Tecumseh (1,2) was born on March (1,5) 9th (6) OR in about (13) 1768. (1,2) Later tradition claimed that a (13) great meteor (6) OR comet (13) flashed and burned its way across the heavens, (6,13) which explains his name ‘The Shooting Star’ (6,7) OR “I Cross the Way” (13) OR ‘Celestial Panther Lying in Wait’ (6) OR ‘panther lying in wait’ (4) OR “A Panther Crouching for His Prey” (13) (See note on alternative spellings of his name1) If not to a heavenly object, then likely a reference to his family clan, as Shawnee children inherited a clan affiliation from their fathers; Tecumseh belonged to the panther clan, one of about a dozen Shawnee clans. (13)
He was probably born in (5) OR near (8) a small (7) Shawnee (6,7) Indian (7) village (6,7) OR town, along the Scioto River (13) called Chillicothe (7,10) OR Old Chillicothe, (5) OR Piqua (6) OR Old Piqua (2) in what was then Ohio Country, (5,13) in the British Empire, (5) and is now in modern Clark county2, (2) south of present-day Columbus (10) near Springfield, (12,13) in western (4) Ohio, United States. (1,2) Nineteenth century traditions (and current Ohio historical markers) placed his birthplace further west, along the Little Miami River, although the Shawnee towns there were not settled until after Tecumseh’s birth. (13)
He became a brilliant (13) widely admired (4,5) Native American (1,3) OR Indian (2,4) Shawnee chief (1,2), warrior (1,4) strong and eloquent (5) orator (2,4) and advocate of intertribal Indian alliance (2,5) in the Old Northwest (4,5) Territory (5) as a means to end the encroachment of the white settlers upon Native American lands. (13) He grew up during the American Revolutionary War (7,10) and the Northwest Indian War, (5) and was exposed to warfare. (7,10) The term ‘Indian Wars’ is the name generally used in the United States to describe a series of conflicts between the United States and Native Americans (formerly known as ‘Indians’). (13) Also generally included in this term are those Colonial American wars with Native Americans that preceded the creation of the United States. (13)
In addition to clans, the Shawnee had five traditional divisions, membership in which was also inherited from the father. (13) Tecumse was the son of Puckshinwau (8) OR Puckshinwa (5) OR Puckeshinwa (10,11) OR Pucksinwah (13) a minor Shawnee war chief (8,10) who belonged to the division of the Kispokotha. (13) There is some evidence to suggest that Tecumseh’s paternal grandfather (Pucksinwah’s father) may have been a white fur trade. (13) His mother was (7,8) Methotaske (7) OR Methoataske (5,10) OR Methotasa. (13) Biographer John Sugden believes that she was (13) a Shawnee (7,8) of the Pekowi (Piqua) division. (13) OR was Creek or Cherokee (13) OR Muskogee (Creek Confederacy). (12) Some of the confusion results from the fact that some Creeks and Cherokees were eager to claim the famous Tecumseh as one of their own; many Creeks named children after him. (13) He had four brothers, Cheeseekau (1) OR Chiksika (12) OR Sauwauseekau, (11) Tecumapease3, Nehaaeemo and (1) his younger brother (4,6) Tenskwatawa. (1,5) OR Lalawéthika (9) He had an older sister (7,10) named Tecumpease. (10) OR Tecumapease4 (12) In about 1795, Tecumseh took a wife, Mamate, and had a son, Paukeesaa, born about 1796. (14) OR He had three children, Cheeseekau5, Naythawaynah and Mahyawwekawpaese. (1)
Tecumapease by artist John Davidson, 1930 ~ Greene County Historical Society collection
Warfare between whites and native peoples loomed large in Tecumseh’s youth. (13) He grew up amidst the (10,11) near-constant (11) border warfare (10) between his Shawnee tribe and white frontiersmen (11) that ravaged the Ohio Valley in the last quarter of the 18th century. (10) The white Americans, who the Shawnee called ‘Big Knives’ for the swords they carried, seized the Shawnee hunting grounds, and destroyed their villages. (9) From earliest childhood (9,12) his mother instilled in Tecumseh (12) a hatred of whites. (9,12) Murder, massacre, and the invasion of the Shawnee’s lands and the destruction of their crops deepened his hatred of whites. (12) When Tecumseh was six (3,4) Lord Dunmore’s War broke out (8,11) after a series of violent incidents, including one in which about a dozen Native Americans were plied with whiskey and challenged to a target shooting match before being slaughtered. (11) Tecumseh’s father, Puckeshinwa, participated in the war. (11)
At the height of Lord Dunmore’s War, (8) Puckshinwau (8) OR Puckshinwa (5) OR Puckeshinwa (10,11) OR Pucksinwah (13) was killed (3,4) during a retreat across the Ohio River. (11) He was killed by white men (3,7) who were violating a treaty by coming on Shawnee land (3) in the Ohio Valley (7,10) at the Battle (4,7) of Point Pleasant (4,7) in October (11) 1774. (3,4) As he lay dying, he supposedly told his son, Chiksika OR Cheeseekau, (12) to never make peace with the Virginians and to supervise the warrior training of his other male children. (11) He and his family moved many times due to having their village raided by George Rogers Clark and his men. (3) His mother left home, (7,10) when Tecumseh was seven years old (12) migrating with other Shawnees(10) to Missouri (10,12) when the Shawnee tribe split up, (7) and she passed into obscurity. (12) He was adopted by the Shawnee chief Blackfish and grew to young manhood with several white foster brothers whom Blackfish had captured. (12) He was raised by his older sister (7,10) Tecumpease (10) OR Tecumapease (12) OR Tecumapese (13) who trained him in the strict Shawnee code of honesty, (12) good morals and high character. (13) OR He was raised by his elder brother (12,13) an important war leader, (13) taught Tecumseh woodcraft and hunting (12) aspects of warrior training, (11,12) as he had promised his dying father. (11)
