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History of Fayette County, Iowa,

A history of the County, its Cities, Towns Etc.


Western Historical Company,

Successors to H. F. Kett & Co.

Page 336
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.


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