History of Fayette County, Iowa,
A history of the County, its Cities, Towns Etc.
to H. F. Kett & Co.
Rattle-snakes were numerous in
this region when the first settlements were made. Mr. Dutton
relates that, in the Fallof 1848, he and Wallace Bailey were out
hunting bees north of their cabin. On this expedition, they
discovered the cave on Section 34, Township 95, Range 8, since
known as Dutton's Cave. When about 80 rods ease of this
cave, on a bluff beside a little "run," they thought they heard
the rattle of a snake. Looking about, they discovered one, and
Bailey threw a stone at it. The stone happened to roll into a
hole, toward which, disturbed by the visitor, a number of
serpents made their way; but the stone had stopped up the
enterance to their den. It was a warm, sunny, Autumn day, and
the loathsome retiles were out enjoying the sunshine. Dutton and
Bailey had inconciously, "waked up snakes." but they pitched
battle with them, and when the last "rattle" was killed they
counted eighteen dead "sarpints" on the field, some of them of
large size, and one having twenty-one rattles.
|Dutton, the Joneses and Bailey had three
yokes of oxen. The cattle had but recently come from
Illinois, and were disposed to go back whenever opportunity
occurred. The boys kept them in a yard, yoked, except when they
were at work or turned out to feed. One cold, rainy afternoon in
the Fall of 1848, they turned the cattle out to feed; but,
instead of feeding near home, the animals wandered off eastward.
When they had had time enough to feed, Dutton went out to drive
them in, and overtook them about dark and started with them
about dark and started with them for home. Dutton thought that,
by going across lots, he could reach the cabin by a nearer route
than to follow the crooked trail the oxen had made, but soon
lost the way. It had stopped raining, but it was cold; he was
wet, and it was not pleasant to think of passing the night
without shelter; but there was no alternative. He kept himself
comparatively warm by leaning against one of the oxen, and when
the animals laid down he laid down close beside one of them. "He
was not the pleasantest bed-fellow in the world," said Mr.
Dutton, "buthe was a good deal better than none, under the
circumstances." The next morning he had no difficulty in
finding the way, and reached home about 9 o'clock, none the
worse for this night on the prarie.