Biography of Rattlesnake Pete


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Rattlesnake Pete (1858-1932) was born Peter Gruber, and a case can be made for describing him as either a sophisticated con man or charming eccentric. Regardless of which label is more accurate, he is a much loved figure in our city’s history. He could charm a snake, literally, and using that ability he made a lucrative career of providing Rochester with ample doses of snake oil, both figuratively and (more or less) literally.

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Charles B. Stilson


The Gates Historical Society

Year Published



108 pages

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