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Tarring y Feathering

Tarring y Feathering


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La práctica de aplicar alquitrán caliente y una capa de plumas a los oponentes era en gran parte una práctica estadounidense. La aplicación de alquitrán sobre la ropa del rival se consideró, con razón, un castigo menor que colocarlo sobre la piel desnuda. Solo se registraron algunos casos de esta práctica en la década de 1760, pero la aprobación de las leyes de Townshend provocó un fuerte aumento en su uso. Otra serie de incidentes se produjo en torno a la Ley del Té en 1773. Durante la Guerra de Independencia, el tarado de los conservadores se produjo con mayor regularidad y ferocidad, lo que resultó en la muerte de varias víctimas. uno.


Historia de EE. UU. Simplificada

Tarring and Feathering es una práctica estadounidense de aplicar alquitrán caliente y una capa de plumas para hacer cumplir la justicia no oficial o una especie de venganza. este tipo de castigo consiste en que las turbas se desnudaron hasta la cintura. Mientras todo su cuerpo estaba unido, el alquitrán caliente se vertió en todo el cuerpo de la víctima, y ​​aquí viene la parte interesante y cruel. O le arrojaban plumas por todo el cuerpo o rodaba por el suelo lleno de plumas.
Este castigo tenía que ver con la humillación de la víctima y antes de que lo lleven en un carro de madera frente a todos los ciudadanos, le dan la oportunidad de disculparse por todo su comportamiento a las demandas de la turba, si no se disculpa, lo expulsaron. ciudad. Este tipo de castigo nunca fue un caso oficial en los Estados Unidos de América.

Este tipo de castigo tuvo variaciones en muchos tipos de cosas, un ejemplo es en la Rebelión Irlandesa en este evento, le afeitaron la cabeza a la víctima, le pusieron alquitrán y expandieron todas las plumas en el cuerpo de la víctima. Algunas veces era más cruel, cuando ya estaba alquitranado y todas las plumas de su cuerpo, le iluminaban las plumas y dejaban que las plumas le quemaran y dañaran su cuerpo. En Estados Unidos, el primer incidente fue en 1776, el Capitán William Smith fue vertido con todo su cuerpo en alquitrán y plumas y fue dejado en el puerto de Norfolk, Virginia.

Otra víctima de este castigo fue John Meintz, tenía una historia interesante sobre el tarring y el emplumado. En los últimos dos años de la Primera Guerra Mundial (Primera Guerra Mundial), un grupo de personas ingresó a John Meintz, una casa de granjeros germano-estadounidense, porque pensaron que estaba siendo desleal a su país. Lo violaron, lo metieron en un automóvil y se fueron. Toda esta gente lo agredió, lo azotó, intentaron dispararle, y finalmente vertieron su cuerpo con alquitrán y plumas. En conclusión, Tarring and Feathering fue una forma no solo de humillación, sino también de hacer que las personas sufran y se sientan como nada de cierta manera.


Por qué los 'árboles de la libertad' se convirtieron en una obsesión después de la guerra revolucionaria

Colonos reunidos bajo el Árbol de la Libertad en Boston, con símbolos de la Ley del Timbre colgando de las ramas en protesta.

(Crédito: Archivo de Historia Universal / UIG / Getty Images)

Cuando el Marqués de Lafayette visitó los Estados Unidos en 1824 y 1825, había un destino imposible de perder en su itinerario. Ahora retorcido por la edad, el amado general recibiría una bienvenida de héroe mientras recorría los Estados Unidos que había ayudado a crear. Fue una gira de despedida y un guiño a un país que ahora tiene 50 años. Y el Marqués sabía exactamente lo que quería ver en Boston: un tocón de árbol.

No era un árbol cualquiera: era un poderoso símbolo de libertad que tenía un significado especial para quienes participaron en la rebelión. Boston & # x2019s Liberty Tree fue solo una de las docenas, tal vez incluso cientos, en las 13 colonias. Y no eran simplemente famosas en los nuevos Estados Unidos: las plantas simbólicas eran conocidas en todo el mundo.

Incluso como un tocón, el lugar donde alguna vez estuvo Boston & # x2019s Liberty Tree tuvo un significado especial. & # x201C El mundo nunca debería olvidar el lugar donde una vez estuvo el Árbol de la Libertad tan famoso en sus anales, & # x201D dijo Lafayette. Tres vítores resonaron cuando su carruaje pasó por el lugar donde antes había estado el árbol.

Colonos reunidos alrededor de un olmo en la esquina de las calles Essex y Washington en Boston, Massachusetts.

(Crédito: Archivos provisionales / Getty Images)

En el siglo XVIII, la gente solía utilizar puntos de referencia naturales como los árboles como lugares de encuentro, y los árboles eran puntos de referencia importantes. También tenían un poder simbólico: como señala el historiador Alfred R. Young, la tradición inglesa contiene muchas historias de árboles vinculados a eventos políticos, y & # x201C los colonos en general veneraban mucho a los árboles. & # X201D.

Tiene sentido, entonces, que los árboles cobraran especial importancia cuando esos colonos comenzaron a rebelarse. En 1765, un grupo de nueve patriotas que se autodenominaban los Nueve Leales & # x2014 un precursor de los Hijos de la Libertad & # x2014comenzaron a planear la resistencia a la Ley del Timbre.

La odiada ley, que fue administrada por un funcionario público llamado Andrew Oliver, requería que los colonos pagaran impuestos sobre todo, desde periódicos hasta juegos de cartas. Fue el primer impuesto aplicado a las colonias y se sintió como una afrenta para los empresarios como los Nueve Leales. En secreto, planearon una serie de protestas que se convertirían en los primeros actos públicos de resistencia a la Corona inglesa.

Eligieron un viejo olmo en la esquina de lo que ahora son las calles Essex y Washington como el sitio de su primera protesta. El 14 de agosto de 1765, colgaron una efigie de Oliver en el árbol junto con otros símbolos de la Ley del Sello. A medida que crecía la turba, decapitaron y quemaron el símbolo antes de dirigirse a la casa de Oliver & # x2019s. Unas semanas más tarde, apareció una placa de cobre en el árbol, declarándolo el & # x201CTree of Liberty & # x201D.

Los colonos enojados ahora tenían una voz & # x2014 y un símbolo. Comenzaron a reunirse regularmente debajo del árbol y su fama se extendió rápidamente a otras colonias. Pronto, ciudades tan lejanas como Rhode Island y Maryland habían nombrado sus propios árboles de la libertad.

Los árboles tenían primos: postes de la libertad. Eran menos decorativos que los árboles, pero tenían una función similar. Erigidos en todas las colonias rebeldes, los postes en forma de mástil eran lugares para publicar andanadas sobre la corona y la tiranía de 2019 y para reunirse para protestas, discursos y reuniones políticas.

& # x201CA Liberty Pole no tenía raíces, & # x201D escribe el historiador David Hackett Fischer. & # x201C Podía construirse en cualquier lugar en cualquier momento y en muchos tamaños diferentes. & # x201D Algunas eran incluso más altas que las ciudades coloniales & # x2019 edificios más grandes, escribe Fischer, y a menudo eran el escenario de disturbios y rivalidades sobre quién podía derribar el mástil y quién podría erigir otro.

Los bostonianos tarring y emplumar a un hombre, 1775.

(Crédito: Archivo de Historia Universal / UIG / Getty Images)

Como símbolos de la rebelión, había mucho en juego cuando se trataba de estos árboles y postes. El gobierno colonial y el ejército británico lo sabían y lo utilizaron para su beneficio. En 1775, por ejemplo, los soldados británicos castigaron a Thomas Ditson, un granjero que había intentado comprarle un mosquete a un soldado, desnudándolo, poniéndolo tarrón y emplumando, y obligándolo a desfilar frente al Árbol de la Libertad con un cartel que decía: en parte, & # x201C Libertad (o democracia) estadounidense ejemplificada en un villano. & # x201D

En ese momento, los árboles de la libertad eran tan conocidos que se habían convertido en puntos de referencia en sí mismos. Pero más tarde, en 1775, el amado olmo de Boston, que tenía casi 130 años, pagó el precio de su fama cuando un grupo de leales y soldados británicos lo derribó.

