JANUARY 26, 1856


This one-day battle was part of the Puget Sound War (also Yakima War) which began in late 1855.  Natives were angered by treaties imposed by Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens.  Fighting occurred between federal troops and natives in southern King and Thurston Counties.  Five days before the Seattle attack, Stevens declared a “war of extermination” upon the Indians.   While he discounted rumors of attack, reports credited Chief Seattle, his daughter Princess Angeline, and Chief Sucquardle (also known as “Curley” or “Curly Jim”) for warning that attack was imminent.   Backed by sloop-of-war Decatur, anchored in what is now Elliott Bay, settlers suffered two deaths.  Natives admitted to 28 dead and 80 wounded.  One of Seattle’s founders, David Swinson “Doc” Maynard, with the help of his wife and at his own expense, evacuated 434 friendly natives to the west side of Puget Sound for their safety. 

Sources:  Walt Crowley and David Wilma, “Native Americans attack Seattle on January 26, 1856,” HistoryLink.org, 2/15/2003.  Retrieved 7/15/2019,  http://www.historylink.org/File/5208 “Washington Indian Wars,” Legends of America, reprinted Idle No More, 1/21/2016.  Retrieved 7/15/2019, https://www.facebook.com/IdleNoMoreWashington/posts/the-battle-of-seattle-january-26-1856-part-of-the-puget-sound-war-the-battle-occ/977299678984978/
Drawing:  Clarence Hanford (1857-1920), 1893.  Courtesy of Washington State Historical Society.  Public Domain.

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