Dirty Dan Harris and his amazing clam-digging pigs


pigs“Nelson Bennet, in 1889, bought the Dan Harris [land] claim for $40,000, paying for it in coin. Dan Harris, or Dirty Dan as he was known, was said to have been the laziest man that ever came to Washington. He located at what afterwards became Fairhaven many years before the coming of Bennet and his Fairhaven Land Company, and in reply to a question from Bennet said that at first he did not know how he was going to find stuff enough to live on, but that when the tide went out the table was set. Harris made a trip to Olympia and a friend of his there presented him with two pigs. He did not know what to do with them, but taking them back home with him, he turned them out to rustle for themselves. They grew fat and Harris was at a loss to know how the trick was done until he found them on the tide flats digging clams. This gave him an idea and he followed the pigs as they followed the receding tide. They would dig out two clams and Harris would at once appropriate one for his own use, treating the pigs fairly, he explained, by never taking more than he could use between tides.”

– Herbert Hunt, Floyd C. Kaylor, “Washington, West of the Cascades, Historical and Descriptive; the Explorers, the Indians, the Pioneers, the Modern.” (Chicago, Seattle, Tacoma: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1917) chapter Xxxiii, p. 410

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