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Joe Lucas turned out OK after his 10 lashes with leather whipPosted Monday, October 24, 2011, at 4:20 PM
A couple months back, in the Aug. 1 edition, I wrote a column about spanking and referred to an Evansville Courier story that made mention of a then-14-year-old Linton boy.
It was small item in the 75 years ago column dating back to 1936.
The article read: "Joe Lucas, 14, of Linton, took 10 lashes with a leather whip today as punishment for his third conviction for petty larceny. He pleaded guilty to having stolen 10 sacks from a mill.
"Given a choice between a jail sentence and a licking, he took the latter, which was administered by his father."
I mentioned in the column that dishing out "lashes" does sound a bit harsh on the surface, but it does illustrate the importance of discipline. A local judge realized that fact and probably saved young Joe Lucas from a more serious life of crime in his future.
I stated in the column that I didn't know if the Joe Lucas in this story is still alive or not. He would be about 95 now.
Well, on Thursday afternoon I received a telephone call from Joe Lucas' younger sister -- Wilma Lee Smith, who lives in Greenfield near Indianapolis.
Smith, who's in her 80s, explained to me that a cousin, Jean Burch, who lives in the Greene County area, had recently mailed her a copy of my column.
Smith wanted to let me know that Joe Lucas turned out to be just fine after his spanking ordeal, which made newspapers across the state.
Joe Lucas died in 1994.
She explained that former Linton mayor Dr. E.V. Bull was also the judge who dished out the sentence to young Joe Lucas of 10 lashes.
"He (Joe) was very mischievous ... he was always getting into things," Wilma Lee told me with a laugh, "But he turned out to be a great guy."
His sister said Lucas went to become a successful businessman in the Livingston, Texas area -- owning a restaurant at a resort for many years.
He was also active in Trinity Masonic Lodge No. 14 and attained the highest position of Worshipful Master twice -- a position similar to president of any other organization.
The Linton native also loved to travel the country on his motorcycle and had visited 44 of the 50 states on his cycle going to the oldest Masonic Lodge building in each state, according to his younger sister.
Wilma Lee said she just wanted to let the people in the Greene County area know that her older brother was a very good citizen in his community and that the whipping he received years earlier didn't hurt him at all.
That was some wonderful news to receive.
I guess the whippings that I and many others received growing up weren't such a bad thing.
I'm not sure a "time out" would have gotten my attention when I was growing up like the sting from a fresh-cut maple tree switch did when it left a red spot on my legs when my mother used it as the rod of correction on me.
Thanks Wilma Lee for sharing with me news about your older brother.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be contacted by telephone at 847-4487 or by email at email@example.com .
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