“The colonists’ bete noir was the horse thief. A North Carolina act of 1786 provided that ‘for the first offense the culprit should stand in the pillory for one hour, be publicly whipped with 39 lashes, nailed to the pillory by the ears, which were afterwards to be cut off, and be branded on the right cheek with the letter “H” and on the left cheek with the letter “T.” ‘
“Such penalties proved to be insufficient, and four years later the penalty was changed to death without benefit of clergy.”
– From “The Fruited Plain: The Story of American Agriculture” by Walter Ebeling (1979)
Coincidentally, maybe flogging is making a comeback.