The Absence of Peace
Introduction: The following provides background on the fighting that broke out in the western part of Washington Territory in the mid 1850s.
1850 – Donation Land Act passed by U.S. Congress
1853 – Longmire family moves on to land east of Yelm prairie
December 26, 1854 – Medicine Creek Treaty signed (Ratified by Senate March 1855) Nisquallies to move to land in Township 17 North, Range 1 West. (parts of sections 22, 23, 26, & 27) Around 1,700 acres. (For Edwin Eells account of this written in click here.)
Summer 1855 – Leschi goes east of the mountains
Fall 1855 – At least eight miners on their way to eastern Washington gold fields killed in the Yakima Valley.
September 1855 – Indian agent George Bolan’s charred and mutilated body was found in a gully in the Simco Mountains east of the Cascades.
October 16, 1855 – James McCallister writes a letter to acting Governor Charles Mason stating that Leschi “has been doing all he could possibly do to unite the Indians of the country to rise against the whites.”
October 22, 1855 – Leschi visits acting governor Mason to discuss Nisqually dissatisfaction with the Medicine Creek Treaty. Mason invites Leschi to come camp near Olympia while things cool down.
October 24, 1855 – Mason sends Eatons Rangers to “escort’” Leschi back to Olympia. Neither Leschi or his brother are found, though Leschi’s plow is found amid furrow. Cecelia Svinth Carpenter has written: Indian drums sounded throughout the foothills and not a canoe was seen in the river. (For other accounts regarding the breakdown of order click here.)
October 27, 1855 – Eaton’s command attacked. First casualties of the hostilities.
October 28, 1855 – Families living along the White River, in what is today King County, attacked and killed.
Fall 1855 – Indian Agent Michael T. Simmons encourages “friendly” Nisquallies to move to Fox or Squaxon Island.
January 5, 1856 – Leschi visits Fox Island to speak with Simmons about ending the strife.
February 4, 1856 – Leschi visits John McLeod at Muck Creek to see if there can be an end to the violence.
February 19, 1856 – Ft. Stevens constructed on the Yelm Prairie
April 1856 – Mashel Massacre.
May 1856 – Martial law declared by Governor Stevens
November 1856 – Leschi captured.