Evelyn Byrd bags a rattler that was stopping traffic

Published 7:01 pm Tuesday, July 5, 2022

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Everyone has a snake story this time of the year.  This story from September 1, 1960 is one of my favorites.

“And now, traffic along busy N. Three Notch Street is having its troubles with snakes.  Just recently, a large timber rattler, 49 inches long, and sporting 8 rattles on its caudal extremity, was found leisurely moving along out in the middle the street, with traffic swishing  by north and south.

     It is not known if the snake was just trying to cross the street, and got hemmed up, or if it was making an effort to assist police in slowing down speeding cars.

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     At any rate, the wily snake made its last stand out in the street directly fronting the home of Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Byrd, 712 N. Three Notch Street, when it was spotted by the family, none of whom are on speaking terms with any members of the snake family.

     They opened “hammer and tongs” with an arsenal ranging from any kind of a stick they could find around the house to garden tools.  They all kept their distance, but each took a whack.  When the skirmish was over it was found that the honors went to Evelyn, the lovely teenage daughter of the Byrd’s.  She had chopped off the snakes head.

     The timber rattlesnake, one of the most common of the rattlesnake family, often grows to a length of 5 to 6 feet.  It is said they shed their skin three or four times each year, and the rattles are formed from the ring which is left when it cast its skin.  The terminal ring often becomes worn and detached, so the number of rattles is not, as is commonly supposed, an accurate indication of  the age of the snake.

The timber rattler is very poisonous, and its bite, unless promptly treated, is often fatal.  The venom is said to contain at least two poisonous substances.  One is a powerful depressant of the heart and lungs and the other is tissue disintegrating.

This is the second poisonous snake that has been killed in the neighborhood recently.  Only a few days ago, one was killed by Marvin Byrd, when he found it prowling around on his lawn.  It also was a timber rattler, but not quite as large as the last one killed.”  This article also included a photo of Evelyn with the snake and the caption read:  “Evelyn Byrd, Troy High School teenage student, wielded a ‘wicked’ hoe as she clipped the head off this venomous timber rattler.”

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.