Los leales & # x201C le atacaron furiosamente & # x201D, informó un periódico local. & # x201C Después de un largo período de gemidos, juramentos y espuma, con malicia diabólica cortaron un árbol porque llevaba el nombre de & # x2018Liberty. & # x2019 & # x201D El árbol proporcionó 14 cuerdas de madera que se utilizaron para calentar edificios. utilizado por el ejército.

Desafiantes hasta el final, los colonos simplemente cambiaron el nombre del árbol & # x201CLiberty Stump & # x201D erigieron un poste allí y continuaron venerándolo. Otros árboles de la libertad se encontraron con destinos más felices y perduraron hasta bien entrado el siglo XX. Nueva York y la década de 2019 no se talaron hasta 1999, y se está restaurando un árbol en Annapolis mediante injertos y el cultivo de nuevas plántulas.

Incluso después de la revolución, los árboles de la libertad siguieron siendo un potente símbolo del poder de la rebelión y la protesta pública. Cuando estalló la revolución en Francia en 1789, los revolucionarios comenzaron a nombrar y plantar sus propios árboles de la libertad, y la costumbre también surgió en Italia y Alemania.

Lo que comenzó como un simple lugar de encuentro se había ramificado en una tradición tan inspiradora como famosa.


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El peor desfile que jamás haya pisado las calles de Boston

Este cuento está extraído del próximo libro de Nathaniel Philbrick Bunker Hill: una ciudad, un asedio, una revolución, disponible para pre-pedido ahora y en tiendas el 30 de abril de 2013.

De esta historia

VIDEO: Bunker Hill de Nathaniel Philbrick - Tráiler oficial del libro

Boston siempre había sido una ciudad de puntillas. Con solo una milla cuadrada de área, con una mera franja de tierra que la conectaba con el continente hacia el sur, esta isla con forma de renacuajo estaba dominada por tres colinas elevadas y ligeramente pobladas y un bosque virtual de campanarios. Desde el punto más alto de Boston, el Beacon Hill de 138 pies, era posible ver que la ciudad era solo una en un enorme anfiteatro de islas jorobadas y dentadas que se extendían más de ocho millas y media hasta Point Allerton al sureste. Ya fuera desde una colina, un campanario o una cúpula, los bostonianos podían ver claramente que estaban rodeados por dos desiertos profundos e interminables: el océano al este y el campo al oeste.

La topografía de Boston contribuyó al patrón aparentemente sin sentido de sus calles. En lugar de seguir una cuadrícula preconcebida, los senderos y caminos de carros originales del asentamiento # 8217 habían hecho todo lo posible para sortear las numerosas colinas y hondonadas, cortando las laderas en ángulos graduales para crear una media luna cóncava de asentamiento dentro de la cual más de cincuenta muelles y astilleros extendido desde la ciudad & # 8217s borde este. & # 160

Fue en invierno cuando esta ciudad de colinas cobró vida, al menos si eras un niño. & # 160Las calles normalmente llenas de gente, caballos, carretas de bueyes y carruajes se convirtieron, gracias a una capa de nieve y hielo, en senderos mágicos por los que un joven en su trineo de madera podía correr a velocidades asombrosas y maravillosas. El 25 de enero de 1774, había al menos dos pies de nieve cubriendo Boston. Trineos equipados con corredores se deslizaban a través de las carreteras por las que una vez habían caminado carros y sillas, moviéndose tan silenciosamente a través de los montículos blancos que se agregaron campanillas tintineantes a los caballos y cabestros # 8217 para que la gente de Boston pudiera escucharlos venir. Los muchachos en sus trineos no tenían este lujo, sin embargo, y esa tarde un niño que se acercaba al final de su carrera por Copp & # 8217s Hill en el North End se estrelló contra el oficial de aduanas de 50 años John Malcom & # 8212, es decir, en al menos, según una cuenta. En otro relato, Malcom tuvo una discusión con el niño cuando el niño se quejó de que Malcom había arruinado la pista de deslizamiento que pasaba por la puerta de su casa al arrojar astillas de madera a la nieve.

Malcom, como su vocación como agente de aduanas podría sugerir, era un leal y también tenía fama de perder los estribos. Alzando su bastón en el aire como para golpear al chico, gritó: & # 8220 ¡Me hablas con ese estilo, bribón! & # 8221 Fue entonces cuando George Hewes, un zapatero, se topó con ellos de pie junto a la boca. de Cross Street.

Hewes había participado recientemente en el Tea Party y era conocido por ser un patriota. Pero en este punto, las creencias políticas le preocupaban poco; le preocupaba que Malcom pudiera lastimar al niño indefenso y le dijo que lo dejara en paz.

Malcom se volvió hacia Hewes y lo acusó de ser un & # 8220vagabond & # 8221 que no debería presumir de hablar con un caballero como él. Además de comandar una gran cantidad de embarcaciones costeras, Malcom había servido como oficial en varias campañas durante la Guerra de Francia e India; también luchó más recientemente en lo que se conoció como la Guerra de Regulación en Carolina del Norte, donde asistió al Gobernador Real. Tyrone reprimió brutalmente un levantamiento de ciudadanos que se opusieron al sistema tributario que prevalecía entonces en esta parte del sur. Malcom afirmó haber tenido dos caballos disparados debajo de él en Carolina del Norte y luego escribió en una petición al rey que & # 8220 nadie podía ir más lejos en el campo de batalla cuando las balas volaban más gruesas, él estaba en su elemento. & N.º 8221

El amor de Malcom por el combate le había metido recientemente en serios problemas profesionales. A principios de ese otoño, mientras servía en la oficina de aduanas en Falmouth (ahora Portland), Maine, se apoderó de un barco y su tripulación de 30 hombres con el más mínimo de los pretextos. Su actitud pomposa y autoritaria había enfurecido tanto a los marineros que ellos & # 8217d lo desarmaron de su espada y le proporcionaron una & # 8220genteel & # 8221 capa de alquitrán y plumas & # 8212genteel en el sentido de que & # 8217d le dejaron la ropa puesta para proteger su piel. el alquitrán caliente. Malcom había sido humillado pero aparentemente no herido, e incluso su oficial superior en la oficina de aduanas había tenido poca simpatía por él. Para ese día nevado de enero, Malcom estaba de vuelta en su casa en Boston y discutiendo no solo con un chico hosco con un trineo, sino también con este zapatero entrometido.

A Hewes no le impresionaron las afirmaciones de superioridad social de Malcom, especialmente teniendo en cuenta lo que le había sucedido al agente de aduanas en Maine, una historia que se había repetido con gran entusiasmo en los numerosos periódicos de Boston. & # 8220 Sea como sea, & # 8221 Hewes respondió a la reprimenda de Malcom, & # 8220, & # 8220, de todos modos, nunca fui alquitranado ni emplumado & # 8221.

Esto fue demasiado para Malcom, quien tomó su bastón y golpeó a Hewes en la cabeza, rasgando un corte de dos pulgadas en su sombrero y dejándolo inconsciente. Cuando Hewes recuperó el sentido, un capitán Godfrey estaba amonestando a Malcom, quien pronto decidió que lo mejor para él era emprender una rápida retirada a su casa en Cross Street.

Toda esa tarde la noticia del incidente circuló por las calles de Boston. A las ocho de la noche, una multitud enojada se había reunido frente a la casa de Malcom. Para entonces, Hewes había visitado al Dr. Joseph Warren, al otro lado del Puente Mill en la cercana calle Hanover. Warren, médico y pariente lejano, le había dicho que si no fuera por su cráneo extraordinariamente grueso, Hewes sería hombre muerto. Siguiendo el consejo de Warren, solicitó a un funcionario de la ciudad una orden de arresto contra Malcom, pero ahora parecía que estaba a punto de hacerse cargo de un tipo diferente de justicia.

