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In Their Own Words

April 27, 1734

Rattlesnake Described

Johann Martin Boltzius was one of two German clergymen selected to accompany the first group of Salzburger emigrants to Georgia. Boltzius felt that God was behind everything that happened to the Salzburgers, both good and bad. As the following journal entry indicates, he even saw evidence of God’s hand in the rattlesnake:

“A man from this place showed us two unusually large snakes he had shot. They are called rattlesnakes, because they have many rattles on their tail that make a noise like peas in a hollow and dry nutshell. These snakes are dangerous above all others but, because of the kind care of the Creator, they must give people warning with their rattling so that they won’t come to close to them. There is a root here that looks like a black hellebore, which is said to be very good for snakebite if some of it is eaten and a piece put on the bite at the same time.”

Source: George Fenwick Jones (ed.), Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America … Edited by Samuel Urlsperger: Volume I, 1733-1734 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1968), p. 80.