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Log Cabin Living: Tom the Cat

Artifacts from 19th Century Life

Written by Madeline Teddy

Edited for publication by Holly Stewart, Program Manager

The Log Cabin Living: Artifacts from 19th Century Life exhibit at Job Carr Cabin Museum encourages visitors to take a closer look at more than 20 objects in the museum's collection.

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A Replica of Tom the Cat in the Job Carr Cabin Museum. This toy is a favorite topic of discussion for children and families who visit the cabin.

Tom the Cat was Job Carr's pet. Tom was a yellow cat given to Job by Mrs. Stewart, the wife of A. Williamson Stewart. Mrs. Stewart was worried that Job would be lonely living by himself so she gave him the company of Tom. A. Williamson Stewart was the government carpenter and wagon maker for the Puyallup Reservation. Before Job finished the construction of his log cabin, he and Tom lived under the shelter of a cedar bark lean-to.

Tom the Cat had two important jobs. Firstly, he kept Job company. While Job was building his cabin in 1865, his nearest neighbors were about three miles away. Second, cats are valued for their mouse hunting abilities. Tom the Cat had the important job of keeping away mice from inside and around the house. Without pet stores and processed pet foods, cats had to catch their own dinner.

The Carr family also had a pet dog, named Hunter. The spaniel was a helpful companion to Job's son Anthony and grandson Edward on their farm near Spanaway.

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Anthony and Edward Carr and their dog Hunter prepare for a hunting trip, ca 1888, source: Carr Family Collection.

Rebecca Pitman Carr Staley, Job Carr's ex-wife, was also a pet owner. About 1885, she moved to Tacoma to be nearer her children and grandchildren. She lived in a quaint little house on N 30th Street that was overflowing with flowers, cats, and chickens.

Take a closer look at Tom the Cat in this short video:

Sources

Morgan, Murray, and Michael Sullivan. Puget’s Sound: A Narrative of Early Tacoma and the Southern Sound. University of Washington Press, 2018.

About the Author

Madeline Teddy completed an internship with Job Carr Cabin Museum in Fall 2023. She was a graduate of University of British Columbia majoring in history and classical Near Eastern religious studies. She hoped to take her studies further and become a museum curator.