Whipping Tree

category : Ethnic Heritage
Whipping Tree Standing on the lawn of the present day Seminole County Court House is the Whipping Tree where the Seminoles punished their criminals prior to 1907.

The government of the Seminoles was built upon the traditional form that had been used in the tribe for generations. Fourteen bands elected representatives to serve on the Seminole council, and that body enforced the laws, with the help of lawmen, known as the Light Horsemen.

When a criminal was apprehended, he was brought before the Court and if found guilty of a minor crime, was sentenced to twenty-five lashes across the bare back with a six-foot hickory switch. If the prisoner was tried for a second offense, the punishment was doubled. If it was a major crime such as murder, the punishment was death by a firing squad. In such case, the offender was allowed to go free on this word that he would return in time for his punishment.

At no time did a Seminole convicted for murder fail to return to face his executioners.

Address: Court House Lawn, 2nd and S. Wewoka

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