It is All About Time


About time1About time2
It is already Thursday and I haven’t posted since Monday, you may have noticed. It is all a question of time. I hope to post The Sinclair Method later this week and then on with In the Service of the Wolf.

It is all about time really and that got me thinking about time and how attitudes change.

I saw the line drawings above, which originally from a New York exposé magazine from the 19th century. If I recall the article (which I could not find) it was about rough justice way out west. The article decried how the westerner was no respecter of women and that they could receive the same handling as the men if not worse. The picture depicts a quaint custom called riding the rail, a fate often reserved for con-artists, uppity outsiders and even anti-slavers.

Sometimes men like this were lynched, but to the women they were more merciful and were merely stripped naked and whipped. Riding the rail involved sitting a woman (and sometimes a man as pictured above) on a rail fence for some hours or made to ride a narrow pole or plank and run out of town.

Apparently a lady reporter from the East went to investigate and very nearly met the same fate herself. When she demanded justice from the local law officer he actually spanked her and put her on a train. Undeterred the woman snuck back into town. This time she was captured by a posse of townswomen and stripped naked and treated to a ‘good old-fashioned switching’ or two. She didn’t come back.

No doubt the town’s people thought it was fake news.

Nor did these things end with the 19th century. The cowboy above is demonstrating how they handled party girls, loose women, Sunday raiders (no idea what that is), liberals and hippies.

There are several westerns where the heroine is tied to a tree and switched or hung from her wrists. Perhaps an echo of this tradition, if one can call it that.

In 1970 a young lady reporter from New York went in search of answers.

For one ex-sheriff and his wife this was considered overkill.

“Damn if any women like that came to my town I would just turn them over my knee and spank their bare bottoms for them. If they needed a switching too then what is wrong with the barn or a woodshed. These aren’t bad kids, just a bit wayward.”

What about reporters? They were asked. One can’t help wondering if our intrepid reporter wasn’t a touch nervous at this point.

“Them too if they gave me too much sass or came on too nosey,” the old man told her. “For the girls anyway, I have my gun for these so called gentlemen of the press.”

5 Responses to “It is All About Time”

  1. 1 Veronica

    The illustration of two women on a fence belongs to a novel that is titled ‘the memories of dolly morton’

    • 2 DJ

      Thank you – indeed it is a detail I meant to include after I looked at it again – and thinking about it the manish looking person must be Dolly’s compatriot – the tomboy that got her into the railroad in the first place – not a man as I suggested. It is the other I think that must be from the magazine – I wish I could find the clipping – maybe that is wrong too.

      Thanks again.

  2. 3 Karen

    Thanks Veronica, do you know if the book memories of dolly morton is still in print or ebook? Karen

    • 4 DJ

      I believe it is – they used to sell it in WH Smiths of all places – try Kindle maybe. If I get a chance I will look it up.

      The full title is The Memoirs of Dolly Morton, It is available from Amazon for 99p 🙂

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