Death of a beloved 9-year-old cat made the news in 1895

Although a bit belated, our sympathies go out this weekend to Sammie Martin in the death of his cat.

There’s actually an interesting story behind this article. I was recently given a subscription for Newspaper.com to help in my search for my wayward ancestors, who are doing quite well at staying hidden from Ancestry.com and other genealogical sites.

It didn’t take long for me to find my great great grandmother, Lucinda Ingram. All records online show she died in 1880, but there she was, still living it up on February 27, 1895. Too bad the same couldn’t be said for Sammie Martin’s beloved cat.

Although they didn’t give a name for said cat, we do know this “Tom” (I HAD to give him a name) lived nine years, six months and 16 days. This is interesting since a) someone actually kept up with how long the cat lived and b) he was most likely born on the property for Sammie to know exactly when his cat came into the world. Quite a good life, considering most cats at that time lived in the great outdoors earning their keep doing rat control while dodging predators.

Since he was buried “with honors,” we can assume Tom was a well-loved member of the family. Sammie most likely picked a good spot under a shade tree or another spot favored by his feline friend. He then dug a hole and perhaps placed Tom in a box or a crudely made casket. Sammie did everything out of love for this cat, including a proper burial.

Typical cat burial during the 1890’s

I wonder whether old Tom would come up to greet visitors to the home. Did he ever come inside to enjoy a nap, or were his days (and nights) spent leisurely hunting anything he thought was either worth the effort or would make a good snack?

I’m learning a lot from newspapers printed more than a century ago. For one, they were part court announcements (think probate and lawsuits) and part entertainment (think gossip). Anytime anyone paid a visit to friends or family it made the local news. We have the same thing now, except it’s called FACEBOOK!

Hopefully, somewhere in the hereafter, Sammie and his cat have been reunited.

Elisa




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Death of a beloved 9-year-old cat made the news in 1895 — 4 Comments

  1. I do compare the newspaper clipping to Facebook. The only real change is the bottom political statement which these days would read “vote for who I approve of or I’ll unfriend you for being an idiot.” 🙂

    • A nice slice of cat history. At that time there were virtually no purebred cats in the West such as the Maine Coon and so on. Maine Coons were random bred barn cats at that time. And there was no declawing and probably no full-time indoor cats.

  2. Touching story and comments. So many unsung heroes of the backyards and families. “Buried with honors.” Indeed. Love them all.

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