Man captures cougar near Lake Washington about February 23, 1870.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 8/13/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 1629

On February 23, 1870, Seymour Wetmore arrives in Seattle and announces that he captured a large cougar on his farm near Lake Washington.

A cougar had killed many of Mr. Wetmore's sheep and those of Mr. Woodin who had a farm adjacent to Wetmore's. They devised a trap to capture the animal and used the carcass of a sheep for bait. The cougar took the bait and the next morning Wetmore found the cougar in his trap. The animal measured about eight feet long and two feet high.

Several individuals went out to Wetmore's farm to look at the animal. One of them remarked that the cougar looked just like a lion exhibited by a circus that had recently passed through Seattle. Mr. Allen, a Seattle resident, purchased the cougar from Wetmore and Woodin. He then moved the cougar to Seattle and exhibited it on Commercial Street (1st Avenue S) for a fee.

The exhibit made a profit. Allen took the animal to other Puget Sound towns to show off. In Victoria, British Columbia, the backers of the touring cougar had financial difficulties, and the exhibit was canceled. It is unknown what happened to the cougar.


Sources:

Thomas Prosch, "A Chronological History of Seattle from 1850 to 1897" (Typescript, dated 1900-1901, Northwest Collection, University of Washington Library, Seattle), p. 201; The Weekly Intelligencer (Seattle), February 28, 1870, p 3.


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