DON'T BE A MAN, DON'T TAKE THE LICKS - Corporal punishment, brutally severe by today’s standards, was the order of the day in the early years of Laurens County. In1812 a cattle thief was found guilty by a Laurens County judge. The judge ordered the convicted man be taken immediately to the public square and that his shirt be stripped off his back and his hands tied to a tree. Thereupon the officer of the court administered thirty-nine lashes across his bare back. The process was to be repeated the following day and the day after that. After the third round of lashings, the court ordered that the thief be branded, much like the cattle he stole, with the letter “R” on his shoulder. There was a way out. The defendant could escape the lashings and the branding if he paid the court costs, the sheriff’s fee and the charges of those who popped the whip and pressed the branding iron against his naked, bruised and slashed back. Though “cruel and unusual” punishment was banned by both the Federal and Georgia constitutions, the practice of lashing wasn’t terminated until years later.