pierced with three holes, the largest one in
the centre being about eight inches in diameter and the other two about four
inches, equidistant about twelve inches from the central opening.
The upper half of the arm may be lifted on a hinge, so as to intersect the
openings, and may be fastened down with a small iron hasp. This is the
Beneath the platform and attached to the main post, about five feet from the
ground are two iron wristlets, one on each side of the wooden column. This
is the whipping-post, and the hands of the culprtis are fastened in the iron
At a quarter-past 10, when there were perhaps 100 or 200 persons inside the
enclosure where the whipping-post stands, CARTER and HOPE were brought from
the prison in charge of the sheriff and an assistant, and ascended to the
platform of the pillory by a small stepladder. The upper portion of the
transverse arms were lifted, and the prisoners' necks were placed in the
central openings and their wrists in the smaller ones.
The upper half of the bar was then lowered so as to encircle their necks
and wrists, and was fastened down. CARTER was pilloried by Sheriff
ARMSTRONG, and was collared close, but HOPE, who was shorter of stature,
made out that he could not get up to it right, and the jaws were not closed
on him. Their hats were placed on their heads, the officers descended and
removed the ladder, and the prison yard gates were thrown open.
A fearful rush was made by the clamarous throng of whites and negroes
outside, who rushed pell mell up to the temporary fence inside of which was
posted a guard of 12 old men with muskets and bayonets fixed. It is very
doubtful whether the bayonets could be unfixed, so rusty were they.
In five minutes the area of the yard was filled to a crush by about 1200
persons - a rather rough lot. Some high trees surround the prison walls,
and scores of boys had climbed to the top of them to see the sight, while a
crowd of 1000 men, women, and children trended away across the market place,
straining to get a peep through the open gate.
The backs of the prisoners were towards the crowd. Both men were neatly
dressed in suits of dark clothing, but the nipping cold of the sunless
atmosphere seemed to chill them, and they kept moving their fingers to keep
them warm. The sight was mean.
About 11 o'clock a special train from Philadelphis arrived, bringing about
600 visitors, among whom were District Attorney WILLIAM B. MANN, Chief of
Police JONES, Coroner SEES, Detective WOOD, and several newspaper men. A
number of these gained admission to the inner enclosure, and everybody said
the attendance beat "Circus Day."
About a quarter-past eleven o'clock CARTER and HOPE were released, and
though they appeared slightly numb and chilled, they walked briskly back
into their cell. Five minutes later BRADY and HOWARD descended the pillory
and were locked up, but the yoke would not close down fast, and the crowd
didn't seem to think they were being put through "steep" enough. Some
laughter was occasioned by the expression of the pair as they looked at the
machine just before being fastened, and HOWARD chuckled outright, muttering,
"Well, I'll be damned !"
These two fellows were warmly and rather stylishly dressed, but seemed
to feel the cold severely, and shuffled their feet about considerably. At
the end of the hour they also were removed, the crowd having meanwhile
killed time with chaff, stamping their feet to keep warm, and expressing
impatience to see the whipping.
Five minutes later a keeper appeared having CARTER in charge, and led him to
the whipping-post. The crowd now became excited and noisy, and the sheriff
drawing the whip, a Leathern cat o' nine tails, with a short wooden handle,
from beneath his coat, commanded that no jeers be indulged in and that
silence be preserved. CARTER's arms were fastened to the posts by the
wristlets, and his coat taken off, revealing his naked white back and
shoulders. He had a white handerchief bound about his neck.
The excitement among the crowd became intense, and those in the rear shouted
"Stoop down in front ! " "Take off your hats!" "Stand back from the
post," &c. Several boys who were in danger of being crushed were lifted up
and passed over the heads of the crowd out of the gate.
Presently the sheriff took his half-smoked cigar from his mouth with his
left hand, and calculated his distance as he swung the whip backward, and in
another instant the thongs crashed with a rattling "Thrip" on CARTER's naked
As the blow fell he twitched sharply, and repeated the movement at every
stroke, while numbers of the crowd counted the lashes audibly - "one,"
"two" "three" "four" and so on to the end. On the sixth lash the skin
became red and when the tips of the thongs fell a black effusion followed.
But it was evident the sheriff was "letting up" on him, for with such a whip
the skin might, had he desired, have been lacerated at every stroke.
The castigation occupied about a minute and a half, and ceased when the
40 lashes had been administered. CARTER's hands were released and his coat
was tossed over his bright red back, and he was conducted back to the
Next came HOPE, a broad-shouldered, chunky fellow, with a muscular dorsal
development. He was quite well and appeared somewhat frightened, but took
his 40 with scarcely a shudder.
HOWARD followed, and the entertainment closed with the fortieth "thrip"
on BRADY's rather attenuated and poorly developed back.
The infliction, outside of the disgrace of the affair, was by no means
severe. No skin was cut on any of the thieves, no blood drawn, and
altogether people looked upon it as "a fraud" and "a farce".
HOW BANK ROBBERS WERE PUNISHED IN AMERICA.