In 1903 the steamboat Mary Powell was making her way south to New York City when an incident occurred of such importance, it made the news in two separate newspapers. On July 10, 1903 the New York Tribune reported the incident, as did the Kingston Daily Freeman. See more Sunday News here.
MARY POWELL RUNS DOWN SNAKE. Twelve Foot Python Was Headed for Albany – The Mate Justified.
The mate of the Hudson River steamer Mary Powell had hard work convincing Captain A. E. Anderson that he was sane when we reported at 11 a.m. yesterday that he had sighted a twelve foot snake off the port bow and apparently heading for Albany. Later the body of a large snake drifted into the slip alongside the boat, and the mate was able to point it out to the captain with the remark: “I told you so.”
The Mary Powell was just finishing her morning trip from Kingston with a goodly number of passengers when the mate, William B. Maines, ran up to Captain Anderson in the Pilot House.
“Snake off the port bow,” he reported.
“What’s the matter, mate?” said the captain, “I hope you see no pink monkeys.”
“It’s a snake, and a big one, too,” replied the mate.
Captain Anderson looked, and, sure enough, bobbing up and down in the water, was a snake, evidently a python. A moment later the boat ran the snake down and passed into her berth. Later, when the snake drifted in, it was an object of much interest, and during the day everybody having business near the Debrosses St. pier who heard about it went down to see the snake.
- New-York Tribune, July 10, 1903
SNAKE ON THE PORT BOW. "DON'T YOU MEAN AN ICEBERG?" SAID CAPT. ANDERSON.
The Hudson river steamboat, Mary Powell, from Kingston-on-the-Hudson, was making port at the foot of Desbrosses street yesterday morning, says the New York Sun, when the first mate, William B. Maines, approached Captain Anderson in the pilot house, and, after saluting, said:
"Sir, I have to report that there is a large snake on our port bow."
The captain gave the wheel a half turn and there was silence for nearly a minute. Then the mate repeated his report.
Again a half turn of the wheel and a deep silence. The mate then said it louder.
"You mean an iceberg, don't you, Mr. Maines," said the captain politely. "It is hot, isn't it?"
The mate assured the captain that the hot weather had nothing to do with it and that his brain was working all right. A moment later the Mary Powell ran her nose into the bobbing corpse of a twelve-foot python and shoved it toward the pier.
Quite a crowd gathered to see the snake's body during the afternoon.
- Kingston Daily Freeman, July 10, 1903
Pythons are not native to the Hudson River Valley, so Captain Anderson was right to be skeptical, but it sounds like Maines was, indeed, justified. Hard to argue with physical proof. In all likelihood, the snake was either an escaped or abandoned pet.
Have you seen any odd creatures in the Hudson River? Comment with your sighting stories!
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