H.W. Kathan gave a “unique” wedding gift to Anna, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ottis Ellithorp of Conklingville, in Saratoga County: a Sandy Suffolk pig.
“The little porcine specimen was delivered after the ceremony by James D. Kathan, who placed him near the favored bride upon the piano cover,” The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported on July 27th, 1888. “The grunter had a ribbon about his neck and his vigorous protests against being made a participant in the bridal festivities aroused considerable merriment.”
The bride was gracious. “The accomplished bride gracefully and good-naturedly accepted the live little gift.”
These four little piggies in the storefront window attracted quite a crowd.
“Yesterday afternoon and evening large crowds were attracted to one of the windows of the Rochester Clothing Company’s store, in which was shown four little white pigs, and a pen around like the pen in the puzzle,” The Morning Star reported on June 29th, 1889. “This evening from half past seven till eight o’clock a man will endeavor to put the pigs in the pen. If he succeeds, he will be presented with one of the best hats in the store.”
The contest drew a “large crowd” of spectators which “thoroughly enjoyed” the promotional stunt. The Morning Star reported om July 1st. Two boys, James Sullivan and John Careel, and a man named Lawrence each succeeded in putting all four pigs in the pen. “They were each presented with a hat.”
Having trouble falling asleep? Try counting pig’s feet.
“A farmer near Waldo, Mo., has a healthy four-month-old pig that has two feet on each leg, and on each foot five toes,” The Granville Sentinel reported on January 14th, 1887. “Such a breed of pigs would be profitable in a community partial to pickled pigs’ feet.”
Farmers should never cut off a live pig’s tail, because the tail is an indicator of the pig’s health and contentment, an agriculture “authority” told The Granville Sentinel for its April 6th, 1888 issue.
“If piggy doesn’t feel well, if his food doesn’t agree with him, his tail begins to straighten. The sicker the pig, the straighter the tail, and the healthier the pig the tighter the curl. The pig’s tail is his pulse; therefore, never cut it off.”
In the contemporary era, spring pigs usually are kept for show. These 19th century spring pigs went to market, instead.
On October 26th, 1887, The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported that Dennis McSweeney sold two spring pigs, weighing 260 and 241 pounds respectively, to the Corbett & Callahan grocery market on South Street. “This is considerably good weight for pigs less than six months old.”
Guy & Moore, who operated a meat market on Exchange Street in Glens Falls, butchered a 648-pound pig, The Morning Star reported on November 24th, 1887. “Spare ribs will be plenty for those who prefer them to turkey.”
The Morning Star on January 20th, 1888, reported the story of the three “good-sized pigs” raised at Thurman. “J.C. Loveland lately dressed one weighing 525 pounds; C. H. Baker one 592 pounds; Abram Pasco, another, 648 pounds.”
Photo: Domestic pigs in a wallow courtesy Mark Peters / Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary.