U.S. citizen militia kills Nisqually women and children during Indian wars in April 1856.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 2/15/2003
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 5209
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In April 1856, during the Indian wars, Captain Hamilton J. C. Maxon and his citizen militia come upon a Nisqually encampment near where the Ohop Creek and the Mashel River join with the Nisqually River. (This is near the Thurston County-Pierce County border at the southernmost end of Puget Sound.) Several families, mostly women and children are encamped here. Captain Maxon and his volunteers kill everyone in this camp and then find a larger encampment near the confluence of the two rivers, again with mostly women and children present. TheĀ troops kill 17 of these Nisqually noncombatants and wound many more.

This event became known as Maxon's massacre (sometimes the Mashel massacre).


Charles Wilkinson, Messages from Frank's Landing: A Story of Salmon, Treaties, and the Indian Way (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000), 16-17; Caroline Denyer Gallacci, The City of Destiny and the South Sound: An Illustrated History of Tacoma and Pierce County (Carlsbad, CA: Heritage Media Corp., 2001).

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