Cowhide Justice in Baltimore

In 1898 Baltimore, hotelkeeper J.L. Boswell had a unique way of settling a debt with a man who wouldn’t pay.

Boswell caused a scene on the corner of Lexington and Calvert streets, according to The Baltimore Sun, after a conversation with a man who owed him money took a turn.

“The men were seen to meet near the corner and have a few minutes’ conversation when [Boswell] pulled from his sleeve a long cowhide and began to whip the other, who ran into the Metropolitan Savings Bank … followed by [Boswell] with the cowhide, who was striking him at every step,” reported the newspaper.

Boswell explained that the man owed him $25 and said that Boswell would have to sue him to get it. “‘I did not think a judgment against him,’ said Mr. Boswell, ‘would be very much account, so [I] decided to use the cowhide and teach him a lesson.”

Source: The Baltimore Sun, October 7, 1898

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