Mother's Quick Thinking Saves Toddler Bitten By a Rattlesnake

Child survives being bitten by a rattlesnake after mother treats wound with cold mud, vinegar and soda.

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In the 1870s, my grandparents lived on a homestead. One evening their little two-year-old boy was bitten by a rattlesnake as he reached under a pile of wood to pick up his kitten.

Grandfather was miles away breaking prairie with oxen, and Grandmother knew he would not be home that night. She hurried to the spring and got a handful of ice-cold mud. On the mud she poured some vinegar and soda. She applied this to the snake bite on the baby's hand.

The child grew very, very sick, but all night long Grandmother kept up the treatments. Early the next morning, she started out to go through the woods to the home of relatives five miles away. There were no roads, and she stumbled through the woods carrying the sick child. It was June and the sun was very hot. The relatives tenderly cared for the baby and for her. He recovered and lived to be an old man. Grandmother lived to be an old woman and often told this story to her grandchildren.

Mrs. Giles Cleveland
Lyons, Nebraska


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER's WEEKLY asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.