By Janet Kelch, as told by Olive Nelson Piggott.
It must have been about summer 1935. We were back in Ritchie County, West Virginia. Our whole family was in the barn yard doing our morning chores.
Lew was hitching the mules ready to do some cultivating. John and Harold was pruning raspberries. Mom and I was milking the cows. Dad and Ike was sharpening hoes.
John yelled “I'm snake bit!” Harold got out his pen knife and slashed it as he had been told was the thing to do. His tooth was bad so he hesitated to suck the poison, but Lew did it.
Mom remembered hearing warm milk would draw out snake venom so she had John put his hand in her pail of milk and off they started for the forks of Dutchman where there was a store and always people around.
In the meanwhile I ran like a deer to the neighbor I knew had a car, (ours wasn’t running) to get a ride to Harrisville, the nearest doctor.
At the store (by the way the one Roland Fortney used to own), [Roland was married to the oldest daughter.], someone suggested killing a chicken, cutting it open and putting John’s hand in the cavity. The fresh blood and warm flesh was to draw the poison.
So that’s the way Dad and John went to Dr. Cramer’s. He said there wan nothing he could do but dress the wound.
Needless to say, John survived the snake bite, and today, at the age of 86 lives in Missouri, doing woodwork for half the town.