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"Just Pig" Sausage

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J. P. Reeve first came to North Dakota in 1905 and settled near Beach. He believed in “mixed farming," and reportedly raised the largest crop in the county in 1906. He also had a large number of pigs and livestock. He became a “substantial booster” for the state and for Golden Valley, and he held a variety of prominent positions, including a term in the state legislature in 1911, and by 1916, as president of the State Automobile Association. He also worked to promote the Red Trail.

In December 1913, Reeve started up a sausage business. His J. P. Brand, also known as “Just Pig” Sausage, caught North Dakota by storm.

J. P. knew the power of advertising; he sent samples all over the state. And it worked! After giving some to the editor of the Golden Valley Chronicle, the paper stated: “after sampling it, we predict that J. P. will make a big success of the undertaking—if good sausage is what the public wants.”

More samples were sent out in January 1914 as the business flourished. The sausage made its rounds at the banquet of a newspaper editorial convention at Bismarck. As reported in the Beach Advance, “J. P. Reeve, always alive to the opportunity of life, presented Ed. Paterson of the McKenzie hotel with a number of pounds of …sausage. … Mr. Paterson … has given Mr. Reeve a standing order for daily shipments.”

The Ward County Independent also reported receiving a pound of each kind of the famous ‘Just Pig’ sausage noting: “This is a North Dakota product that is taking well with the people of this and other states. Many of the larger hotels of North Dakota are featuring them on their menus.”

Reeve certainly kept himself busy with all of his interests and pursuits, though his interests literally collided in an incident that would have been an interesting topic of conversation on this date in 1914. As reported in the Beach Advance, “Mr. Reeve had left his auto near a ravine on his place and when he returned for the machine discovered that the pigs, in rooting around it, had succeeded in running it into the ravine, damaging it to a considerable extent. The said pigs have been converted into ‘Just Pig’ sausage to help pay for the repairs.”

Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker

Golden Valley Chronicle, December 19, 1913, p7

The Ward County Independent, January 29, 1914, p1

Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, March 31, 1916, p13

North Dakota Blue Book 1911

The Beach Advance, January 23, 1914

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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