Archives treasure #1: 1862 Pig War letter

Archives treasure #1: 1862 Pig War letter

(Image courtesy of Washington State Archives)

The State Archives has no lack of interesting documents related to American wars. Thankfully, that means that even some of our nation’s forgotten conflicts are represented.

September’s first Archives treasure is from the Pig War of 1859, a confrontation between the United States and the British Empire over the boundary between the U.S. and what was then British North America.  Both nations claimed possession of the San Juan Islands and tension was intensified after an American settler shot a pig owned by a Brit there.  The pig was the only casualty. The Pig War was resolved by a compromise that led to the creation of Washington’s San Juan County, finalizing the state borders that remain today.

The picture above shows part of a letter to Washington’s Territorial Governor of the time, William Pickering.  Pickering was offered his governorship by President Abraham Lincoln and took office in 1862, the year this letter was written.

Two more Archives treasures will be featured in the next few days. Then we’ll ask you and others to choose your favorite in an online poll.

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