Branding, a common punishment in colonial America, required stoves to heat the irons. The "T" stood for thief, the "M" for manslaughter. The letter used for branding was defined to fit the offense. Thieves usually had "T" branded on the hand. A brand could be applied to hands, cheeks, shoulders, or foreheads, as a way to publically mark the offense. "T" for thief was branded on the light-fingered criminal's hand. - Photo by Dave Doody Alice Earle's 1896 Curious Punishments of Bygone Days showed readers what bilboes did to the legs of lawbreakers. A brank, the "gossip's bridle," effectively silenced an offender. A seventeenth-century English ducking stool, in the Colonial Williamsburg collections, would be swung out at the end of beams over a river or pond. Some dunked died. - CWF Collection A ducking stool was a seat attached to a long pole mounted on a support. A scold or nagging woman, on the order of the borough court, would be strapped to the stool and ducked in the waters of the Fergus. The pillory, or "stretch-neck," usually stood in the main squares of towns, in full view of the townspeople. Here interpreter Steve Holloway leads Karen Clancy to her punishment. In the pillory, the subject cannot hide her face from bystanders. Sometimes townspeople threw food and other objects at the culprit. The pillory was used as punishment for a variety of offenses, e.g., treason, sedition, arson, blasphemy, witchcraft, wife beating, cheating, and drunkenness, among others. Fifteen feet high, this pillory and post—from seventeenthcentury England and in the Colonial Williamsburg collections—held the offender by the neck and hands. Whipping Post: The Whipping Post was where criminals were publicly whipped before onlookers and neighbors. Bind Out: Children, especially those of poor families, were “bound out.” The court contracted with someone for the child to serve as his or her apprentice for a number of years. Sometimes the punishment for a crime was for people to “work it off” by being sold to someone as a servant for a period of years. Hogarth depicted a hanging at Tyburn's Tree in London. Such events could bring as many as 50,000 spectators. - CWF Collection Crowds loved a good ear nailing or whipping or, choicest of all, a hanging. Interpreter Steve Holloway as the sheriff thwacks the ear of a miscreant portrayed by Ralph Thurman. Photo by Dave Doody A hanging required a gallows, a rope, a hangman, and a guest of honor. Richard Nicoll looks on as interpreter Darin Tschopp carries off the recently deceased, portrayed by Willie Balderson. - Photo by Dave Doody The body is carted away for burial. To show that no humans were injured in this "hanging," here’s Colonial Williamsburg interpreter Willie Balderson, amused…following his "escape."