Butchering party goes bad in 1911

The owner of the hogs tracked a horse-drawn sled that left the party early.

JSSP Keith Norman Column Sig
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Events at a Montpelier hog butchering “bee” degenerated to threats of legal action and/or fist fights in 1911, according to newspaper reports.

A number of farmers gathered at one farm for what was referred to as a butchering party. I suppose in the era before radio, television and the internet, anything could pass as entertainment.

The investigation is ongoing.

“All went well until it came time to cut down the dressed hogs when only six were found where there had been seven,” wrote The Jamestown Capital. “The owner of the pigs and host of the party did not believe that a hog’s body could be made to vanish in the transition from life to death.”

The owner of the hogs tracked a horse-drawn sled that left the party early. Along the way, they found a spot where the sleigh had overturned and apparently dumped the occupants, including the dressed hog, in the snow.

“Then, tired of their silent companion, or fearing that he might get them into trouble despite his silence, they left him in the care of a farmer who lived near the place of the accident and drove away,” wrote the Capital.


It was probably all a joke. The writer for the Capital called it “hilarious festivities” in the first sentence of an article that included no names for any of the participants.

However, the owner of the pig wanted his pork back and didn’t see the humor in the situation.

He gave the “misleaders of the pig” a specific number of hours in which to return the meat or face charges.

Given the style of the reporting and references to jokes and hilarity in the article, it would seem safe to assume that everyone had a laugh at the end of the day. Despite prohibition being in effect at the time, there may have even been alcohol involved.

Certainly, an overturned bobsled with a couple of farmers and a pig carcass in the snowbank is worth a laugh.

Although I would guess the pigs involved didn’t get the humor in the situation.

Author Keith Norman can be reached at

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