The Time: April, 1927
The Place: Pigeon Point Lighthouse, California
It was common in the early days of California lighthouse history, that a lighthouse would have several cats around at all times. The obvious duty of these felines was to be good mousers. They were looked upon as work critters, rather than pets, as we know them today. Occasionally, a kitten would come along that would be elevated in stature, due to some unusual trait, of action, or appearance. Jiggs was that one in million who caught the eye of his owner and became the darling of the family. As such, he was allowed to eat with the family, and sleep in similar manner.
The keeper of Pigeon Point Lighthouse at the time Jiggs arrived on the scene was Tom Henderson. George Henderson the son of the Tom Henderson, a youngster 6 years of age, took over as surrogate parent and guardian of Jiggs. George found an abandoned doll cradle, which he repaired, painted and made into a bed for Jiggs. He then placed it next to the potbellied stove in the living room being the warmest spot in the lighthouse.
Our book, “Jiggs, The Beginning,” could possibly be how it all happened. More than likely, however it doesn’t bear any more similarity to the truth than does any bedtime story. We do know that Jiggs was born on April 22, 1927, at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. The Henderson’s moved to Point Sur lighthouse about 1930, with of course, Jiggs the cat. Unfortunately, Jiggs survived only until December 20, 1936. At age nine, Jiggs decided he had seen enough of this world and moved on. His physical remains were placed in a crypt at the Point Sur Lighthouse. This was to be only a temporary stop as the Henderson’s soon moved to Point Pinos Lighthouse, further up the coast. Jiggs finally found his permanent resting place at Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove, California, and the headstone can be viewed to this very day. The lighthouse docents are well known for telling tales about Jiggs that have been passed down through the years somewhat embellished I am sure.