The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

One among accounts told of hoop snakes by the pioneer residents of Southwest Mo. is an account furnished me by Tom McCullough son of Pleasant McCollough who came to Ozark County Mo. in 1844. Tom McCollough died about the first day of July 1907. In giving accounts of incidents of early times he said that while he was hunting one day on the head of Little North Fork and some 6 miles south of the Douglas County line and while passing along a hill side he heard a noise and looking in the direction from whence it came he seen something rolling like a hoop toward him and he darted out of its way, and it rolled on by him and just before reaching a black oak tree which stood 20 yards from him the hoop straightened itself all at once and struck the end of its tail against the tree and stuck fast to it. The stroke of its tail against the bark of the tree sounded like it had been struck with a hammer. The moment it hit the tree I saw that it was a snake and I walked up near the tree and watched the reptile wriggle and squirm in its efforts to free itself from the tree but it was not able to release itself and I picked up a stout stick and killed it but I did not knock it loose from the tree and after I had viewed the strange snake a while I went on and left the serpent hanging to the tree. I was certainly frightened when it rolled by me and there is no question in my mind that if I had not avoided it as I did it would have struck me with its homed tail instead of the tree. It seems unreasonable to relate it but it is an actual truth that when I went back to this same spot two weeks afterward I found the leaves on this tree had withered since the snake struck it. The bones of the serpent were still hanging to the tree," said Mr. McCollough.

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