A primera hora de la noche, Malcom se había deleitado de manera frenética al provocar a la multitud, alardeando de que el gobernador Hutchinson le pagaría una recompensa de 20 libras esterlinas por cada & # 8220yankee & # 8221 que matara. Su indudablemente sufriente esposa, madre de cinco hijos (dos de los cuales eran sordos), abrió una ventana y suplicó a los habitantes del pueblo que los dejaran en paz. Cualquier simpatía que había logrado ganar pronto se desvaneció cuando Malcom empujó su espada desenvainada a través de la ventana y apuñaló a un hombre en el esternón. & # 160

La multitud se arremolinaba alrededor de la casa, rompiendo ventanas y tratando de llegar al oficial de aduanas, quien pronto escapó escaleras arriba hasta el segundo piso. Muchos bostonianos sirvieron como bomberos voluntarios, y no pasó mucho tiempo antes de que hombres equipados con escaleras y hachas corrieran hacia la casa sitiada en Cross Street. Incluso Malcom parece haberse dado cuenta de que las cosas habían dado un giro serio, y se preparó & # 8220 para hacer la defensa que pudiera & # 8221.

La violencia colectiva había sido una parte antigua de la Nueva Inglaterra colonial. Las multitudes tendían a intervenir cuando los funcionarios del gobierno actuaban en contra de los intereses del pueblo. En 1745, estalló un motín en Boston cuando una banda de la prensa naval se apoderó de varios marineros locales. Veintitrés años después, la ira por las depredaciones de otra banda de prensa contribuyó a la Libertad Motín de 1768, provocado por la incautación del barco de John Hancock & # 8217 del mismo nombre por los funcionarios de aduanas de Boston. En el sentido de que las multitudes intentaban abordar los agravios impunes cometidos contra la comunidad, eran una institución reconocida que todos los bostonianos, sin importar cuán ricos e influyentes pudieran ser, ignoraban a su propio riesgo. El 26 de agosto de 1765, cuando la indignación por la Ley del Timbre se extendió por las colonias, una turba de varios cientos de bostonianos había atacado la casa del vicegobernador Thomas Hutchinson, rompiendo ventanas, derribando puertas y saqueando la casa de su elaborado mobiliario. Pero como John Malcom estaba a punto de descubrir en esa gélida noche de enero de 1774, y como Thomas Hutchison había aprendido casi una década antes que él, la división entre una multitud cívica y una turba rebelde y vengativa era espantosamente escasa.

Bunker Hill: una ciudad, un asedio, una revolución está disponible para pre-pedido ahora y en tiendas el 30 de abril de 2013. (Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency, Inc.) Boston en 1774, donde el leal John Malcom fue embreado y emplumado. ((c) 2013 Jeffrey L. Ward. Cortesía de Viking.) Representación de un artista del tarring y emplumado de John Malcom en Boston. (The Granger Collection, Nueva York)

Malcom y su familia se acurrucaron en el segundo piso de su casa. Una puerta cerrada se interponía entre ellos y la multitud enojada de abajo. Oyeron el ruido sordo de las escaleras contra los lados de la casa y los gritos de los hombres y los niños mientras subían a las ventanas del segundo piso y perforaban el vidrio. Fue entonces cuando & # 8220a Mr. Russell, & # 8221 quizás William Russell, un acomodador (o ayudante de enseñanza) en una escuela en Hanover Street, apareció dentro de la casa. Sonriendo ampliamente, le aseguró a Malcom que venía en amistad y estrechó la mano del oficial de aduanas. Luego preguntó si podía ver la espada de Malcom. Desesperado por cualquier ayuda que pudiera encontrar, Malcom entregó el arma a regañadientes, solo para ver como Russell (quien, si en verdad era William Russell, había participado en el Tea Party) les gritó a los demás en la casa que Malcom ahora estaba desarmado. . & # 8220Ellos entraron inmediatamente, & # 8221 Malcom escribió, & # 8220 y con violencia obligaron a su conmemorativo a salir de la casa y lo golpearon con palos y luego lo colocaron en un trineo que habían preparado. & # 8221 Uno solo puede preguntarse qué es lo que la Sra. Malcom y sus hijos e hijas pensaban mientras lo veían desaparecer en las calles sin iluminación de Boston.

Después de una parada en un muelle cercano para recoger un barril de alquitrán (en algún momento, también se recogieron almohadas rellenas de plumas, tal vez tomadas de la propia casa de Malcom), la multitud, que ahora contaba con más de mil personas, arrastraron a Malcom por las calles nevadas hasta el centro de la ciudad, donde después de tres & # 8220Huzzas & # 8221 lo cargaron en un carro estacionado frente a la Aduana. Casi cuatro años antes, este había sido el sitio de la Masacre de Boston y, como consecuencia, el edificio ahora se conoce como Butchers & # 8217 Hall. Las hogueras eran comunes en esta parte de King Street, un espacio similar a una plaza de 60 pies de ancho frente al Ayuntamiento pavimentado con conchas marinas y grava donde también se ubicaban las cepas y los postes de azotes. Es posible que uno de estos fuegos se haya utilizado para calentar el alquitrán de pino rígido y fangoso (una destilación de la sustancia bituminosa que burbujea de un pino humeante) en una pasta negra vertible.

Fue una de las noches más amargas del año. El puerto de Boston se había congelado dos noches antes. Sin duda, Malcom estaba temblando de frío y miedo, pero esto no impidió que la multitud le arrancara la ropa (dislocando su brazo en el proceso) y untara su piel con alquitrán humeante que efectivamente habría sancochado su carne. Una vez que se agregaron las plumas, Malcom fue vestido con lo que se conocía en ese momento como una & # 8220 chaqueta moderna & # 8221: un anuncio doloroso y mortificante para el mundo de que había pecado contra las costumbres colectivas de la comunidad. Los tarros y las plumas se remontan a siglos atrás, a la época de las cruzadas, también se aplicó a las efigies utilizadas durante la Noche del Papa que varios leales de Boston antes que él habían sido embreados y emplumados, pero ninguno podía afirmar el nivel de sufrimiento que Malcom estaba a punto de soportar.

Pronto, la multitud comenzó a empujar el carro de Malcom por King Street hacia Town House, el edificio de ladrillo con cúpula adornado con el sello del rey que era el hogar de la legislatura de la colonia. Una vez pasada la Town House, giraron a la izquierda en la calle principal de Boston, conocida en esta parte de la ciudad como Cornhill. Con el edificio de ladrillo de tres pisos de la primera reunión congregacional de Boston, conocida como la Vieja Reunión, a su derecha, se abrieron paso a través de un grupo de edificios apretados de diferentes alturas. Las luces se encendieron en las ventanas a medida que pasaban, la multitud & # 8217s gritos y silbidos atravesando los revestimientos de ladrillos y tablillas y haciendo eco en las colinas a la derecha, donde se encuentra el asilo, el asilo para los & # 8220 desordenados y locos & # 8221 la casa de trabajo y el granero dominaban la extensión ondulada de 45 acres del Common.

Cornhill se convirtió en Marlborough Street cuando llegaron al bloque que contenía la residencia oficial del gobernador, Province House. En la cúpula de esta majestuosa estructura de ladrillo de tres pisos había una veleta de cobre que representaba a un indio con una flecha en su arco. Cuando el viento era del este, el indio de la casa provincial parecía apuntar a la veleta aún más alta en la aguja del antiguo centro de reuniones del sur, al otro lado de la calle. La multitud se detuvo entre estos dos altos edificios y ordenó a Malcom que maldijera al gobernador Hutchinson (quien estaba seguro en su casa de campo a diez millas de distancia en Milton esa noche) y & # 8220 di que era un enemigo de su país. & # 8221 Malcom se negó rotundamente .

