Almanac - Denver - Rattlesnake Kate

Almanac - Denver - Rattlesnake Kate



Rocky Mountain News 
October 10, 1969 

Before she earned her nickname more than 40 years ago, Rattlesnake Kate was known as Mrs. Katherine Slaughterback, who lived with her young son, Ernie, in the Four Way area east of Ione, Colo. A friend, Mrs. Leta Woolridge of La Salle, recounted Thursday how Mrs. Slaughterback, who died Monday at Weld County Hospital, acquired fame. There was a duck pond near the Slaughterback home and on Oct. 28, 1925, after Mrs. Slaughterback heard duckhunters’ guns, she knew there probably would be wounded ducks in the area. So she saddled her horse, put 3-year-old Ernie aboard, took her .22 caliber rifle, and started out in search of duck for supper. When she reached the gate to the pond, she was confronted by a rattlesnake. She shot its head off. Then there were three more. She shot and killed all of them. Then there was a rustling sound and about 20 rattlers appeared. She took a stake from the “No Hunting” sign and started flailing away. More snakes came, from all directions. Ernie cried and the horse trembled. Mrs. Slaughterback flailed away. Two hours later, the only remaining snakes were dead ones. Reporters later strung them on a wire and counted them. There were 140. Only three weeks ago, Mrs. Slaughterback presented to the Greeley Municipal Museum a dress made from the skins.