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On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

Sacajawea goes into painful labor. After Lewis gives her a small dose of rattlesnake rattle, she delivers her first child, a boy named Jean Baptiste Charbonneau.

From the journals...

about five oclock this evening one of the wives of Charbono was delivered of a fine boy.

Meriwether Lewis

Sacajawea Arduous Journey by Carol Ann Grende

Statue of Sacajawea with Jean-Baptiste on her back

Mr. Jessome informed me that he had freequently adminstered a small portion of the rattle of the rattle-snake, which he assured me had never failed to produce the desired effect, that of hastening the birth of the child; having the rattle of a snake by me I gave it to him and he administered two rings of it to the woman broken in small pieces with the fingers and added to a small quantity of water. I was informed that she had not taken it more than ten minutes before she brought forth

Meriwether Lewis

Western diamondback rattlesnake, Crotalus atrox

Rattle of a coiled Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Photo © Patrick Jean / muséum d'histoire naturelle de Nantes. Permission via the Creative Commons ShareAlike License.