Wednesday, October 3, 2012

3 October 1899: Swearing, Not Snake Oil, Lands "Progressive Tooth Puller" in Jail

On this day in 1899, a local snake-oil salesman was reportedly sent to jail not for selling fake medicine, but for cursing at the man who disputed his claims and demanded his money back.

Cursing in public, especially in mixed company, was a serious offense in Athens, often with large fines attached and/or sentences requiring the offender to attend Sunday School each week for six weeks as a public way to atone for their public sin. Ladies who cursed were often treated more harshly by the local courts, as women were seen as not being properly feminine if they committed such a transgression, while men had merely shown poor judgement.

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