For the next few years, tensions on the island stayed low, as Griffin oversaw the growth of the farm to close to 4,500 sheep, along with pigs and other animals. But in 1859 American settlers started arriving, intent on setting up their own farms. One brought 20 cattle. These newcomers did not take much stock in Griffin’s presence there. One new farm was located smack in the middle of one of Griffin’s best sheep runs.An argument broke out over the value of the pig, and before you know it, the American Army and the British Navy were facing off at San Juan Island. Read how the conflict played out at Atlas Obscura.
Despite their best efforts, the humans on the island had managed to avoid direct conflict, but the animals were less discreet. In summer 1859, one of the pigs from Griffin’s farm discovered a plot of tempting tubers on the farm of American Lyman Cutlar and availed himself of the delights. Cutlar, having fended off this same pig before, could not stand for this theft. He shot the pig.