Old Cecil County Jail

The Cecil County Sheriff administered the lash in the jail yard at the old jail on North Street. This form of punishment was last administered here in 1940 by Sheriff Randolph.

Q: I know Delaware kept the whipping post until 1972, but can you tell me when it was last used in Cecil County?

— Dave

A: Maryland moved more quickly than Delaware to eradicate whippings. In 1882, Maryland changed its code so that only one offense, wife-beating, called for whipping and/or imprisonment. The last time a corporal punishment sentence was handed down in Cecil County was December 1940, when the circuit court ordered that the sheriff administer 10 lashes to a convicted wife-beater. The Cecil Democrat, a newspaper, remarked that this was the first time in 46 years that a person was sentenced to the whipping post in Cecil County. The cat-o-nine-tails were wielded by Sheriff David Randolph, who carried out the punishment in public. Although Delaware’s criminal code permitted floggings until 1972, the whip was last used in 1952.

— Mike Dixon

Do you have a question about Cecil County that the Historical Society of Cecil County’s panel of experts might be able to answer? Send them to history@cecilwhig.com.

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