Continuaron avanzando a través de la oscuridad helada, el carro y las ruedas del carro # 8217 crujiendo a través de la nieve. Ahora estaban en el corazón de South End, el lado más próspero de la ciudad, donde Marlborough se convirtió en Newbury Street. En la esquina de Essex a su izquierda, se detuvieron en el enorme olmo conocido como Liberty Tree. Un bastón se levantó de la parte más alta del tronco del árbol y en el que a menudo se ondeaba una bandera. Aquí fue donde las primeras protestas contra la Ley del Timbre se habían detenido en 1765, y en los años posteriores, el Árbol de la Libertad se había convertido en una especie de santuario druídico, claramente estadounidense a las libertades inherentes del hombre y al sentido de la Ilustración de & # 8220 el estado de naturaleza & # 8221 que existe antes de que un pueblo se someta voluntariamente a los dictados de un gobierno de su propia elección.

En esta fría noche, la gente de Boston estaba dirigiendo su ira contra un hombre que resuelta, incluso fanáticamente, insistía en que debían ceder ante un rey distante y una legislatura que ya no respetaba los derechos que Dios les había otorgado, que la obediencia no solo se debe pagar. a su soberano real, sino a un hombre como John Malcom: un subordinado amargado y codicioso cuyo mundo se estaba derrumbando debajo de él. Malcom estaba en el carro debajo de las ramas desnudas de invierno del árbol y una vez más se negó a maldecir al gobernador.

Continuaron por Newbury hasta donde se convirtió en Orange Street. Pronto se acercaron a la puerta de la ciudad en Boston Neck, a más de una milla de Town House. La vieja fortificación de ladrillos se remonta a la Guerra del Rey Felipe, cuando Boston se había convertido en un refugio para aquellos que intentaban escapar de los indios, y una vez que habían atravesado la puerta, se encontraban en la delgada hebra de tierra bañada por las olas que conectaba Boston con el ciudad de Roxbury. A ambos lados de ellos, las marismas heladas y los bajíos se extendían hacia la oscuridad. A la izquierda, pasando la puerta, estaba la horca.

Colocaron una cuerda alrededor del cuello de Malcom y amenazaron con colgarlo si no hacía lo que habían ordenado anteriormente. En ese momento, el alquitrán se había congelado en una costra congelada, su cuerpo y el núcleo interno probablemente se había enfriado tanto que ya no tenía la capacidad de temblar. & # 160Una vez más, se negó a maldecir al gobernador, pero esta vez pidió que & # 8220 pusieran sus amenazas en ejecución en lugar de continuar con la tortura & # 8221.

Le quitaron la cuerda del cuello a Malcom, le inmovilizaron las manos a la espalda y lo ataron a la horca. Luego comenzaron a golpearlo con cuerdas y palos & # 8220 de la manera más salvaje & # 8221. Según un relato, incluso amenazaron con cortarle las orejas. Por fin, dijo que haría & # 8220 todo lo que quisieran & # 8221. Lo desataron y lo obligaron a maldecir al gobernador ya la junta de comisionados de Aduanas. Pero sus sufrimientos no habían terminado.

Durante varias horas más continuaron haciendo desfilar a Malcom por las calles de Boston. No todos compartieron entre la multitud el despiadado deleite de algunas personas, incluido el hombre cuya intervención había iniciado esta horrible concatenación de eventos, el zapatero George Hewes, estaban tan consternados por el tratamiento de Malcom que intentaron cubrirlo con sus chaquetas. & # 160

Para cuando la multitud llegó a Copp & # 8217s Hill cerca de la casa de Malcom & # 8217 en el North End, debió de haberse desmayado, ya que no menciona esta última parada, que se describe en varios informes periodísticos. Aquí, en el cementerio cerca de la cima de la colina, estaba la tumba del hermano menor de Malcom, Daniel. Daniel parece haber tenido la misma personalidad ardiente que su hermano. Mientras que John se convirtió en un agente de aduanas, Daniel se puso del lado opuesto, el campamento más popular, y se hizo famoso para atrincherarse en & # 160su & # 160casa en 1766 para evitar que los agentes de la corona encontraran el vino de contrabando que supuestamente había escondido en su bodega. Cuando Daniel murió en 1769 a la edad de 44 años, era un héroe patriota, y la inscripción en su lápida lo describía como & # 8220 un verdadero hijo de la libertad / un amigo del Publick / un enemigo de la opresión / y uno de los más importantes. / en oponerse a las Leyes de Ingresos / en América. & # 8221

Daniel había sido célebre por violar las leyes de su época. Aquella noche de enero de 1774, su hermano leal John se sentó desplomado en una silla que alguien había colocado dentro del carro. Era cierto que era detestable e impulsivo, que virtualmente había invitado al trato que había recibido. Pero el hecho es que este & # 8220enemigo del pueblo & # 8221 había sido escaldado, congelado y golpeado a una pulgada de su vida, no porque hubiera golpeado a un zapatero, sino porque defendía las leyes impopulares que su hermano había despreciado. Había sido una demostración de violencia brutal, incluso obscena, pero la gente de Boston había hablado.

Alrededor de la medianoche, la multitud finalmente regresó a la casa de Malcom en Cross Street, donde lo sacaron rodando del carro como un tronco. Una vez que lo llevaron de regreso a la casa y su cuerpo congelado. había comenzado a descongelarse, su carne alquitranada comenzó a desprenderse en & # 8220 bistecs & # 8221. Aunque de alguna manera encontró la fuerza para hacer una deposición cinco días después, tomaría otras ocho semanas antes de que pudiera levantarse de la cama.

Más tarde, ese mismo año, Malcolm zarpó hacia Londres con la esperanza de obtener una compensación por lo que había sufrido a manos de la mafia de Boston. Además de una petición detallada, trajo una caja de madera que contenía el trofeo definitivo: un trozo marchito. de su propia carne alquitranada y emplumada.

El 12 de enero de 1775, asistió al dique en St. James & # 8217s, donde se arrodilló ante el rey Jorge III y entregó a su majestad una petición. Lo que Malcom quería más que cualquier otra cosa, le informó al rey, era regresar a Boston y reanudar sus deberes como funcionario de aduanas, pero no como cualquier funcionario de aduanas. Alquitrán & # 8230porque me gusta su olor. & # 8221

Del libro & # 160Bunker Hill: una ciudad, un asedio, una revolución& # 160, de Nathaniel Philbrick, que Viking publicará a finales de este mes. Copyright & # 169 2013 por Nathaniel Philbrick


Cómo se veían los tarros y las plumas del siglo XX

Estas fotografías registran la difícil situación del granjero germano-estadounidense John Meints, quien fue embreado y emplumado la noche del 19 de agosto de 1918 en Luverne, Minnesota, bajo sospecha de no ser lo suficientemente leal a los Estados Unidos. Como otros germano-estadounidenses amenazados durante la guerra, se había negado a participar en una campaña de bonos de guerra para satisfacción de sus vecinos. (A diferencia del minero Robert Prager, linchado en Collinsville, Illinois, en 1918, Meints escapó con vida). *

Esta práctica de los justicieros en particular se asocia quizás más comúnmente con la Revolución Estadounidense, cuando los patriotas echaron alquitrán y emplumaron a los funcionarios y leales británicos. El historiador Benjamin H. Irvin escribe que el tarring-and-feathering se volvió tan popular durante el conflicto que los colonos desarrollaron varias variaciones diferentes de la práctica. De vez en cuando alquitraban y emplumaban propiedades en lugar de personas, o, en el caso de un grupo de mujeres, usaban melaza y “las puntas suaves de las banderas que crecían en el prado” (probablemente pelusa de algodoncillo) como un equivalente simbólico.

El grupo que secuestró a Meints de su casa en 1918, lo llevó a la frontera entre Dakota del Sur y Minnesota, lo azotó, le aplicó alquitrán y plumas y le ordenó que saliera del estado, pudo haber estado usando esta práctica como una referencia explícita a la Revolución Revolucionaria. período.

Meints, no dispuesto a dejar pasar esta indignidad, nombró y demandó a 32 de los perpetradores. (He submitted these photographs as evidence in his case.) He asked for $100,000 in damages, but his case was dismissed. The Minneapolis Tribuna reported that Judge Wilbur F. Booth told the jury before its deliberations:

Indeed, when the defendants returned to Luverne, the Tribuna reported, the whole town turned out to celebrate.

