On the 15th of June in 1859, Lyman Cutlar, an American recently settled on San Juan Island, shot a pig which ” … having been at several times a great annoyance and that morning destroyed a portion of his garden … ”
Affidavit of Lyman A. Cutlar Regarding Pig Shooting, September 7, 1859
(click on image to view the complete 5-page document in our Flickr photostream)
The pig belonged to the British Hudson Bay Company who demanded compensation in the amount of $100. The astonished Cutlar valued the pig at less than $10. While not the shot heard round the world, it did mark the beginning of the Pig War-a border dispute between the United States and Canada. While that was the only shot fired, twelve years of posturing on both sides which included troops and navies and some soon to be famous Civil War principals, George E. Pickett and Winfield Scott. The Treaty of Washington between the United States and Great Britain was signed in 1871 and the San Juan Island matter referred to Kaiser Wilhelm I of German for arbitration and in October of 1872 ruled in favor of the United States.
An early commemoration of the anniversary of The Pig War was the excuse for the staff of the National Archives in Washington and our friends across the street at the Canadian Embassy to once again test public opinion-this time on bacon. Last year, in commemoration of the War of 1812, we staged the Great Doughnut War of ’12. The United States lost miserably to the Tim Horton doughnut. That evening ended with a showing of the movie, Strange Brew. This year celebrity judges tied on the bacon vote but the popular vote (20.5 to 4.5) put the United States over the top. The evening ended with a showing of the movie Canadian Bacon. Thanks to the clever staff who prepared bacon-laced treats including deviled eggs, brownies, and bacon dipped in chocolate.