These experiences had a lasting effect on Tecumseh and he vowed to become a warrior like his father, (3,8) and defend his land and people: (3) He probably accompanied (13) Chiksika (11,13) OR Cheeseekau, (12,13) in skirmishes against whites in Kentucky and Ohio. (13) When he was about 14 years old, during the American Revolution, he accompanied Blackfish in combined British and Indian attacks on Americans. (12) As a 15-year-old (3) teenager he joined a band of warriors (3,7) the American Indian Confederacy under the leadership of Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant. (8,10) Brant encouraged tribes to share ownership of their territory and pool their resources and manpower. (8,10) After the American Revolutionary War ended in 1783 (14) Tecumseh fought in many raids (4,7) against American settlers in Kentucky and Tennessee, (4) to defend Indian territory (8) against the encroaching white man, (4,7) attacking American (3,8) flat (3,12) boats (3,8) trying to make their way down the Ohio River (3,8) from Pennsylvania. (3) These raids were extremely successful, nearly cutting off river access to the territory for a time. (8,10) Tecumseh became known as a brave warrior, (7) willing to take risks and make significant sacrifices. (5) He had accompanied one of the predatory Shawnee raids on the flatboats, but as hostile as he was toward whites, (12) he was appalled (10,12) by the brutality displayed by both white and Native Americans, and (10) after witnessing a white man burned at the stake, Tecumseh vehemently chastised his fellow tribesmen for their actions. (10,12) He showered them with such abuse that they never tortured a prisoner in his presence again. (12) He thus discovered that words could be as powerful as weapons. (12) After the war, Tecumseh for a number of years was a marauder, fighting small actions against the whites in the Northwest and assisting the Cherokees in the South. (12)
During the American Revolutionary War, many Shawnee villages were destroyed by American frontiersmen including what was likely Tecumseh’s boyhood home at Piqua. (13) Tecumseh may have witnessed his first battle, (14) the Battle of Piqua, in 1780, (13,14) while he was still a young boy under Chiksika’s supervision, but Tecumseh did not engage in combat. (14) Tribal chiefs later recalled that Tecumseh became so frightened during the battle that he ran away; it was allegedly the only instance in Tecumseh’s life where he fled the battlefield. (14)
He fought small actions in the South, and made an acquaintance with the Creeks that helped him later to form an alliance with them. (12) The Shawnee tribe joined with British forces during the American Revolution, pitting them against Clark. (3)
In 1786 (9) after the USA became independent (3) the Shawnee were forced to sign a treaty surrendering almost their whole territory, an area now comprising eastern and southern Ohio. (9) In early 1789, OR early 1790. (14) Tecumseh travelled south with (13,14) Chiksika (11,13) OR Cheeseekau, (12,13) to live among, and fight alongside, the Chickamauga Cherokee. (13) The two were accompanied by twelve Shawnee warriors, and stayed at Running Water (in Marion County, Tennessee), because that was where the wife and daughter whom (13,14) Chiksika (11,13) OR Cheeseekau, (12,13) had not seen in years lived. (13) There Tecumseh met (13,14) the famous leader (13) Dragging Canoe, who was leading a resistance movement against USA expansion. (13,14) During their trip south, Tecumseh fell from his horse during a hunting expedition and broke a bone in his thigh. (14) The injury took several months to heal and caused him to walk with a slight limp for the remainder of his life. (14) Tecumseh remained with the Chickamauga for nearly two years. (14) During this time he fathered a daughter with a Cherokee; however, the relationship was brief and the child remained with her mother. (14)In 1788 (11) OR September 1792, (12) OR June 17946 a year after the USA Congress precipitated the settlement of Shawnee lands by passing the Northwest Ordinance, (11)
Tecumseh’s brother (11,12) Cheeseekau (1) OR Chiksika (12) OR Sauwauseekau, (11) was fatally wounded6 (11,12) while attacking a stockade (11) in an unsuccessful raid (12,13) near Nashville (12) in present-day Tennessee. (11,12) Although he was the youngest of the small (13) Shawnee band (12,13,) Tecumseh was chosen leader, (7,12) for the raids. (13) succeeding Cheeseekau (1) OR Tenskwatawa7. (5) His men also included Chickamauga warriors. (13) Tecumseh returned to Ohio in late 1790, having fathered, according to Cherokee legend, a Cherokee daughter before leaving. (13)