Meints appealed, and eventually settled out of court for $6,000.

Twentieth-century tarring and feathering persisted in isolated pockets in the United States, with the KKK amongst its enthusiasts. And in France, some women suspected of fraternizing with German soldiers were subjected to the practice upon liberation.

National Archives, Records of the District Courts of the United States.

National Archives, Records of the District Courts of the United States.

*Correction, June 11, 2018: This post originally misstated that Prager was lynched in St. Louis. It was in Collinsville, Illinois.


The Tarring and Feathering of Joseph Smith

Tar and Feathers

It was sometime in the wee hours of the morning of March 25, 1832, when an infuriated mob exploded through the door of the summer kitchen of the John Johnson home in Hiram, Ohio. They pounced on 26 year-old Joseph Smith Jr. and began carrying him out the door. It all happened so fast Joseph was on the stoop before he came awake. Struggling, he freed one leg and kicked one of the mobbers in the face, sending him sprawling. The man jumped to his feet and with his hands all covered in his own blood, grabbed Joseph by the throat and choked him until he lost consciousness.

When Joseph revived he saw his friend and counselor, Sidney Rigdon stretched out unmoving on the cold ground. Supposing that Sidney was dead, Joseph asked the mob for mercy. They cursed and swore, “Call on yer God for help,” they said, “We’ll show you no mercy!”

Men seemed to come from everywhere and join the fray. Would they kill him or just rough him up. The decision was made to hurt him, and to that end they proceeded. Tearing off all his clothes but his shirt collar they beat, kicked, and scratched him. One man fell on Joseph like a mad cat and scratched his body with his nails, crying as he did, “That’s the way the Holy Ghost falls on folks.”

Someone brought forward a bucket of hot tar which they then smeared over Joseph’s lacerated body, at the same time trying to force the tar paddle into his mouth. Él resistió. They tried to force a vial of poison in his mouth—aquafortis, or nitric acid. Again he clenched his jaw and fought back. Had they succeeded the poison would have burned his throat ruined his voice, and probably killed him. As it was, they succeeded only in knocking out one of his teeth, and spilling the acid over his skin, severely burning him.

How bad was this attack? They tore out a patch of his hair by the roots that never grew back. They injured his side in such a way that it pained him the rest of his life and–they killed him. Joseph would later describe standing above his body and watching as the mob beat him and poured the acid over his face and neck.

Then a noise was heard and the mob fled in fear leaving Joseph upon the ground. Slowly, he regained consciousness. He tried to sit up but couldn’t. Unable to breathe, he pulled the tar from his mouth. After a time, he made his way home. Emma stood in the doorway and fainted at the sight of him. Joseph asked for a blanket for cover and went inside by the fire. His friends spent the night peeling and scraping the tar from his body, sometimes taking off layers of skin with it.

It made a lasting impression on mobbers and members alike when the next morning, the Sabbath, Joseph stood and meekly preached a sermon, following which, he baptized three people. About a week later, in obedience to revelation, Joseph set out for an extended visit to Missouri. He would not give up.

Why the mob? What was it that had so infuriated the locals that ministers, doctors, and former friends would join a mob to kill Joseph, or at least silence him. There were many reasons, chief of which was a new revelation Joseph and Sidney had received the month before– the three degrees of glory—Doctrine and Covenants 76, The Vision! Light and truth stir up darkness. It has ever been that way, and it still is. Don’t expect anything different and don’t give up. Endure to the end!

10 Responses

I want to know more about John Johnson and his family. Only his name can be found. Who was his wife, his children, etc. did he move on with the saints? My maiden name is Johnson. My roots stop at generation 5. His name was John Johnson, but no one in the family know anything about him. My grandfather and his siblings were raised not to drink coffee or tea and to abstain from tobacco products. My uncle, a professor at Purdue at the time, pointed out to my great aunts that it sounded like the Mormon religion. But I cannot find anything out.

Kate,
I would recommend getting in touch with the folks at the Church History library in Salt Lake. They could refer you to someone that can track the family history or one of their historians. I know that Luke Johnson came west in 1847 with the Vanguard Company and Brigham Young. He became a bishop in Tooele. His sister, Marinda Johnson was married to Orson Hyde and also came west. As far as I know the rest of the family became disaffected and remained behind. I believe John Johnson himself is buried in the small cemetery next to the Kirtland Temple.

this left me crying. I have to fulfil my baptismal vows and attend church meetings no matter how sick I am.


How did tarred and feathered people get the tar and feathers off?

Tarring and Feathering, as you podría suspect, was an incredibly unpleasant experience, and the same could be said for the reverse too. The removal, and how painful or hard it might be, depended heavily on how the tar was applied in the first place.

The best case scenario for someone submitted to this painful and humiliating chariavari was that they would be subjected to it while still clothed, and with tar straight from the barrel (it ought to be pointed out that this is pine tar, not the kind of tar they use for asphalt. The former doesn't need to be nearly as hot for application as the latter would!). Similar to being clothed, a victim might be wrapped in a sheet, similarly offering protection from the tar, but also making them essentially immobile for the time. If unclothed, the tar of course would be stuck right to the skin. And if heated up, burning and blistering of the skin would only add to the pain as well, although this was reserved for few cases. Many persons might receive something of a mixed treatment, stripped to the waist but tar applied over their pants, at least, although it was surely little comfort in the moment. Another way to add to the pain -both of application and removal - was the beating of mutilation of the victim, such as Thomas Foster, who was tarred by a mob in Natchez, but not before being partially scalped and the tar poured over the wound.

To remove the tar was basically a matter of solvents and elbow grease. Turpentine could help to break down the tar - but was itself quite painful once it touched the effected area of skin - but the victims would, in the end, just need a lot of scrubbing with an abrasive from friends or family (removal would need to take place well away from the crowd though. A doctor who came to aid a tarred Tory in 1777 only earned the wrath of the crowd, and was himself then targeted), taking off the tar along with body hair and often layers of skin too. This photo (not for the squeemish) comes from a 20th century tarring, of a German-American seen as unsupportive of WWI, and provides an idea of the after-effects. A condition known as 'tar acne' would often remain afterwards on the skin. To be sure, tarring and feathering itself wasn't fatal. The Mormon leader Joseph Smith, subjected to a tarring, one which he was able to nevertheless walk away from and reach home where he spoke briefly of the removal:

My friends spent the night in scraping and removing the tar, and washing and cleansing my body so that by morning I was ready to be clothed again. [. ] With my flesh all scarified and defaced, I preached to the congregation as usual.

Clearly, it had left him a painful reminder of that night, but by his account, not even incapacitated him for a day. A similar result, recounted by Dr. James Carnahan of a 1794 treatment of a Deputy Inspector named John Lyn recounts that:

[Lyn] was left tied to a tree so loosely that he could easily extricate himself. He returned to his house, and after undergoing an ablution with grease and soap and sand and water, he exhibited himself to the boys in the Academy and others, and laughed and made sport of the whole matter.

Tar, even when applied hot, would burn the skin but wasn't enough to kill. This isn't to say that it wasn't accompanied by other behavior though, which increased the pain and damage at the very least.

Although it seems to have been incredibly rare, a particularly vengeful crowd might "assist" in the removal. by lighting the tar aflame, which occurred in Boston to a man named Richard Owen, but again, this wasn't common. Other acts of violence happened too though. The aforementioned surgeon reportedly had his eyes gouged by the crowd too. More commonly, the crowd would parade the victim around though, sometimes for hours, which while not quite as vengeful looking, nevertheless insured that the tar had plenty of time to set (especially in cold weather), which would at the very least add to the pain of removal. One such description of this, from Boston in 1774, recounts:

But the most shocking cruelty was exercised a few Nights ago, upon a poor Old Man a Tidesman one Malcolm he is reckond creasy, a quarrel was pickd wth him, he was afterward taken, & Tarrd, & featherd. Theres no Law that Knows a punishment for the greatest Crimes beyond what this is, of cruel torture. And this instance exceeds any other before it he was stript Stark naked, one of the severest cold nights this Winter, his body coverd all over with Tar, then with feathers, his arm dislocated in tearing off his cloaths, he was dragd in a Cart with thousands attending, some beating him wth clubs & Knocking him out of the Cart, then in again. They gave him several severe whipings, at different parts of the Town. This Spectacle of horror & sportive cruelty was exhibited for about five hours.

