Note: The punishment for running away from The Florida School was 100 lashes when I (Robert Straley)
was there in 1963. I was a Hospital Boy and treated several of the boys that had received over 50 lashes, up to the
100 lashes handed out for running. Description is as follows: 25-40 lashes: Skin: Deep black and purple, with
pinholes of blood, at least 8-15 on each side of buttocks: Reason: The small blood vessels close to the skin were
ruptured by the heavy and repeated blows. The blood would spread under the skin and with repeated blows would
rupture through what I would describe as blood blisters. Over 50-70: The same only worse. 70 to 100 and the skin
would rip into shreds, taking over a month to heal. Most of the boys that received severe beatings would be treated
and sent to solitary confinement. I am not a doctor, nor in any way pretend to be one or have knowledge of medical
practices. I can only relate in simple words what I saw with my own eyes. If you think my description of a hundred
lash beating is way off, please have someone give you 100 lashes with just a regular leather belt and then give me
your thoughts on the matter.
I added an article that I found in the web site below that shows that in 1963 we children were no better off than this
poor man, a slave in 1815, and the 100 lash punishment that was given to him.
100 Lashes:1815 Flogging of a Slave
Note that this was around 1815, and the number of lashes inflicted on this poor man. This still goes on for children
in places in the world, this did not end at FSB until 1968........
"Rouse ye, and break the massive chain,
The fetter'd slave that binds;
And check the sorrow and the pain
The wretched negro finds."
FIVE different biographies of the subject of the following pages have been published, during the last seven
years,--two in the United States and three in Great Britain. Of these, one was translated into German, and
appeared in Dresden, and another was published in the French language in Paris. The writer of this, however,
fancies that the relation which she holds to the author of "SKETCHES OF PLACES AND PEOPLE ABROAD," gives
her an advantage over those who have preceded her.
WILLIAM WELLS BROWN was born on the farm of Dr. John Young, near Lexington, Kentucky, on the 15th of
March, 1815. His father's name was George Higgins, half brother to Dr. Young. The Doctor removed to the State of
Missouri, and took with him William and his mother, the former being then an infant. Dr. Young located himself in
the interior of the State, sixty miles above St. Louis, in a beautiful and fertile valley, a mile from the river. A finer
situation for a farm could scarcely have been selected in any part of the country. With a climate favorable to
agriculture, and soil rich, the most splendid crops of tobacco, hemp, flax and grain were produced on the new
plantation. On this farm, Elizabeth (William's mother) was put to work at field service. Distinguished for her strength
both of body and mind, and a woman of great courage, Elizabeth was considered one of the most valuable slaves
on the place. Although Dr. Young was not thought to be the hardest of masters, he nevertheless employed, as an
overseer, a man whose acts of atrocity could scarcely have been surpassed in any of the slave States. Grove Cook
was a large, tall man, with rough features, red hair, grey eyes, and large, bushy eyebrows, which gave his face the
appearance of a spaniel dog. Like most negro drivers, Cook was addicted to drunkenness, and when the least
intoxicated, would use the whip without mercy upon those with whom he came in contact. This was the man selected
by Dr. Young to look after his plantation, and superintend its affairs.
William was separated from his mother at an early age, and was but seldom allowed to see her. The young slave
was taught by bitter experience the want of a mother's care and softening influence. At the age of eight years, he
was taken into his master's medical office, and was employed in tending upon the Doctor. As William grew older, he
became more serviceable in his new situation. When only about ten years old, the tender feelings of the young
slave were much hurt at hearing the cries and screams of his mother, and seeing the driver flogging her with his
negro-whip. As he heard the loud, sharp crack of the lash, and the groans of her who was near and dear to him,
William felt a cold chill run through his veins. He wept bitterly, but could render no assistance. What could be more
heart-rending than to see a dear and beloved one abused without being able to give her the slightest aid?
Overseers at the South generally pride themselves upon their ability to break the stubborn spirit of the negro; and
the man who shall suffer a slave, male or female, to disobey a rule, without being able to flog him or her for such
disobedience, would be immediately discharged by the proprietor. Ability to manage a negro is the first qualification
for a good slave-driver.
The Doctor had, among his fifty slaves, a man named Randall, of stout frame, and more than six feet in height, and
known as the most powerful slave on the farm. If there was heavy work to be done, Randall was always selected to
do it; and his task was sure to be finished before any other person's. The Doctor had flogged every slave on the
place but Randall, and he would willingly have whipped him, but that he feared the undertaking, for Randall had
often been heard to say, "No white man shall ever whip me; I will die first." Cook, from the time that he came upon
the plantation, had frequently declared that he could and would flog any nigger that was put into the field to work
Doctor Young having been elected to represent his district in the State Legislature, Cook took the entire
management of the plantation. The Doctor had repeatedly told him not to attempt to whip Randall, but he was
determined to try it. As soon as he was sole dictator, he thought the time had come to put his threats into
execution. He soon began to find fault with Randall, and threatened to whip him if he did not do better. One day he
gave him a very hard task,-- more than he could possibly do,--and at night, the task not being performed, he told
Randall that he should remember him the next morning.
On the following morning, after the hands had taken breakfast, Cook called out Randall and told him that he
intended to whip him, and ordered him to cross his hands and be tied. The slave asked why he wished to whip him.
He answered, because he had not finished his task the day previous. Randall said his task was too great, or he
should have done it. Cook said it made no difference, he should whip him. The slave stood silent for a moment, and
then said--"Mr. Cook, I have always tried to please you since you have been on the plantation, and I find that you
are determined not to be pleased or satisfied with my work, let me do as well as I may. No man has laid hands on
me to whip me for the last ten years, and I have long since come to the conclusion not to be whipped by any man
living." Cook, finding by Randall's looks and gestures that he would resist, called three of the hands from their work,
and commanded them to seize the insolent slave and tie him. The men stood still; they knew their fellow-slave to be
a powerful man, and were afraid to grapple with him. As soon as Cook had ordered them to seize him, Randall
turned to them and said--"Boys, you all know me; you know I can handle any three of you; and the man that lays
hands on me shall die. This white man can 't whip me himself, and therefore he has called you to help him." The
overseer was unable to prevail upon them to aid him, and finally ordered them to go to their work.
Nothing was said to Randall by the overseer for more than a week. One morning, however, while the hands were at
work in the field, he came into it, accompanied by three friends of his,--Thompson, Woodbridge, and Jones. They
came up to where Randall was at work, and Cook ordered him to leave and go with them to the barn. He refused to
go; whereupon he was attacked by the overseer and his companions, when he turned upon them, and laid them
one after another prostrate before him. Woodbridge drew out his pistol and fired at him, and brought him to the
ground. The others rushed upon him with their clubs, and beat him over the head and face until they succeeded in
tying him. He was then taken to a barn and tied to a beam.
Cook gave him above one hundred lashes with a heavy cowhide, had his wounds washed with salt and water, and
left him tied during the night. The next day, he was untied, and taken to a blacksmith's shop, and had a ball and
chain attached to his leg. He was compelled to labor in the field, and perform the same amount of work other hands
FLOGGING: FOR CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS NINE WE WERE NO BETTER OFF THAN SLAVES