A large cougar is shot in Seattle near Lake Union on about January 1, 1870.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 8/02/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 1603
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On about January 1, 1870, C. Brownfield shoots and kills a “large panther” in “Pioneer Valley” near Lake Union. The animal, very likely a cougar, is 8 feet 9 inches long and weighs 300 pounds. It has recently killed a steer belonging to David Denny (1832-1903) at the south end of Lake Union and a heifer belonging to Thomas Mercer (1813-1898), whose farm is located near Denny's. In the early 1870s, King County settlers have persistent problems with cougars.

C. Brownfield was probably Christian Brownfield (age about 50) who homesteaded the area that became known as the University District. Curtis Brownfield (age about 18), son of Christian, is another possibility for the hunter. Pioneer Valley’s location is not known but it may refer to the valley created by what became Ravenna Creek, located north and east of Brownfield’s farm.


Thomas Prosch, "A Chronological History of Seattle from 1850 to 1897" (Typescript, dated 1900-1901, Northwest Collection, University of Washington Library, Seattle), 201.

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