• Other notable mountain lion run-ins in Pacific Northwest history

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff , Greg Lange, Historylink.org

    Updated:

    Crews responded around 11:20 a.m. Saturday to a mountain lion attack in foothills near North Bend.

    Two mountain bikers were attacked. One mountain biker was killed – marking the first time since 1924 that a fatal mountain lion attack was recorded in Washington state. 

    >> Read More: One killed, one injured in mountain lion attack near North Bend

    After the attack, KIRO 7 looked into other notable cougar run-ins in Washington state history and we found stories dating back to the 1870's. 

    The following are essays from historylink.org of notable mountain lion stories in the pacific northwest: 

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

    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.

    Click here to read the full essay from Greg Lange on historylink.org.

    Sources:
    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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    Man captures cougar near Lake Washington about February 23, 1870

    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.

    Click here to read the full essay from Greg Lange on historylink.org.

    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.

    Cougar fights mare along Duwamish River on June 10, 1872

    On the evening of June 10, 1872, a "fine mare" owned by David Graham fights with a cougar to protect her colt. Graham's farm is located at Seattle's present-day south boundary just east of the Duwamish River (45th Avenue S to 50th Avenue S and S Leo St to S Juniper St).  The mare suffers "deep and severe cuts" on her neck and face (Puget Sound Dispatch). The colt dies of its injuries the following day.

    The Weekly Intelligencer described the encounter between the mare and cougar as follows:

    "Her appearance would indicate a long continued struggle, and, from the fact that she prevented the animal from killing her colt outright, which it injured, however, so seriously as to cause its death the next morning, it would seem that she must have used her hoofs most adroitly and successfully, and rather discomfitted [sic] that sanguinary and terrible specimen of the feline race" (The Weekly Intelligencer June 17, 1872).

    On July 31, 1872, a cougar, apparently the same one, killed one of J. B. McCallister's calves. McCallister, a farmer of land located near Graham's, allowed his cattle to range over the countryside without fences. Concerned that his other stock might be injured or killed, McCallister acquired some strychnine and applied it to the carcass of the calf killed by the cougar. The following morning he discovered that the cougar had returned and consumed more of the dead animal. McCallister followed its tracks and located the cougar suffering from the effects of the poisoned meat. He shot the cougar and skinned it. McCallister planned to tan the eight-foot-long hide and turn it into a robe.

    Click here to read the full essay from Greg Lange on historylink.org.

    Sources:
    The Weekly Intelligencer (Seattle), June 17, 1872, p. 3; Ibid., August 5, 1872, p. 3; Puget Sound Dispatch (Seattle), June 13, 1872, p. 3.

    Cougar wanders into downtown Seattle and creates excitement on September 20, 1890

    On September 20, 1890 at about 9:30 a.m., a cougar wanders into downtown Seattle on Pine Street between 4th and 5th avenues and "for a few minutes owned the street."

    William D. Wood, a real estate dealer who had done much to develop the Green Lake area, was the first to spot the animal. The cougar bounded across the yard of the European House at 1523 6th Avenue near Pine Street and crossed to the east side of 6th Avenue. The creature leapt into the rear window of the Kentucky stable (NE corner of 6th Avenue and Pine Street).

    An employee heard the stabled horses create quite a disturbance and came down from the second floor. When he spotted the cougar, he made a "hasty retreat." As the cougar exited through a window, the stable owner, Robert Bishop, shot the mammal in the rump.

    "The wound enraged the animal and it uttered a terrific yell as it bounded to the sidewalk and rushed down Sixth Street [actually Avenue]. The few passers-by scattered in terror, the women relieving themselves with piercing screams. ... The panic spread to the thronged thoroughfare [on] Pike Street and all pedestrians made a rush for safety. With two great bounds the cougar landed in the yard of Dr. F[rantz] H. Coe's residence, 606 Pike Street. A group of children who were playing on the porch were transfixed with terror at the sight of the monster, but he [the cougar] paid no attention to them."
    Eugene Chapin, who owned and lived at his new and secondhand-goods store at 601 Pike Street, crossed the street holding a 44-caliber revolver. Chapin fired two shots that brought down the animal and two more shots that "ended his career." The only other fatality was a chicken the cougar killed in the Kentucky stables. The cougar was about eight feet long and weighed 160 pounds.

    Click here to read the full essay from Greg Lange on historlink.org.

    Sources:
    Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 21, 1890, p. 8.

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