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Rattlesnake Case, 1881


Posted By: Reid R. Johnson (email)
Date: 12/3/2016 at 19:13:01

Elkader Register, Fri., 5 Aug. 1881.

A somewhat novel and interesting case of assault with intent to murder, but which savors somewhat of a snake story, is reported from Millville twp.

As near as we can learn, two residents of that township, named N. B. Lathrop and John James, had been quarreling, and soon after, meeting on the road, had proceeded to settle the matter "according to the latest rules of the ring".

During the squabble it is alleged that Lathrop attempted to force the fangs of a rattlesnake, (the head of which he held in his hand) into the neck of James, and for which act he was arrested, charged with assault with intend to murder.

The case was commenced at Guttenberg, but was taken before Justice Hunter, of Millville twp., who, after hearing the evidence, bound Lathrop over to await the action of the Grand Jury, in the sum of $500. He secured bail and is now at liberty.


Elkader Register, Fri., 13 Jan. 1882.

District Court- State vs. N. B. Lathrop. This is the famous "rattlesnake" case, Lathrop having attempted to settle an old grudge against a neighbor by putting the fangs of a rattlesnake into him. The defendant plead guilty the charge of assault and battery, and was sentenced to pay a fine of $100 or go to jail for 30 days.


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