5 Lesser Known (Completely Ridiculous) American Civil Wars

#2. The Walton War (North Carolina v. Georgia)

Sometimes it's not about keeping land, but trying to get rid of land nobody wants. Thus, in 1787, South Carolina gladly ceded a 12-mile strip of land to the Federal government in order to have a treaty with the Cherokee Indians. The Cherokee, having been in the land for a while, decided it wasn't worth much and ceded it back to the United States.


It was the re-gifted fruitcake of early America,

The thing was, the area was basically a lawless hellhole, where criminals hid out. So when Congress declared the land part of South Carolina again, South Carolina said, "Uh, no, really. You keep it. Really. REALLY. KEEP IT. HEY DO NOT TRY TO LEAVE THAT HERE!"

Congress said fine, and decided the smelly, unwanted land would fit in well with the other Carolina (that being North Carolina), who promptly went about pretending it wasn't there.

Then, after several Georgia governors got caught up in criminal land deals, Congress decided to punish them by forcing them to be responsible for the unwanted bit of land (called by some the "orphan strip"--presumably because "Turdville" was already taken).

Well, Georgia cleaned up the place a bit, and suddenly everybody wanted it. First South Carolina said they wanted it back, then North Carolina insisted the land was theirs. They screwed around for years trying to decide where the border was until finally, in 1810, North Carolina sent their militia take it by force. Suddenly they were willing to die for this piece of land nobody could give away two decades ago.

At the ridiculously named Battle of McGaha Branch, North Carolina killed several Georgians and captured 25 prisoners. The following Battle of Selica Hill saw the same result. Finally, a surveyor was brought in who established that, yes, the land belonged to North Carolina. Finally all of this foolishness could be put to rest. Really, what silly people we all were back in the 19th Century...

Oh, wait. Hold on. It turns out that the two states almost came to blows again in 1971 (that's not a typo--nineteen seventy-one) when the Georgia legislature considered a bill to resurvey freaking border and again try to reclaim some of the land.


Such was the madness of the disco era.

In response, North Carolina proposed a bill to send the state militia to the border to defend itself. Even though this was the 1970s, we're totally picturing guys on horses with muskets here.

Georgia let their bill die in committee, and the world was spared one more event that would have lowered their opinion of the American South.

#1. The Toledo War (Michigan v. Ohio)

In the early 1830s, Michigan Territory felt it had grown enough to seek a promotion from territory to full statehood. Its 24-year-old governor, Stevens T. Mason (the 1800s equivalent of a retiree), delivered a pioneer-era PowerPoint presentation for Congress consisting of charts, graphs and talking points to make the case.

After finishing its presentation, Michigan stood expectantly, thinking the promotion was in the bag. But from the back of Congress came a contemptuous clearing of a throat.


The Floor recognizes the state of Ohio.

Ohio's 54-year-old governor, Robert Lucas (the 1800s equivalent of Methuselah), took exception with a map presented by Michigan, mainly because it included the port city of Toledo, which happened to sit in a tiny strip of land that both states wanted.

Instead of saying, "Sure, are you kidding? Take it!" Michigan would not back down.

The young Stevens and the seasoned Lucas would wage a turf war over the territory, which later became a slightly more actual war. In March of 1835, Ohio sent about 600 militia north to the disputed Toledo Strip. Michigan responded with about 1,000 men who occupied Toledo and prepared for invasion.

The federal government (under President Andrew Jackson), realizing the situation was about to get stupid, sent representatives to tell everybody to calm down until they could figure out where the border was. The peace lasted a few weeks, when Ohio's governor sent out a survey team to again paint a dotted line where they thought the border should be.

The Michigan militia would have none of that shit, so 50 or 60 of them attacked the survey team in what would be called the Battle of Phillips Corner. Shots were fired. Nobody was killed, but they took nine of the survey team prisoner.


Further details can be found on a slab of wood in the middle of nowhere.

Now that pissed everybody off. Both sides started rapidly building up their militias in preparation for all-out civil war. Ohio raised 10,000 men. A Michigan newspaper then welcomed them to enter the Toldeo Strip and find "hospitable graves" there.

President Jackson, again hoping to put an end to the bullshit, removed the governor of the Michigan territory (again, there were just no rules at all back then) and replaced him with a guy named John Horner. The people flew into a rage, burned Horner in effigy and pelted him with vegetables when he entered the capital. A few months later, voters held an election and brought the other guy back.

Finally, Jackson told Michigan they could become a state... if they would just give up that freaking little strip of land. Michigan said hell no. Then Jackson announced the government was giving away $400,000 to all of the states. And Michigan could get in on that... if they accepted the terms. Realizing they were now broke--due to paying for a huge militia to fend off freaking Ohio--they finally gave in.

The first "stimulus" was born, turning Michigan into the modern economic powerhouse it is today.

And oh by the way: Toledo War is the basis for the storied Michigan-Ohio State football rivalry.

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