Chief Seattle Thelma Dewitty Thomas Foley Carrie Chapman Catt Anna Louise Strong Mark Tobey Helene Madison Home
Search Encyclopedia
Advanced Search
Featured Essay
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
7099 essays now available      
Donation system not supported by Safari     Donate Subscribe


Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search


Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Muckleshoots attack settlers along White River between Kent and Auburn on October 28, 1855. Essay 2008 : Printer-Friendly Format

On Sunday morning, October 28, 1855, Indians of the Muckleshoot and Klickitat tribes under Nelson and Kanasket raid farms between present-day Kent and Auburn and kill nine settlers. These attacks follow skirmishing in Pierce County between Nisquallys and Territorial volunteers sent to arrest the Nisqually chiefs Leschi (1808-1858) and Quiemuth, who refused to remove to treaty reservations.

Nisqually-Suquamish Chief Kitsap (d. 1858; not to be confused with the hostile Klickitat Chief Kitsap) and other sympathetic Indians advised settlers to flee. A. L. Porter narrowly escaped a raid on his White River cabin on September 27, 1855. He spread the alarm to other settlers, who retreated to Seattle's blockhouse. But Acting Territorial Governor Charles H. Mason (1830-1859) had assured settlers that there was no danger and settlers returned to their claims.

On October 22, 1855, the Nisqually chiefs met with Mason and they affirmed their position that they could not and would not live on the reservations provided in the Medicine Creek Treaty they had signed the prior December. A settler then wrote to Mason alleging that Leschi was organizing Indians to war against the whites. Reports and rumors of Indian attacks spread throughout the territory. Mason ordered Territorial volunteer Captain Charles H. Eaton and his 18 Mounted Rangers to seize Leschi and Quiemuth. The Nisquallys saw this as a hostile act and fled on October 25. Leschi joined warriors from the Klickitat and Muckleshoot tribes who had gathered  after fighting broke out between the Yakamas and U.S. Army troops east of the Cascades.

Early on Sunday morning, raiders broke down cabin doors and assaulted settlers. The victims of the White River raid were William H. Brannan, wife and child; Harry N. Jones, wife, and hired hand Enos Cooper; and George E. King, wife, and a child. A second King child, George, was abducted but returned to Fort Steilacoom the following spring. Three Jones children were spared on the order of Muckleshoot Chief Nelson, and they carried news of the attack to Seattle.

That same morning in Thurston County, a settler named Clark was ambushed while attending church services at Eaton Schoolhouse. Other settlers fought off the attack.

Many innocent Indians later suffered for the incident when the territorial government offered friendly tribes, notably the Snoqualmies, a bounty for the severed heads of suspected renegades. Tensions in King County intensified over the following weeks. Seattle Indian Agent Dr. David S. Maynard (1808-1873) arranged for the quick relocation of local Indians to the new Suquamish reservation on the western shore of Puget Sound across from Seattle.

Clarence Bagley, History of Seattle (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1916); History of King County, Washington (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1929); Murray Morgan, Skid Road: An Informal Portrait of Seattle (New York: Viking Press, 1951); Edmond Meany, History of the State of Washington (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1909); W. P. Bonney, History of Pierce County Washington (Chicago: Pioneer Historical Publishing Company, 1927), 162-184; Robert H. Ruby and John A. Brown, Indians of the Pacific Northwest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981), 150-152; Charles Wilkinson, Messages from Frank;s Landing: A Story of Salmon, Treaties, and the Indian Way (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000), 14-18; the online encyclopedia of Washington State History, "A Story of Pioneering," (by N. V. Sheffer) (accessed May 2, 2007). Note: There are slight discrepancies among the versions of this incident given by Meany, Bagley in 1916 and 1929, and Morgan. This account relies on Bagley's 1929 History of King County, which quotes a letter to Ezra Meeker by survivor Dr. John King on pages 167-170. Further Note: This essay was extensively revised on May 5, 2007, and emended on April 20, 2015.

Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Northwest Indians | War & Peace | Pioneers | Washington Rivers |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You

This essay made possible by:
Rivers In Time Project
King County
Seattle Public Utilities
Seattle City Light

Nisqually Chief Leschi (1808-1858)
Courtesy MOHAI

Charles H. Mason (1830-1859)
Courtesy Washington State Historical Society

Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM) is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email