The Time the U.S. Almost Went To War With Canada Over a Pig

The United States and Canada have long enjoyed a peaceful relationship as next-door neighbors and key allies, but the two countries almost went to war in 1859……and it was over a pig. The conflict started when American farmer Lyman Cutlar killed a large black big that he caught eating potatoes from his garden in the San Juan Islands, an archipelago in Washington state. It turned out that the pig was owned by an Irishman, Charles Griffin, who was employed by the Hudson's Bay Company to run the sheep ranch on the island. He also owned several pigs that he allowed to roam freely. The two had lived in peace until this incident. Cutlar offered $10 ($294 today) to Griffin to compensate for the pig, but Griffin was unsatisfied with the offer and demanded $100 ($2,939 today). Cutlar believed he shouldn't have to pay for the pig because the pig had been trespassing on his land. When British authorities threatened to arrest Cutlar and evict other Americans from the islands, the U.S. Army dispatched soldiers under Capt. George Pickett to the island to resolve the dispute. Ultimately, an arbitration commission decided in favor of the United States and the Royal Marines withdrew.