The Colonial Courthouse
This building is inspired by the Courthouse at Williamsburg, Virginia, built in 1770. The County Court heard petty crimes and civil cases such as debtors' disputes with creditors from abusive masters. Serious capital offices were heard in the General Court.
Elections and public announcements were held at the Courthouse. The Declaration of Independence was read from the steps of the Williamsburg Courthouse by Benjamin Waller. The signing of the Treaty of Paris, ending the Revolution, was proclaimed and celebrated from its steps.
The cupola on the roof was for ventilation. The original courthouse architect is unknown. Architects: Mike Hamrick, Blondheim & Mixon.
The Stocks and Pillory
Upon conviction, punishment was swift in colonial America and occurred in the public square. The humiliation was highly effective, usually lasting a few hours and occurring in all weather.
Minor crimes meant time in the Stocks (feet only). Serious no-capitol crimes lead to the Pillory (standing with head & hands locked). The pillory was more dangerous since the hands were not free for self-defense. People were often pelted with eggs, rotten vegetables, stones, or even beaten by onlookers often resulting in permanent
injury or death. Both caning and a whipping post were sometimes used. Signs were often placed nearby saying what crime had been committed. These forms of punishment were inflicted on all individuals from merchants who cheated customers to runaway slaves.