Mudcat Café message #369732 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #29288   Message #369732
Posted By: Stewart
06-Jan-01 - 12:23 PM
Thread Name: John Dwyer - Songs & Stories
Subject: Lyr Add: THE SAN JUAN PIG (John Dwyer) ^^
Mark, your comment about singing with John on San Juan Island and his telling you about the Pig War prompts me to post his song which tells the story. An 1846 agreement extended the boundary between the U.S. and Canada along the 49th parallel to the west coast and from there to the "middle of the channel" through the islands southeast of Vancouver Island. A war between the U. S. and England almost erupted in 1859, triggered by the killing of a pig and disagreement as just where the "channel" went — whether the San Juan Islands were British or American.

SAN JUAN PIG — John Dwyer, 1978

Let me tell you of a story of a San Juan pig.
It wasn't worth much cause it wasn't very big,
But it rooted in a garden and it nearly caused a fray,
Between the King of England and the U. S. A.

Now the Pig it was Canadian, the settler was a Yank
What the pig did to his garden was more than just a prank,
For it dug up his potatoes and it tore down his fence,
Since it wasn't just the first time Cutler's anger was immense.

When he saw the pig a-rootin', Lyman Cutter, he got sore.
He grabbed up his musket, for the pig he tore.
The pig saw him comin' and headed for the woods,
 But he stopped at the edge, and Cutler shot him good.

Then Cutler felt regretful and went down to Hudson's Bay,
And told the clerk in charge of the porker he would pay.
Griffin said, "One hundred dollars, he's a prize breeding boar."
Cutler told him "I'll pay three, and not a penny more."

Then up stepped A. G. Dallas, and said, "See here, my man,
You're already trespassing upon Canadian land.
You know it's British country from Rosario to the west,"
"Not so," said Lyman Cutler, "East of Haro is U. S."

Well, the settlers they backed Cutler with their muskets in their hands.
The British thought it wiser not to make a stand.
The stars and stripes were hoisted to celebrate the day,
And were seen by General Hamey a-sail in' on the bay.

The general came ashore and he listened to their tale.
He was a man of action and to help he did not fail.
To Fort Bellingham he sent 'ere he sailed away again,
And down came Captain Pickett with a company of men.

Then up sailed the British with war ships one, two, three,
Which made a few too many for Pickett's company.
They had to find a way to even up the score,
So he sent to Fort Steilacoom and got five hundred more.

 Well they argued in the Senate, and in the House of Lords,
And they didn't make much progress but they used a lot of words.
So they asked the German Emperor the boundary to define,
And tell those treaty makers where to draw the line.

 Now the Kaiser gave his answer in 1872,
And said that Haro Strait was where the line went through.
Well they called it a war, but it wasn't very big
And the only one got killed was a little British pig.

Cheers, S. in Seattle^^