NISQUALLY CHIEF LESCHI HANGED WRONGLY FOR MURDER
Born in 1808 to a Nisqually chief & a Klicktikat woman, Leschi, as chief, signed the Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854 under protest as the Nisqually reservation lacked access to the Nisqually River. During the Yakima War (1855-57), Leschi led several skirmishes and was in the Battle of Seattle. He was turned in by his nephew for a reward and tried for the “murder” of Colonel A. Benton Moses. His 1st trial resulted in a hung jury. At his 2nd trial, he was found guilty though Leschi claimed that all killings were done during wartime. At his hanging at Fort Steilacoom, the hangman recalled him as “the coolest of any on the scaffold.” On July 4, 1895, Leschi’s reburial on tribal land drew nearly 1000 people. On March 4, 2004, the Washington State Senate formally recognized the “injustice” of his 1858 trial & execution honoring him as “a courageous leader” & “a great and noble man” (Res. 8727). On December 10, 2004, a special historical court exonerated him of murder because he & Moses were legal combatants in a war.
Source: “Nisqually Chief Leschi is hanged on February 19, 1858,” HistoryLink.org, 1/29/2003. Retrieved 4/26/2021, Nisqually Chief Leschi is hanged on February 19, 1858. - HistoryLink.org Image: Author unknown, circa 1855. Public Domain.