|Battlefields & Treaties - Fort Steilacoom Park
In 1855 a battle occurred east of present day Tacoma between the territorial militia and members of the Nisqually Tribe. During that skirmish, volunteer militiaman Colonel Abrams Benton Moses was shot and killed. Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens wrongly accused Nisqually Chief Leschi for Moses' "murder," and ordered his arrest and execution.
A one-mile walking trail encircles tranquil Waughop Lake and a U.S. military fort where Leschi had been taken after capture and hanged at the gallows near Lake Steilacoom. In Thunderbird Square, a monument stands marking the place where Chief Leschi was hanged.
On December 10, 2004 -146 years after the execution-Chief Justice Gerry Alexander helped organize a Historical Court of Inquiry and Justice to retry Leschi in absentia. The Court concluded, "The killing was a legitimate act of war, immune from prosecution." Consequently, Leschi was declared exonerated of Moses' murder.
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