Posted by: Marty | September 6, 2011

The Whipping of Obadiah Holmes

September 05, 1651 – Obadiah Holmes was publicly flogged in the Colony of Massachusetts when the prosecutor, John Cotton said that he, along with Dr. John Clarke, and John Crandall deserved to be put to death for visiting William Witter, a sick friend in the town of Lynn and conducted Baptist worship services in his home. Governor John Endecott said that they deserved to “be hanged.” However, Cotton said that he would let them off with a fine, but if they did not pay the fine and leave the territory they would be well whipped. While the three men were confined to jail, friends in Newport, Rhode Island, raised money for the fines for all of the men. Crandall was released from the fine. Dr. Clarke and Holmes refused permission for their fines to be paid, believing that it would be an admission of guilt. As Clarke was led to the whipping post, a friend pressed money into the hands of the Puritan official, and Clarke was released. “Agreeing to the payment of my fine would constitute admission of wrong-doing,” Holmes continued to maintain. As he was stripped to the waist, Holmes preached a brief sermon to the dense crowd of men, women, and children that formed a circle about the whipping post, exhorting them to remain faithful to their beliefs. According to Holmes’s own testimony, the flogger used a whip with three hard leather lashes, stopped three times to spit on his hands, and applied the whip with all his might. Each of the thirty strokes cut three gashes through the skin. Holmes said later about the whipping: “…having joyfulness in my heart, and cheerfulness…I told the magistrates, ‘You have struck me as with roses.’”
Condensed by Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 366-67.


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