Again, though, it ought to be pointed out tarring wasn't fatal, and Malcom's treatment was some of the worst. The purpose was punishment of transgressions - in the Revolutionary era, often Toryism, and later often used for violations of ɼommunity standards' - and the humiliation was, more than anything, what was aimed for. I bring this up to mention one more "tarring" and feathering, one which was probably the least painful of all, which Irvin notes in his essay, where a group of women decided to punish a young man who had interrupted their quilting, not with tar, but with molasses. It still served the same aim, the man's humiliation, but it was decidedly the easiest clean-up of anything else here.

So in short, removal depended greatly on how you were tarred. If you were lucky to remain clothed, the biggest pain might very well have been to your pride, while on the other end, someone stripped, given hot tar, and paraded for hours would likely have a very painful night, and a long, painful recovery afterwards.

Hersey, Frank W. C. “Tar and Feathers: The Adventures of Captain John Malcolm,” Colonial Society of Massachusetts Publications, Vol. 34 (1941), 429-73.

Irvin, Benjamin H. "Tar, Feathers, and the Enemies of American Liberties, 1768-1776." The New England Quarterly 76, no. 2 (2003): 197-238.

John Meints, Punished during World War I. ca 1917-1918. John Meints v. O.R. Huntington, Et. Al, 1917 - 1918 Law Case Files, 1898 - 1938 Record Group 21: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 - 2009, National Archives at Kansas City, Kansas City.

Levy, Barry. "Tar and Feathers" Journal of the Historical Society 11 no. 1 (2011) 85-110.

Smith, José. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2014)

Ward, Townsend. "The Insurrection of the Year 1794 in the Western Counties of Pennsylvania" Memoirs Of The Historical Society of Pennsylvania Vol. 6 M. Carty And Davis (1858)

Wyatt-Brown, Bertrand. Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South, Oxford University Press (2007)


The Tar and Feathering of Father Joseph M. Keller Slaton, Texas 1920s

It was past the buds of bright red verbenas that the Civic Culture Club had urged the people of Slaton to plant so visitors who passed through by train would come to know the town as, Slaton Home of the Red Verbena . It was beyond the altar that sat undisturbed in the dark church already prepped for Sunday morning mass in the St. Joseph Catholic Parsonage.

On that night with only the light of the astonishing stars that have flickered against the skies from unknown regions throughout little known histories Father Joseph M. Keller staggered into the Slaton city limits, past cotton fields and newly built houses on the north end of town, verging on the appearance of a monster rather than a man.

Mostly nude he limped, wearing nothing but a layer of tar and scorched skin, cooled only momentarily by the gentle night breeze which, every once and while, may have made some of the white feathers attached to his body flutter, but not many.

He walked down the street that night, In the book Preachers of the Plains , John Peddigrew Hardesty wrote about Father Keller s journey into town. With only one house shoe on, neither barefooted nor shod, to his room.

Father Keller may have screamed, may have shouted, may have cried out and shrieked so loud it could have shattered a thousand communion chalices. However, there are no known reports of anyone hearing anything unusual from the barren cotton fields. All that remains are the various accounts of what may have happened in that field and the years leading to that one fateful night, nothing more than hearsay.

Slaton Catholic Church in the 1920s
T he murmurs and whispers began years before in 1917, two years after the sinking of the Lusitania but the same year American troops fired the first shot in the trench warfare of WWI. That year in Slaton, anti-German sentiments radiated from The Slatonite and Joseph M. Keller was chosen by the Catholic Diocese of Dallas to serve in the town after a brief stay in Hermleigh. His hometown, however, was thousands of miles away in Aachen, Germany.

The book Slaton Stories reported that the Catholic Church in Slaton dates to the same year as the town s birth, 1911. The first mass was held on December 8, 1911, on the day of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Catholic Holy Day celebrating the Immaculate Conception of Mary the mass was officiated by Father Reisdorff with two Catholic families of Frank Simnacher and A.L. Hoffman, celebrating.

Because Father Reisdorff had an agreement with M.F. Klattenhoff that he would receive a commission on all land sold to the Catholic families who bought land in the area, the church grew tremendously within four years, and by 1917 the time had come to appoint a new pastor. The new pastor was German native, Reverend J.M. Keller.

J . Michael Carter of the Catholic Diocese of Amarillo, wrote in an essay that when Keller arrived the small town chatter began early. Keller s life entered a web of personality conflict and confusion, Carter wrote. By this time, the First World War raged in Europe and the editor of the Slaton newspaper began to denounce the Germans as barbarians and Huns, he wrote. Carter also wrote that since Keller had strong feelings about the war, he eventually confronted the editor of The Slatonite with an, angry retort.

After this exchange, it is believed, the rumors began, Soon the jaundiced eyes of Slaton turned toward Father Keller, Carter wrote.

The first rumor that circulated was that The Kaiser, the emperor of Germany whose policies helped bring about WWI, had appointed several hundred priests to do spy work in the United States. Keller, at one point, was believed to have been one of those priests, especially since Keller insisted on keeping a picture of Kaiser Wilhelm above his desk and, did not remove it until his parishioners forced him to, Carter wrote.

When the United States entered the war, it is believed that Keller made a patriotic gesture at a rally by buying war bonds. The next week, at another patriotic rally, the speaker had publicly denounced him because he was the only one who had failed to pay his share, Carter wrote.

The community was not pleased and the congregation became more and more divided over Keller s appointment. According to Carter, In 1918, some of the parishioners sent a petition to Bishop Lynch asking him to remove Father Keller but Lynch rejected the petition and ordered the petitioners to grant Keller the respect due him as a priest.

However, the people were not deterred and soon the priest was now a target for more personal ridicule and suspicion. Soon Keller was accused of lechery and adultery by citizens who also, claimed that he had syphilis, Carter wrote.

The complaints continued to the bishop but, once again, there was no hard evidence of suspicious behavior. Bishop Lynch investigated these charges thoroughly, Carter wrote. Documents of this investigation reveal that Keller was a man of odd habits and strange personality quirks but no evidence could be found to support the more serious charges against him.

At this time, according to the book Slaton Stories , German families continued to expand the church s size and, in 1919, a third and larger church was built. This building, costing approximately $10,000 was finished in 1920 by the men of the parish.

Two years after the construction of the new building the next round of rumors began to circulate. This time, the priest was accused of breaking the seal of confession. This time, the people had had enough.

Father Keller Sitting On His Porch
Slaton, Texas, 1920s

O n the night of March 4, 1922, Carter wrote. Keller got up from his reading to answer a knock at the door.

When Keller answered the door, he was met with six masked men wielding pistols.

It is believed one man fired a shot at the ceiling before the other men burst across the doorsteps and detained the shocked priest. Bound and gagged as the priest s terrified housekeeper watched, Keller was hauled away to a waiting car.

Carter wrote that Keller s assailants stuffed him down into the back seat and sped away past the safety of the newly installed city lights and out into the dreadful darkness of the country night. They drove out on a lonely road, Carter wrote. To a place several miles north of town, and when they stopped, the terrified Keller rose up to see 15 or 20 men waiting for him.

On Sunday, March 5, 1922, a meeting was held at the Odd Fellows Hall in Slaton. A statement was made to the associated press, The citizens of Slaton gave approval and commendation to the act, and it is the unanimous conviction that a very undesirable citizen had been dispatched.

John Peddigrew Hardesty wrote in his autobiography, Preachers of the Plains . There were some exciting times during those days, one night a group of men kidnapped the Catholic priest, took him to a secluded spot, whipped, tarred and feathered him.

