Tithing Rod

Date

1780-1800

GUSN

GUSN-190788

Description

In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries the tithing rod was an invaluable tool of office. On Sundays, the tithing man, carrying his rod, noted absentees and ensured order and attention during meetings. This was no insignificant chore, given that these meetings usually lasted for three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. It was the tithing man's job to wake sleepers and quiet fidgeters. While women who were caught sleeping were woken by the tickle of a feather or the gentle nudge of a rabbit's foot affixed to the end of the rod, boys who misbehaved and men who were chronic sleepers were assured of a hard rap on the head or knuckles.\n

Details

Descriptive Terms

tithing
painting (coating)
wood (plant material)
Device, Visual Signaling
Pointer
Stick, Pointer
Stick, Pointer

Label

"Cherished Possessions": In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries the tithing rod was an invaluable tool of office. On Sundays, the tithing man, carrying his rod, noted absentees and ensured order and attention during meetings. This was no insignificant chore, given that these meetings usually lasted for three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. It was the tithing man's job to wake sleepers and quiet fidgeters. While women who were caught sleeping were woken by the tickle of a feather or the gentle nudge of a rabbit's foot affixed to the end of the rod, boys who misbehaved and men who were chronic sleepers were assured of a hard rap on the head or knuckles.

Associated Building

Original to Beauport, Sleeper-McCann House (Gloucester, Mass.),

Maker

Unknown

Object Type

Visual Communication T&E; Visual Communication Devices

Credit Line

Gift of Constance McCann Betts, Helena Woolworth Guest and Frasier W. McCann

Accession Number

1942.4733

Places

Massachusetts (United States)
New Hampshire (United States)