Prominent individuals caught up in the conflict
Nisqually Indian relationships with the Hudson Bay Trading Company
The circumstances leading to heightened hostilities
The events of the Indian Wars
A Nisqually leader is tried for murder
The legend continues into the present
Teacher's Guide: Lesson Plans, Learning Requirements, etc
Nov 18, 1856: Quiemuth meets Stevens and pronounces him a "good man..."
In October 1855, Lieutenant James McAllister convinced Acting Governor Charles Mason that Leschi was stirring up trouble with the other Indians. Mason dispatched McAllister's militia unit, Eaton's Rangers, headed by Captain Charles Eaton, to take Leschi into custody and deliver him to Olympia. (Newell 25)
Word reached the Nisqually chief out on the prairie where he and Quiemuth were plowing in preparation for the fall planting. Mounting their fastest horses, Leschi and Quiemuth fled, leaving the plowshare in the partially finished furrow. (Newell 25)
The two brothers rode northeast towards the White River, intending to join the Yakamas in their uprising, but fell in with a group of Indians wishing to fight in the Puget Sound. This group grew to number about forty, and though the stories vary, one account claims this group ambushed the pursuing Eaton's Rangers at Connell's Prairie, killing James McAllister and Michael Connell. (Eckrom 35)
The war continued in Puget Sound, with casualties mounting on both sides, prompting Governor Stevens, newly returned from his treaty tour, to declare martial law. Many of the settlers were moved into blockhouses for their protection. Stevens offered a reward of fifty blankets to any Indian who would lead him to Leschi. Sluggia, a nephew of the Nisqually chief, betrayed his uncle to the authorities, and Leschi was captured. Shortly thereafter Quiemuth grew weary of the fighting and determined to turn himself in.
Quiemuth approached a Frenchman named Ozha who lived near the Nisqually, requesting that he contact a local settler, James Longmire, a friend of Governor Stevens, to arrange his surrender. Ozha was told by Longmire to bring Quiemuth to him after dark. If Quiemuth were seen, he would likely be killed.
In the early morning hours of November 18, 1856, Longmire escorted Quiemuth to the Governor's office in Olympia, awaking Stevens. They were provided with much-needed nourishment, and the prisoner was given a pipe of tobacco. Quiemuth smoked the tobacco and commented on his perception of Stevens as a "good man... [who] would not hurt him." Offered a bed, they declined as they were muddy from their long trip. Instead they lay down beside the fire in the office with blankets, one on either side of the fireplace. Governor Stevens returned to his quarters.
News of the chief's arrival must have circulated despite Longmire's secrecy, as in the midst of deep sleep, Longmire was aroused by the sound of a gunshot, and people running out of the office. Turning to Queimuth, Longmire discovered him speechless and dying of a gunshot wound and a knife embedded in his chest. (Longmire)
Awakened by the commotion, Stevens rushed into the office and discovered the prisoner dead. Longmire was not able to identify the attackers.
Joseph Bunting, James McAllister's son-in-law, was arrested for the murder of Quiemuth, but court records indicate that "there was insufficient evidence to hold the party." (Newell 31)
Quiemuth's body was taken to Fort Nisqually and initially buried there. On July 4, 1895, the body of Quiemuth, with the rusty knife still imbedded in his chest, was moved, along with the body of his brother Leschi, to "Leschi's old village on the edge of the prairie and situated in a grove of prairie oak." (Carpenter 172, 216-218)
Carpenter, Cecelia Svinth. The Nisqually, My People. Tacoma: Tahoma Research, 2002.
Newell, Gordon R. Rogues, Buffoons & Statesmen. Seattle: Superior Publishing Company, 1975.
Eckrom, J. A. Remembered Drums: A History of the Puget Sound Indian War. Walla Walla, WA: Pioneer Press Books, 1989.
Longmire, James. "James Longmire, Pioneer: Interesting Story of His Experience in Hunting Buffalo Coming Across the Plains." The Oregon Trail. Idaho State University. September 17, 2004.