Washington Territory's first Governor

A thunderstorm rumbled through Virginia on September 1st, 1862. The Battle of Chantilly raged during a fierce thunderstorm and heavy fighting. During the exchange of fire - five color bearers from the 79th New York Regiment lost their lives. Their dangerous job was to hold the stars and stripes at the front of the line. Former Washington Territory governor, Issac Stevens, in charge of the Union regiment, learned that its 6th color bearer was shot while holding the flag. Upon hearing the dire news, he hurried through his band of men and grabbed the flag.

'Knowing the regimental flag would be a target - yelled at Stevens "For God's sake, General, don't take the colors!" ' -David Welker’s Tempest at Ox Hill - The Battle of Chantilly

A moment after Issac Stevens grabbed the flag - his son Hazard, who was serving alongside, was shot and injured. 

Hazard Stevens cried out to his father for help, to which the general replied, "I can't attend to you now, Hazard. Corporal Thompson, see to my boy". -Storke, Elliot G. (1865). A Complete History of the Great American Rebellion

Moments later, General Issac Stevens died with a bullet to the head, while in pursuit of the retreating Confederate soldiers.

'He collapsed, his body twisted, wrapping itself in the flag that he was still carrying and staining it with his blood.' -David Welker’s Tempest at Ox Hill - The Battle of Chantilly


Young Hazard Stevens survived the Civil War and became a PNW legend. 

Hazard Stevens
Hazard Stevens/Public Domain

Hazard Stevens and his colleague, PB Van Trump together became the first two climbers known to summit Mt. Rainier. 

Hazard Stevens Traveled all around Washington

Hazard traveled throughout Washington Territory accompanying his father meeting with tribal leaders and establishing treaties. After the Civil War, he received a Congressional Medal of Honor - for his part in the recapture of Fort Hugar, in Virginia.

The Story of the First Rainier Summit

Mt. Rainier (1895) -Public Domain
Mt. Rainier (1895)
-Public Domain

In August of 1870 - Hazard Stevens & Philemon Beecher Van Trump left Olympia for the historic attempt at climbing Rainier. They met up with James Longmire in Yelm for pack horses - and a Native American mountain guide named Sluiskin at Bear Prairie. 

PB Van Trump (1909)/Public Domain
PB Van Trump (1909)/Public Domain

Upon arriving at Mazama Ridge to camp for the night, Sluiskin told the two of “an infernal demon on the mountain would destroy them.”

Hazard and P.B. ignored the warnings and pressed on the next morning - without any cold weather gear believing they would summit and return before sunset. 

Thinking they reached the top at five in the afternoon - the two planted a flag at what they would name Peak Success. 

The two realized they still were not at the top.

They had to push up, another 250 feet to Crater Peak - where Hazard Stevens left a bronze plate with the two men's names.

Hazard & P.B. Didn’t know if they’d get down alive

They were forced to spend the night near the summit, huddling inside a cave containing a steam vent, unsure of their chances of survival - Brown, Jessica Wambach (June 2019). "Man vs. Mountain: Hazard was his name, and high-rock chance-taking was this daredevil's game"



Party in Olympia

Hazard Stevens and PB Van Trump’s 1870 successful adventure put them in the history books. While it still stands as the first official summiting of Rainier - several people didn’t believe they made it to the top. Hazard Stevens’ brass plate was never found at Crater Peak.

The Stevens–Van Trump monument along the Skyline Trail in Mount Rainier National Park, commemorates the 1870 summit.

Info: Historylink.org

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