January 2, 1890 - Today was the day that Edward McIlhenny killed what may be the largest alligator in Louisiana history. McIlhenny's father was the inventor of Tabasco hot pepper sauce, so in addition to his work for the family business Edward pursued a life of adventure as an explorer, conservationalist and hunter.
In his autobiographical notes he described his chance encounter with the record-setting gator:
Walking back into the marsh along the border of the old bayou, I killed a couple of mallards that fell in the grass that had grown up in the bayou. On wading in to retrieve them I saw in front of me what I thought, in the dim light after sundown, was a partly submerged log. On going up to it I found it was an enormous alligator almost completely dormant in the cold air and water. I shot it directly through the head and on lifting the head from the muddy water was convinced it was the largest alligator I had ever seen.
The alligator was reportedly over 19 feet in length. McIlhenny claimed the beast was too large to retrieve, so only a crude calculation (McIlhenny used his shotgun as a measuring stick) is all we have for the historical record. But if it's close to accurate, this would be 4 feet longer than the official world record of 15 feet 9 inches.