New Stories

A tragedy occurred to a family on August 25, 1892 – more than most families could endure

Amazing story from the Florence Times, September 3, 1892 in Alabama reveals how difficult life was in raising a family in the south during these times

A Terrible Story

Deadly Work of a Rattlesnake in Georgia – Three Children Die

Athens, GA, August 25 – A most pathetic and horrifying story has just reached this city from Madison county and is vouched for by the best authority.

Harrowing Details

The story gives the harrowing details of the death of the entire family of four children of a Madison county family within forty minutes, three of whom died from the bite of a rattlesnake and the other was drowned while the mother was attending the snake-bitten one.

The details of the story as told by two of the most prominent citizens of Madison county are as follows:

The name of the parents of the children is Wilson, living in Madison county, about twelve miles from Athens.

Mathews cabin

Mother left with children

It seems that a few days since Mr. Wilson had left his home for the purpose of going to a mill some distance away, and Mrs. Wilson had left the house but a short while when screams attracted her attention, and hastening there she found two of her children dead and the third one quite sick. The little fellow, however , was able to talk and said that they had poked their fingers through a crack in the floor and a hen under the house had bitten them all.

Hurried to spring

Mrs. Wilson then hurried back to the spring and there found that her little baby had crawled into the spring and was drowned. The mother gathered the baby in her arms and returned to the house and found the little boy also dead. Of course the strain was too great for human endurance and the mother fainted away.

In a few minutes Mr. Wilson returned from the mill and the sight that met his gaze is beyond description―four children dead, and his wife on the floor in an unconscious condition.

Father secured assistance

As soon as possible he secured the assistance of neighbors and restoratives were applied and Mrs. Wilson regained consciousness. As soon as she could speak she repeated what the little boy had said. A search was made and a huge rattlesnake was found under the house and killed.

The above are the facts in the case just as we heard them from two reliable citizens from this county, who assert that the story is true in every particular.

Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) – A novel inspired by the experiences of the Cottingham family who immigrated from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to Bibb County, Alabama

Filled with drama, suspense, humor, and romance, DISCORDANCE continues the family saga from the Tapestry of Love series with the children of Mary Dixon who married Thomas Cottingham.

Inspired by true events and the Cottingham family that resided in 17th century Somerset, Maryland and Delaware, colonial America comes alive with pirate attacks, religious discord, and governmental disagreements in the pre-Revolutionary War days of America.




  1. Wow. My ancestor lived with some Wilsons in Alabamas. But that was in the 1860s I think.

  2. How awful for that family!!! Poor Mr.and Mrs.Wilson to have walked in and seen what had happened!!

  3. Story been goin around for years in southeast ala and southwest ga. I doubt it to be true. It has been retold as recent fact. Who knows

    1. I found it in the Florence, Alabama paper of September 3, 1892 so it is not a recent story.

    2. Wow. Funny how stories hang around! I hv heard it told as recent fact to hv happened within last 12 years. Guess it had a legit start

  4. I have seen similar shocking stories reading abstracts from old newspapers of that era. There was one story in “Archives from Lawrence County Alabama Newspapers 1855-1890” that told of a mother who came home to find her three young children all drowned in the well. She committed suicide by drowning herself in the same well. Stories of people being bitten by rabid animals were common. They lived in a world with dangers and violence unknown today.

  5. Because I can’t unread this….

    It is incumbent upon “Alabama Pioneers” to find out what happened to Mr. & Mrs. Wilson or at least make up a happy lie that they turned their tragedy into triumph by inventing anti-Venom and adopting all the children in the local orphanage, plus having 8 more healthy children.

    1. I wish I could, but I could not find anymore information about the family.

  6. This is why we have guns in the South

  7. The odds that this is a true story are just about zero.

    1. Thanks for speaking up. Venom does not generally work this fast. Sounds more like a story made up to cover a much worse tradgedy….

    2. It is hard for todays modern youth & young adults, to understand how it was when I grew up, even. In southern Vestavia, AL, for goodness sakes. To think that I, at 85 yr. old, lived in the countryside of Birmingham on the 50 acres that my great grandfather bought from German immigrants to America, that has become one of the most populated & desired areas of the state, is even hard for me to think about. 1904, shortly after leaving west GA, my great granddad bought & later moved there. As a child, we had to sleep with our screened windows raised at night and we could hear in the distance the calling of the wild cats/panthers at night. Rabies became rampant for the wild animals & owners animals in the country. No prevention of rabies and the unleased pets encountered rabid animals as they rambled freely in the wooded area. Vestavia that borders Hoover, now, was the area. And that was in my lifetime..what was it like at the beginning for our family 100 yrs. before my life? Very difficult for the modern to believe the deprivations of many living elderly in some overly privileged areas. They don’t believe these true stories..shame on them..

  8. Why all the naysayers? Life was extremely difficult in those days. Most families suffered tragedy and few would have seen all their children survive to adulthood. Go to your library and read old newspapers and you will find many sad accounts. You will also find many stories were written in an entertaining way. TV reporters may try but don’t live up to the talent of these writers.

  9. I really like her house !!! What a tragedy in her family !!!!!

  10. So very have no idea of the hard times, you easy livers..