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Way Back When

October 31, 2010

(The Spirit is pleased to share with our readers vignettes of life in the 19th century as originally reported in past issues of the newspapers. These reproduced stories include their original headlines and spelling.)

Local Intelligence
(January 15, 1896)
SOMETHING OF A SNAKE
A Clarion Man Tells Rather
a Peculiar Story

The Clarion Jacksonian says: “We were fearful lest Scott McLaughlin would not be able to furnish us with a first-class snake story this year, but late last night he wakened the snake editor and gave him this:

He has allowed his garden hose to lay out since last spring. The nozzle had been removed. Scott concluded that it would be well enough to clean off the sidewalk for the New Year’s callers, and went to his cellar, turned on the water and rushed out to turn the stream on the walk.

Imagine his astonishment to find the hose wriggling all over the lawn, no water escaping, but a peculiar noise coming from the end of the hose. He got hold of the squirming hose (which, by the way, is of the cotton variety), felt his way carefully to the end, then dropped it.

There was a large rattlesnake with about three inches of the hose down his throat, his fangs securely entangled in the cotton threads, his tail in the air, and each of the seventeen rattles making a noise like a waterfall.

Finally the pressure became too strong and with a snap off flew buttons, rattles, and about six inches of the snake’s tail, the water forcing the entire internal apparatus of the reptile along, leaving the jaws and about forty-seven inches of hide attached to and becoming a part of the hose, through which a steady stream of water flowed.

Scott thinks that during the dry spell this fall the snake came up off the river hill to drink his hose dry and was caught in the manner mentioned, resulting in the addition of almost four fee to the garden hose.”

•••
In Central America

Anthony McCauley, son of Peter McCauley, of this town, is in Central America. He is employed as a telegraph operator there at $125 a month. He is paid in Mexican silver money, and although a Mexican dollar contains more than a United States dollar, it takes just two of them to get a silver dollar of the United States. And so Anthony is earning just $62.50 a month in United States money.

So he writes. He says it is midsummer down there. All kinds of tropical birds with gaudy plumage flit through the trees, and the fruits of the country are ripe. He is not particularly impressed with the country, and considers himself clear out of civilization.

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