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Eatin’ a Rattlesnake


Susan B. Anthony, the great suffrage leader, once found herself a passenger on a Wells Fargo stage driven by the famous jehu, Mark Regan. She was enroute from Denver to Salt Lake City.

At the ‘eatin’ house at the Bitter Creek way station, Susan was served the piece de resistance of that establishment by the proprietor, a Mr. Rawlins. Said delicacy was ‘roasted whitefish’ and Susan showed her appreciation by consuming three generous helpings.

Susan proceeded on her merry way via Wells Fargo stage to the next ‘eatin’ house and promptly ordered white fish, but was forced to settle for fried chicken. Between bites of the fowl she praised Mr. Rawlins and his white fish. Finally the waitress, a Mormon girl, could take no more and told Susan in disgust, “You didn’t eat no white fish ma’am. That was pure rattlesnake meat. That’s what that no good Rawlins serves everybody.”

In high indignation Susan sent for the manager. However, Mark Regan stepped forward and gently assured Susan that she had in truth eaten rattlesnake meat. “You see, Ma’am,” he informed her, “Rawlins is supposed to keep a supply of game to feed the stage passengers, but being somewhat of a naturalist he forgets at times. Then he just kills the first thing at hand and cooks it. Today he killed some big fat rattlers down by Bitter Creek.”

As was ladylike for members of the weaker six in that day, Susan promptly swooned. Thirty years later, however, the suffrage leader wrote to Mark Regan, “I can now smile with others over that remarkable meal.”



  1. Great story, Paisley. I can imagine the look on her face when she learned what she’d eaten. I don’t see the difference myself – if you enjoyed it, what’s the big deal? At the time, though, for an “Eastern lady” it would have been a shock. Thanks for today’s smile.

  2. You do have a point, Caroline. I’d say it was probably not being advised of the fact before she ate the snake. Here in California I believe it used to be on the menu, but don’t know if it has become illegal or not now.

  3. Isabel Roman says:

    I’ve recently had rattlesnake. I wouldn’t have it again, but it wasn’t unedible.

  4. Well…seemed she liked it! lol
    I’m sure she was mortified at being tricked like that.

  5. You are so brave, Isabel. My hubby loves trying exotic meals and I’d consider rattle snake in that category. Good for you!

  6. I agree, Susan. Could you imagine what kind of riot it would cause these days if someone presented something to their customers and lie about what they were eating?!

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