A Rattlesnake Bite on the Nebraska Plains

Daughter gets a rattlesnake bite and mother’s tenacity saves her life on long road to the doctor.

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My mother was alone on the homestead in Nebraska, my father having gone to Kearney for supplies, when my oldest sister, Alta, squatted down close to a rattlesnake and it bit her. Mother slashed the rattlesnake bite open and sucked out blood.

Then she took her three children with her on horseback and rode to the nearest neighbor where she left two of the children. With Alta she started to Kearney and the doctor. She would ride until her horse was tired, then change to a fresh horse at the next homestead. She rode 40 miles to Kearney, but she used to say it seemed like 400 miles.

When she reached the doctor he told her she had saved my sister's life. Otherwise, she would have died because of rattlesnake bite.

Inez Wade Coleman
West Point, Iowa

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.