The night before the meeting, however, many citizens did not know of the exact extent of the attack or the brutality that took place beneath the nightly stars.

Soon after the rumbling and rattling of the 1920 s vehicle stopped, there may have been a brief moment of silence in the dark night a small thought may have floated from man to man, but it was too late to go back. The decision had been made. Before the cruel and degrading tar and feathering, there was the lashing of whips that sliced the air and cut through Father Keller s skin.

After ripping his clothes off, it is believed his captors poured substantial blistering black tar over the priest before soft white feathers were thrown at him. As the tar cooled, encasing his skin and closing off his pores, the men left him out in the fields to find his way back.

Various accounts stated that the men told Keller, You have twenty-four hours to get out of town, soon after the inhumane assult. There are no records left as to how long the beating lasted. All that is known is that Father Keller was left alone in the barren field of chirping crickets and crying coyotes. Facing no other option, Father Keller staggered back into town with one house shoe on and wearing an outfit of tar and feathers.

J. Michael Carter wrote in an essay for the Diocese of Amarillo, The scourging ended after about 20 strokes, but the ordeal continued as the vigilantes proceeded to cover him with a coat of heated tar. Someone produced a pillow and after ripping it open, the group gleefully scattered feathers all over him.

H ardesty claims that Dr. Tucker helped the priest in his time of crisis. Dr. Tucker spent hours extracting the tar and feathers from his hide, he wrote. It is believed Keller may have stayed with Dr. Tucker that night, however, the next morning he boarded a train at Posey, and left for parts unknown, he never returned to Slaton, Hardesty wrote.

Other documents show that Keller spent a few days healing in a hospital in Amarillo. Carter said that when Keller left Amarillo, he stayed in a St. Louis hospital and it took him a year to fully recover from the incident, although, some say he never truly did.

Essentially, it would cause deep second and third degree burns, Michelle Harvey said in a recent interview. Harvey is a Physical Therapy Supervisor for the University Medical Center in Lubbock and works regularly with burn victims. Once the tar s been applied, you re talking about a risk of infection and a significant loss of fluids which can cause various problems including organ failure and death. Harvey also said that since there were no regulations at the time as to the temperature of tar, there is really no accurate gauge as to the extent of the trauma that could have been imposed on Keller.

H ardesty wrote that for months, gum shoe men, and women, walked the streets of Slaton, trying to figure out, who done it, but they had no luck. Hardesty also wrote that the District Judge stated he would, get to the bottom of this. However, nothing was ever done. The public was too well satisfied, he wrote.

Some have claimed it may have been the work of the Ku Klux Klan, however, according to Hardesty who neither acknowledged nor denied ever being affiliated with the Klan, wrote, Certain ineligibles, men whose private life, or social and business connections were such as to bar them from membership, ganged together and pulled some rough stuff on a few hoodlums, and laid it to the work of the Ku Klux Klan.

Hardesty, however, wrote, I did know a great deal about the work of the Klan in the early twenties. I do know that the law enforcement officers, school trustees, many of the county officials, including the sheriff, were Klansmen, and that the backbone of the evangelical churches of the community consisted of Klansmen.

According to what Hardesty wrote, though, It is a fact, brought out in the open next day, that at the very hour the priest was being tarred and feathered, a group of Catholic men were in the office of Attorney R.A. Baldwin, pleading with him to organize a, party, to wait on the priest and do exactly what was at the moment happening to him [Keller].

However, Carter wrote that the attack left many German Catholic residents in the community with a feeling of apprehension and mistrust that they too could be attacked in their community, their hometown. Even the Sisters of Mercy, who were in Slaton at the time, were advised to leave until mind-sets were less hostile and the populace was, once again, forbearing.

Carter claims that no Catholics were among the ones who attacked Keller. The attack provoked a response from Texas Catholics and several chapters of the Knights of Columbus sent letters to protest the City of Slaton. Carter also wrote that the National Catholic Welfare Council offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the guilty party. Bishop Lynch watched and waited, Carter wrote, he [Lynch] considered placing Slaton under interdict but soon he realized that the damage was done and the church [St. Joseph] would have to go on about its business.

T he whereabouts of Keller, however, did not remain a complete mystery. According to Carter and various historical documents, after his yearlong recuperation, Keller s last location was believed to be in Wisconsin.

According to a document about the history of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish in Burlington, Wisconsin, on February 27, 1927 more than 6,000 people attended the reception of a new Reverend, Fredrick J. Hillenbrand.

The time was spent in an informal manner, the document stated. Music was furnished by Joseph Hoffman s Orchestra, which played from an alcove of banked ferns. It is believed that the Rev. Joseph M. Keller was one of the people who attended this party. He was serving at a parish in Brighton, Wisconsin.

With his scarred body and mind, Keller found himself surrounded by new camaraderie and a calm existence in Wisconsin. The murky night of March 4, 1922, as he was left to die in a bleak cotton pasture outside of Slaton, remained only a ghostly memory to him. One can only hope that the nightmare eventually wilted away like the final petals of a red verbena in the beginnings of a Slaton autumn.

© James Villanueva
Guest Column, October 1, 2010
Originally Published in The Slatonite, Slaton's newspaper
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Tarring and Feathering - History

Emerging Revolutionary War is honored to welcome back historian Katie Turner Getty.

"Señor. Malcom, I hope you are not going to strike this boy with that stick.”[1]

George Robert Twelves Hewes portrait, entitled “The Centenarian” by Joseph G. Cole, 1835.

The speaker was 31-year-old Boston shoemaker and Tea Party participant, George Robert Twelves Hewes. Hewes had been walking along Fore Street in Boston on the afternoon of January 25, 1774 when he came across 50-year-old Loyalist and Customs officer, John Malcom, furiously shaking a large, heavy cane at the head of a small boy.

Five weeks earlier, on December 16, 1773, Hewes had “dressed [himself] in the costume of an Indian, painted [his] face and hands with coal dust in the shop of a blacksmith”[2] and participated in the Tea Party. Appointed boatswain, he and his company boarded one of the three ships and proceeded to soak 342 chests of East India Company tea in Boston Harbor. After dumping the tea that night, the men “quietly retired to [their] several places of residence… No disorder took place… and the stillest night ensued that Boston had enjoyed for many months.”[3]

Hewes had encountered no trouble when destroying the tea that night. But on this frigid Tuesday afternoon in January, trouble had found him—and was brandishing a cane.

Malcom turned his attention from the small boy to the shoemaker and exclaimed, “You are an impertinent rascal! It is none of your business!”[4]

Undeterred, five-foot, one-inch Hewes further protested Malcom’s rough treatment of the boy. Malcom called Hewes a “vagabond” and further declared that Hewes “should not speak to a gentleman in the street.”[5]

Hewes replied that he was “neither a rascal nor a vagabond, and though a poor man, was in as good credit in town as [Malcom] was.”[6] The exchange between the two men became even more heated.

Malcom called Hewes a liar and Hewes then retorted, “be that as it will, I never was tarred and feathered any how.”[7]

Malcom, overcome with fury, then struck Hewes in the head with his heavy cane, opening a bloody gash in the shoemaker’s forehead and causing him to fall to the ground unconscious.

John Malcom was one of the few people in the American colonies who had been tarred and feathered. Before this night was through, he would earn the dubious distinction of having been tarred and feathered twice.

“A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practised at Boston”, 1774.

Malcom’s first encounter with a sticky suit of tar and feathers was in October of 1773 in Falmouth (now Portland, Maine). While working as a Customs officer, Malcom had overzealously seized a ship called the Hermanos for not having a register. Once aboard the ship, he “heartily damned the sailors, menaced the mate, [and] threatened to sheath his sword in the bowels of any one who dared dispute his authority.”[8]

So enraged were local sailors by Malcom’s behavior, that he was “disarm’d of Sword, Cane, Hat & Wig”[9], tarred and feathered over his clothes, and paraded through the streets for about an hour before being released.

This episode was common knowledge in Boston. In a letter to the Earl of Dartmouth, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson indicated that Malcom had complained to him on several occasions of “being hooted at in the Streets for having been tarred and feathered”[10] Clearly, the Boston populace was not sympathetic to Malcom. And after his assault on Hewes, they would become even less so.

