The Stocks:

Freda Savahl
2 min readAug 24, 2021

A Colonial Punishment & Strange Crime Stories.

Permission Details: Author Pearson Scott Foresman has released this work worldwide into Public Domain. VRT ticket# 2010061110041093. Link;

The Stocks were the sentence of punishments in the 16th & 17th centuries. Criminals would sit with feet in a wooden frame, where local people throw rotten food or stones at them. Their crimes were swearing, drunkenness, dishonesty & disorderly conduct in public.

The idea was an invention by a Boston carpenter, Edward Palmer, in 1643. First, they place wooden boards with hinges around the ankles and wrists. Then they subject the victim to insults, kick him, spit upon him, and perform other inhumane acts.

In the Book of Acts of the Apostles, they detail the treatment of Paul and Silas:

”Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.”

The Old Testament Book Of Job also describes the stocks, referring to God: “He puts my feet in the stocks, he watches all my paths.”

In the American colonies, they used the stocks for punishment and to restrain individuals awaiting trial.

Now, Edward Palmer, the inventor of the stocks, is the first person to get this sentence in the stocks. His crime; guilty of charging too much for his work!


In 1902, they sentenced Charles Justice to 20 years in the Ohio State Penitentiary for attacking his father-in-law with a knife.

While in prison, he improved the electric chair by adding iron restraining clamps. In 1910, he was a free man for exemplary service to the state. But, a few months later, he murders a man, and in 1911 they execute him in his improved electric chair!

Wow! dying by your creation — how ironic!

Source: Uncle John’s Actual & Factual by Bathroom Readers Institute.

Thank you for reading my brief article.

Freda Savahl

Retired Nurse Practitioner WHC /Contract Provider Deployment Military Services. US Citizen. Immigrant from South Africa 1978.