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 Chief Leschi

Chief Leschi

Birth
Death 19 Feb 1858
Steilacoom, Pierce County, Washington, USA
Burial Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, USA
Memorial ID 5861425 · View Source
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Nisqually Chieftan. Initially, he had been friendly to American settlement but as the chief who represented the Nisqually and Puyallup tribes at the Medicine Creek Treaty council of 1854, he argued against the treaty objecting to the two-square-mile reservation his people would be assigned which granted no access to the Nisqually River which was their main resource. He eventually signed the Treaty under protest, though some claim that the X beside his name was actually written in by someone else. Leschi traveled to the territorial capital to protest the terms of the treaty, and was turned away without hearing. In 1855, the Acting Governor ordered that Leschi be arrested and the militia was dispatched in pursuit of the chief, initiating the Puget Sound War. By the winter of 1856, Leschi had been betrayed by a tribesman for the government reward and captured. He was put on trial in 1858 for the murder of a territorial militia colonel. His first trial resulted in a hung jury which found that the death of combatants during wartime did not constitute murder. A second trial, however, found him guilty of murder and he was sentenced to death. Leschi was hanged in what is today the city of Lakewood, Washington. The hangman reportedly asserted that he felt that he was hanging an innocent man. Exactly 146 years later, state lawmakers and Nisqually Tribe members asked the state Supreme Court to expunge Leschi's criminal record. In March 2004, both houses of the Washington state legislature passed resolutions stating that Leschi was wrongly convicted and executed and asked the state supreme court to vacate Leschi's conviction. On December 10, 2004, Chief Leschi was exonerated by a unanimous vote by a Historical Court of Inquiry following a trial in absentia.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Tenalquot
  • Added: 19 Oct 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5861425
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Chief Leschi (unknown–19 Feb 1858), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5861425, citing Old Puyallup Indian Cemetery, Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .