Weapon from 1856 Battle of Seattle is recycled to fight in World War II on October 9, 1942.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 1/10/2001
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 2896
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On October 9, 1942, a cannonball fired by the USS Decatur in the Battle of Seattle in January 1856 (when Native Americans attacked Seattle), is recycled in a scrap metal drive for World War II. The cast iron ball, measuring approximately two inches in diameter had been dug up near the waterfront "many years ago" (Seattle Star) and was included in a campaign to supply steel for the war effort.

Franklin High School students Jean Grasser and Lugenia Whitehouse posed with a civil war musket, a dagger, and the cannonball for a photograph in the Seattle Star. Using the typical racist expressions of the day, Whitehouse said that she hoped that this relic from the Battle of Seattle would be made into bullets for her uncle, Sergeant Kenneth McDonald, to use in fighting the Japanese. As part of the war effort, citizens were encouraged to collect scrap metal that could be recast and used for military purposes.

On January 26, 1856, the Decatur was anchored in Elliott Bay when Native Americans attacked settlers in Seattle. The Decatur fired its cannon to drive off the attackers.


"War Relics Go To The Scrap Heap," Seattle Star, October 10, 1942, p. 6.

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