Crime and Punishment in Colonial Cape Cod

August 4th at Josiah Dennis Manse - One Day Only
(Courtesy of the Dennis Historical Society)

Crime and Punishment as seen through the laws and discipline of Colonial America will be the centerpiece of an informing and intriguing one-day-only exhibit at Josiah Dennis Manse on Saturday, August 4, from 1-4 pm.

Visitors will learn about some of the most common crimes under English law in pre-Revolutionary colonial Massachusetts, including public drunkenness, slandering, counterfeiting, gossiping, lying, and not attending church. Manse goers that day will also become well versed in many of the most common punishments of the time, including stocks, pillories, whipping posts, ducking stools, and bilboes (17th-century wrought-iron stocks for the feet).

In addition to this special event, guests will be able to tour the 1736 homestead of Josiah Dennis, the 18th century minister for whom the town was named in 1793. The house tour is hosted by costumed docents and includes period furniture as seen in the front parlor, the keeping room, the birthing room, and multiple bedrooms. An ongoing maritime exhibit in the back ell provides a marvelous narrative that highlights Dennis’ rich history of daring seacaptains and commercial shipbuilding.

The Manse, found at 61 Whig Street at Nobscusset Road, continues to be open Tuesdays from 10am - 1pm and Thursdays from 1pm - 4pm through August 31. Admission to the Manse is free, with donations gratefully accepted. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on