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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with John W. Snipes, September 20, 1976. Interview H-0098-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Chatham County's famous rabbits

As Snipes confirms that his family is as old as Chatham County itself, he remembers a curious piece of county history: the popularity of local rabbit in New York restaurants. He used to trap rabbits and ship them to New York City, he remembers.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with John W. Snipes, September 20, 1976. Interview H-0098-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

BRENT GLASS:
So the Snipes, then, have been in Chatham County ever since just about the beginning of Chatham County?
JOHN W. SNIPES:
Yes sir. Where our old house is sitting, up here, Chatham County has given off a lot of land to Orange County and also Lee County. That county line has been moved. Seventy-five or eighty years ago that county line was moved over to Orange. We were setting right on the edge of Orange County at that time. And Chatham gave Orange oh, I reckon fifteen miles further on up. Chatham was a big county at one time. And it's the only county in the world that I've ever heard tell of (and the records bear this out) that ever shipped a solid carload of rabbits to New York. Chatham rabbits; we were known for Chatham rabbits. They caught them in hollows and boxes. And you could go in New York seventy-five years ago and call for Chatham rabbit on the menu in New York City. [Laughter]
BRENT GLASS:
Wow. I tell you, I didn't know that.
JOHN W. SNIPES:
Rabbits run just like ants or grasshoppers. They shipped them by the carload to New York.