“From his father, my father Ira Jacob Butts learned how to mix certain roots and leaves of grass together for a cure for snakebites. He never told which weeds and roots he used, and I would not attempt to try to describe them. Anyway, he would boil the roots and leaves, and would then strain away the particles, leaving only the water in which they were boiled.
“This would be diluted with whiskey, and be given to the victim to drink. The whiskey, I am told, caused the blood to thin, allowing faster flow to the bitten area. Then too, it might have taken the whiskey to kill some of the taste until a person could drink the solution, who knows? One thing I am certain of, and that is, that the same medicine worked on all snakebites, and modern doctors seem to not agree with this today.
“Personally, I witnessed him curing his granddaughter, Vera Mae Butts, when she was bitten by a Copper-Head, and again curing Dave Pitts when he was bitten by a Rattle Snake. Once a victim started drinking the solution, he could drink a little or a lot, but once the bottle was taken away, another drink was sure death, for it was stronger than the poison from the snake.
“Samuel Burton, Ira’s son-in-law, had a dog bitten by a snake. It was given the solution, then soon recovered. Sam said if a little helped, then some more would do better. No sooner had he poured some more solution into the dog’s mouth, then the dog died instantly.
“On one occasion, when Samuel Burton was fishing on Chauga River, he was bitten by a Rattler, and was then carried to his mother’s home on Rocky Fork. They sent for Ira, who lived some ten or more miles away, and he came to the scene, and prepared a solution from leaves and roots located nearby. At that time, Samuel’s tongue had swollen out of his mouth, and very little hope was left. Within thirty minutes from the time he had been given the solution, Samuel Burton began to talk, and within an hour he was walking.
“Ira Jacob Butts (1868-1939) was raised in the upper part of Oconee County, SC, in a small community known as Brasstown, near Long Creek. As an adult he rented a place from his brother Silas Butts near Holly Springs, at the foot of Grassy Mountain, where he lived until his death.”
Carlie Glen Butts