The Legend Of The Pig

Meet Morgan

During the late 19th century, railroad magnate James J. Hill established a working livestock farm in what is now called North Oaks (the acreage included the site of this restaurant). The farm was created in part because of Hill’s own love of the rural lifestyle, but also as a means of breeding beef cattle with which to seed future markets along his Pacific railroad route.

Legend has it that one of the cattlemen working the farm owned a pet — a Hampshire pig named Morgan (likely named for Hill’s rival financier, J.P.)— who was once praised by a visitor as, "such a highly intelligent specimen that a man should be lucky to sire a son with half so much aptitude."

The pig had been trained to respond to a variety of commands usually associated with dogs: sit, rollover, and fetch, as well as perform what was said to be a very funny "impression" of President Grover Cleveland. The creature became so beloved, by both the house staff and members of the Hill family, that it was the only "farm" animal actually allowed into the family residence (where he sometimes enjoyed scraps from the family table.)

At the time, some claimed that Hill was planning to expand his operation to include hog farming, but was dissuaded from that notion by a daughter who had grown particularly fond of the pig. For the good fortune he represented to his fellow swine, Morgan became something of a "good luck charm" among the hired men, who took to rubbing his belly before poker games and horseshoe matches. When Morgan died in 1903, a likeness was created for the family by the local blacksmith. Morgan's statue was kept in the stable so that he could continue in his capacity as luck provider.

Morgan the pig, now represented in bronze, has lost none of his luck-providing ability. Go ahead, rub his tummy and see if you don’t feel luckier…