A man's hand branded for freeing slaves, 1845 | 22 Words

A man’s hand branded for freeing slaves, 1845

By Abraham Piper

Photo of a man's hand branded with "SS" for "Slave Stealer"

(The image is of a right hand with two S‘s branded beneath the thumb. The old-style of photography reversed images.)

From the Daguerreian Society…

The inscription on the back of the case reads:

This Daguerreotype was taken by Southworth Aug. 1845. It is a copy of Captain Jonathan Walker’s hand as branded by the U.S. Marshall of the Dist. of Florida for having helped 7 men to obtain “Life Liberty, and Happiness.”

S.S. stood for “Slave Stealer” to those who inflicted the punishment. To others, it meant “Slave Savior.”


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