Man kills bear on Mercer Island on June 22, 1873.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 9/08/1999
  • Essay 1616

On June 22, 1873, a Mr. G. Proctor, who lives on “an island in Lake Washington,” sights a bear near his premises and gives chase. The bear “took to the lake.” Proctor follows in a skiff, kills the animal with his rifle, and tows it ashore.

Very likely the island is the one in Lake Washington between present-day Seattle and Bellevue that will be named Mercer Island. In the 1870s, Gardner Proctor owned land on the northwest portion of Mercer Island. In 1873, he was about 43 years old and worked as a cooper smith and hook maker.

Proctor did not know the weight of the bear but he stated that the length was more than seven feet long. He presented to Beriah Brown (1815-1900), editor of the Puget Sound Dispatch, the bear’s foot, which measured eight inches long and four inches wide. The hunter believed it was “the largest black bear ever seen in this section.”


Puget Sound Dispatch, (Seattle), June 26, 1873, p 3.

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