When Hewes regained consciousness, he found himself surrounded by a crowd of onlookers who urged him to visit the prominent Boston physician, Dr. Joseph Warren, to have his wound treated. In the meantime, Malcom had “contrived to get a weapon in his hand and keep [the crowd] at bay, till he could flee to his house”[11] on Cross Street.

When Hewes visited Dr. Warren at his office on Hanover Street, the doctor made a cheerful comment relating to the fortuitous thickness of Hewes’s skull. He said, “you are the luckiest man I know of, to have such a skull—nothing else could have saved you.”[12]

Word of Malcom’s assault on Hewes had quickly spread through Boston and people had started gathering outside his house. Far from being cowed by the unfriendly crowd, Malcom “bullied the people”[13], slinging verbal taunts and threats. In response to jeers, Malcom shouted “You say I was tarred and feathered, and that it was not done in a proper manner, damn you let me see the man that dare do it better!”[14]

Even 243 years later, Malcom’s defiance of the crowd is astonishing. From inside his house, he ran his sword out through the window and inflicted a flesh wound on an unlucky bystander named Waddel. He threatened the crowd with pistols and proclaimed that he would receive a thirty pound reward for every person he killed[15]. The formidable Malcom was eventually removed from his house “amidst the huzzas of thousand[s]”[16] He was dragged on a sled to King Street, site of the Boston Massacre, and was stripped of his clothes.

In Falmouth, during his first tar and feathering in 1773, the tar was splashed onto his clothes. This time, Malcom’s clothing was torn off, exposing him to the frigid winter air. The tar was poured over his bare flesh. He was then transferred to a cart and gleefully hauled to various points across town.

Sixty years later, Hewes reflected upon the event in his biography. “Then they drove to Liberty Tree—to the gallows on the Neck—back to the Tree—to Butcher’s Hall again—to Charlestown Ferry—to Copp’s Hill—flogging the miserable wretch at every one of these places.”[17] Four hours later, he was unceremoniously deposited at the doorstep of his house, frostbitten and senseless.

The reader may feel a slight twinge of disappointment, or perhaps even a grudging respect, upon learning that throughout his ordeal, John Malcom comported himself with “Great Fortitude and Resolution”.[18] Malcom’s recovery was lengthy. When frostbite caused his tarred and feathered flesh to peel off in strips, Malcom packed the skin in a box to preserve it and present to the King as proof of his service and sufferings.[19]

In May, 1774 Malcom sailed for England (presumably with his box of tarred flesh and feathers). Once in England, Malcom embarked on a letter-writing campaign to request redress for all of the suffering and expense he endured in America in furtherance of his service to the King.

In 1776, Malcom wrote a letter to the Lords of the Treasury. In referencing the altercation with Hewes in Boston and his subsequent tarring and feathering, Malcom stated that in “endeavoring to do my Duty in getting the Tea landed, [he] was barbarously and inhumanely treated…[and] was obliged to quit America”.[20]

Also in the letter, he accused his former Customs supervisor in Falmouth, Francis Waldo, of various misdeeds. Waldo had strongly disagreed with Malcom’s seizure of the Hermanos and the two had never reconciled.

Waldo’s ire is still palpable 240 years later as, in response, he meticulously dismantles Malcom’s claims in a letter to the Lords of the Treasury, point by painstaking point:

“Mr Malcom went to Boston and brought upon himself a second Taring [sic] and Feathering…which happened some time after the India Companys Teas were destroyed and was occasioned by his beating a Boy in the Street in such a manner as to raise a Mob”[21]

Many factors probably contributed to the second tarring and feathering of Malcom, but any efforts he might have made to land the tea were not among them. As Waldo pointed out, the tea had been destroyed over a month before Malcom was tarred. Malcom was already unpopular in town due to objectionable past actions such as the Hermanos seizure. He was a particularly overzealous and aggressive Customs officer. And the man he assaulted was a Patriot and tea party participant.

“Bostonian’s Paying the Excise-Man, or Tarring and Feathering”, attributed to Philip Dawe, London, 1774.

Additionally, Bostonians felt a simmering resentment toward the authorities. When some men tried to persuade the crowd to stop tormenting Malcom, they refused to relinquish him.[22] They believed the government would fail to punish him for his wrongs—assaulting the boy and Hewes, threatening the populace, and sticking Waddel with his sword. Instead, the crowd chose to maintain possession of Malcom and mete out the justice that they believed the government would not.

Malcom was in England barely a year before he demonstrated a desire to return to Boston. In a petition to the King, Malcom states that he “long[s] to be sent out to my Family in Boston and to my Business in the Customs in the Boston Government…I would Humbly Implore your Majesty let Me be soon sent from London to Boston…”[23]

In the end, Malcom was assigned to the Independent Company of Invalids at the Plymouth Garrison. He penned several more letters and petitions asking for additional compensation from the British government.

In 1782, the Commissioners on American Loyalist Claims reviewed his case and decided to allow him another 60 pounds per year on account of his having been tarred and feathered, but in no small part because “he appears to be in some degree insane.”[24]

Malcom lived out the rest of his days in England, passing away in 1788 at age 65. He never went back to Boston, nor ever saw his wife or children again.

Hewes lived to be 98 years old. In 1775, after war broke out, he escaped from Boston in a fishing boat and went to Wrentham, Massachusetts. He served in the militia until the end of the war. Eventually he moved to upstate New York. He was married for 70 years until his wife, Sally, passed away at the age of 87. By all accounts, he was lively and spry until the end. On the 4 th of July, 1840, he was preparing to attend a celebration as a special veteran guest. On that day, George Robert Twelves Hewes stumbled while stepping into a carriage and suffered a serious injury. He died that November.

[1] Boston-Gazette and Country Journal, 31 January 1774. The Annotated Newspapers of Harbottle Dorr Jr., Massachusetts Historical Society http://www.masshist.org/dorr/volume/4/sequence/522 Hereinafter cited as Boston-Gazette.

[2] A Citizen of New York [James Hawkes], A Retrospect of the Boston Tea-Party, with a Memoir of George R. T. Hewes, a Survivor of- the Little Band of Patriots Who Drowned the Tea in Boston Harbour in 1773 (New York: S. Bliss, printer, 1834), 38. https://archive.org/details/retrospectofbost00hawk Hereinafter cited as Hawkes.

[8] Boston-Gazette and Country Journal, 14 February 1774, quoted in Frank W.C. Hersey, Tar and Feathers: The Adventures of Captain John Malcom, reprinted from the Transactions of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, volume XXXIV, (Boston: D.B. Updike, The Merrymount Press, 1943), 440.

[9] Boston-Gazette and Country-Journal, 15 November 1773, quoted in Hersey, 440.

[10] Governor Thomas Hutchinson letter to Earl of Dartmouth, 28 January 1774, quoted in Hersey, 448.

[11] A Bostonian [Benjamin Bussey Thatcher], Traits of the Tea Party Being a Memoir of George R. T. Hewes, One of the Last of Its Survivors With a History of That Transaction Reminiscences of the Massacre, and the Siege, and Other Stories of Old Times (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1835), 128. https://archive.org/details/traitsteapartyb00thatgoog Hereinafter cited as Thatcher.

[15] Massachusetts Spy, 27 January 1774, quoted in Hersey, 444.

[18] John Rowe, Anne Rowe Cunningham, Edward Lilly Pierce, Letters and diary of John Rowe: Boston merchant, 1759-1762, 1764-1779, (Boston: W.B. Clark Co., 1903), 261.

[21] Francis Waldo, letter to Lords of the Treasury, November 21, 1776, quoted in Hersey, 442.

[22] Massachusetts Spy, 26 January 1774, quoted in Hersey, 445.

[23] John Malcom, petition to King George the Third, January 12, 1775, quoted in Hersey, 463.

[24] Commissioners on American Loyalist Claims, Decision, as quoted in Hersey, 469.


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