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Snake handling here, not so much as sport...

Here are a few wondrous stories of serpents upon the earth in early Adair County, from all sections, as reported in the Adair County News, a century ago, a mere sampling. Those who are fearsome of such critters, read no further.

Compiled by Mike Watson

Geo. Coomer killed a large rattle snake near our town (Gradyville) last week. [Adair County News, 20 June 1900, Gradyville]

Long blacksnake killed with chicken in its mouth--Mr. Chas. Yates informed us that he killed a snake, in his chicken yard, one day last week that measured 5 feet and 4 inches in length. The reptile had a chicken in his mouth. [Adair County News, 19 June 1901, Gradyville]



Two household rattlers killed in peculiar manner at Dunnville--Last week Mrs. Bennett Stackhouse who lives five miles from here, and her daughter, killed two rattle snakes in a very peculiar manner. Mrs. Stackhouse heard a noise between the wall paper and the wall, and thinking it was a mouse, she caught it in her hand calling her daughter to come and help, and when they broke the paper, they were in possession of a large rattle snake, and before it could be killed another one rattled behind the paper, but in a few minutes they were both dispatched. The write also stated: I was in that country three nights last week, and I imagined I could see snakes all the time [Adair County News 17 July 1901, Dunnville]

Snake bite reported at Tarter--Dora Redford had a child to get bit by a snake last week. [Adair County News 17 July 1901, Tarter]

Mama copperhead had 22 babies inside--It is getting a little late for snake stories, but here is one told by Mr. Elzy Damron, who was in the office last Monday. Alfred Burton, a young boy who is at work on Mr. Damron's farm came up a few days ago with a copperhead snake he had killed upon the premises. It was an uncommonly large one, and it was suggested to the boy to cut it open. Upon doing so twenty-two young snakes spread themselves upon the ground. [Adair County News, 4 September 1901]

Rattler killed with 11 rattles and button--Prof. G.B. Yates informed us that he killed a rattle snake with eleven rattles. [Adair County News 18 September 1901, Gradyville]

Rattler autopsy reveals good size squirrel latest meal--Mr. Wm. Irvine, Camp Knox, called to see us last Monday... Wood Hendrixson, who resides in the vicinity, killed a very large rattle snake a few days ago. It weighed ten pounds and had ten rattles and a button. It was cut open and in the stomach was a good size squirrel. [Adair County News, 2 October 1901]

A scary night with household serpents on Snake Creek--We are indebted to our friend, Dr. J.N. Page, for the following snake story: "A few years, ago," said he, "a gentleman of this county visited a friend living on Snake Creek, and before retiring the man of the house informed the visitor that should he see snakes during the night he need not be alarmed. The visitor retired, but not to sleep. He kept his eyes fastened on some holes he could see about the fireplace. Presently the reptiles commenced coming in and continued to enter until he counted sixteen very large ones. He was afraid to get up and remained watching during the night. The next morning the host invited his friend to remain with him several days and nights, promising to accompany him home. "No," said the visitor, "I want to see my wife and children once more before taking another night with snakes." [Adair County News, 26 February 1902]

Huge rattlesnake stuffed, put on exhibit--Last Sunday afternoon Mr. Frank Bybee killed a rattle snake just below Otha Bybee's spring, on J.T. Page's Oklahoma farm, that measured four feet, two inches in length and fourteen inches in circumference. Mr. Piner Harvey has it stuffed and any party who desires to see the largest rattler in Adair can see the same at Mr. Harvey's store [at] Fairplay... [Adair County News, 30 July 1902]

His late snakeship did not care for snowy areas on Christmas day, 1920--Mr. E.L. Feese killed a very large black snake Christmas day. Snow was on the ground, but snakeship did not care for that. He was running the woods, hunting for rabbits and other game. It was five feet long. [Adair County News, 7 January 1920]


This story was posted on 2020-07-26 07:53:21
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Still have snakes six feet long in Breeding, KY hills



2020-07-28 - Southern Adair County, Breeding, KY - Photo by Marie Freeman.

Marie Freeman writes,

"I read Mike Watson‘s article and I wanted to add there’s still snakes 6 feet long in these hills.

They’re a welcome sight to me as long as they are not venomous :-)

This rat snake has lived on my property for quite a few years now - I believe it’s the same one.

Just doing its job.

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