RVA50 Object 25 “Flogger, circa 1855”

Flogger, circa 1855
Richmond, Virginia
Wood, leather, iron

What is this?  Found in an antebellum Richmond commercial building, this flogger is a reminder of one of the harsher chapters in the city’s history.

As a shipping port and an expanding railroad city, Richmond was an active participant in the slave trade.  The movement of enslaved Africans being sold or hired out created opportunities for escape as well as fear in the Americans began to question the legal and moral ramifications of slavery in the United States.

This leather flogger or paddle was used as an object of intimidation and correction in the 1853 warehouse of the Turpin and Yarborough Tobacco Company, located at 2411 E. Franklin Street.  A surviving document indicates that the company purchased 71 enslaved persons between the years 1851 and 1860.

Gift of Pohlig Brothers, 1951