Back in the Ohio Country, Tecumseh took part in the war to resist further expansion into the Ohio Country by the United States. (13) In fall 1790, the Shawnee and Miami tribes repelled an assault on their villages near modern Fort Wayne, Indiana, killing 183 USA troops in the process. (11) President George Washington authorized a new campaign the following year, in which he put Governor Arthur St. Clair of the Northwest Territory in charge of some 2,300 men. (11) On the march north from modern Cincinnati, hundreds of them deserted as the weather worsened and food supplies ran low. (11) For nearly two months, the remaining troops had little contact with native tribes, though Tecumseh scouted them. (11) On November 3rd, the soldiers set up camp along the Wabash River in western Ohio. (11) Washington had advised St. Clair to “beware of surprise,” but he posted few guards and built no barricades. (11) The next morning, as the soldiers prepared breakfast, a force of Native Americans attacked and immediately overran them. (11) The poorly trained militiamen fled, whereas the regulars who kept their position were decimated. (11) When the dust cleared a few hours later, at least 623 American soldiers and dozens of camp followers (11) OR 952 of the 1,000 in St. Clair’s army (8,10) were dead, and hundreds more were wounded. (11) In comparison, fewer than 300 USA troops died during the much-more-famous Battle of the Little Bighorn. (11) OR Tecumseh further proved himself under Blue Jacket and Little Turtle at (8,10) OR did not play a major role in (11) the Battle of the Wabash. (8,10) Throughout the battle itself, in which only 21 Native Americans were reportedly killed, he watched the rear trail to make sure no reinforcements arrived. (11) St. Clair was forced to resign, (8) but the victory over St. Clair proved to be short lived. (11) At the call of Bluejacket, the Shawnee chief who was collecting a force to meet a (12) USA army under Major General Anthony Wayne (10,12) Tecumseh returned to Ohio, (12) where he directed the unsuccessful attack on Wayne’s position at Fort Recovery in June 1794. (10,12),
Two months later, (10,12) on August 20th, 1794, (12) Tecumseh (4,8) led part of Bluejacket’s force (12) in the Battle of Fallen Timbers. (4,8) This decisive conflict against General Anthony Wayne and his American forces ended in a brutal (8,12) defeat for the American Indian Confederacy. (8,10) Cheeseekau (1) OR Chiksika (12) OR Sauwauseekau, (11,12) one of Tecumseh’s brothers, was shot and killed at the Battle. (11,12) This ended the Northwestern Indian Wars in the Americans’ favour. (14)
The leading chiefs of the Old Northwest answered Wayne’s call to (12) a peace conference at Greenville, in Ohio. (4,10) Bitterly disappointed, Tecumseh refused to (4,10) attend it. (10,12) The Treaty of Greenville in (4,10) August (12) 1795, (4,10), forced the Native Americans to give up most of present-day Ohio and part of Indiana (11,14) in exchange for goods valued at $20,000. (14) Tecumseh did not sign or abide by the agreement. (11,12) Land, he said, was like the air and water, the common possession of all Indians. (10,12) He roundly attacked the “peace” chiefs who signed away land that he contended they did not own, (10,12) saying that every tribal leader who signed such treaties “should have his thumb cut off”. (11)
Tecumseh settled in Greenville, the home of his younger brother Tenskwatawa, also known as The Prophet. (13)American Indians were (and remain) diverse peoples with their own histories; throughout the wars, they were not a single people any more than Europeans were. (13) Living in societies organized in a variety of ways, American Indians usually made decisions about war and peace at the local level, though they sometimes fought as part of formal alliances. (13) By 1795 Tecumseh was a war and civil chief, but engaged in the futile struggle to preserve his people, and the new century found the Shawnee sinking into poverty, strife and disease. (9) The tide of settlers had pushed game from the Indians’ hunting grounds, and, as a result, the Indian economy had broken down. (12) He formed the opinion that (6) the whites’ desire for land was insatiable (11) and that they would never rest until all American Indians were dispossessed. (6) Tecumseh revived an idea advocated in previous years by the Shawnee leader Blue Jacket and the Mohawk leader Joseph Brant, which stated that native land was owned in common by all tribes, and thus no land could be sold without agreement by all. (13) The doctrine of communal ownership of the land became the cornerstone of his policy. (12) For a time he studied treaties, spoke at councils, and lived peacefully in Ohio and Indiana. (12) He held that Indian lands were held in common by all Indians and could not be sold or transferred by any one tribe. (4) He was disgusted by the old chiefs who were selling the rights of their people for liquor and trinkets. (4)
Tenskwatawa (1,5) OR Lalawéthika (9) was a religious man. (7,10) “The Open Door” or “”) and became known as “The Prophet” He claimed to have had a revelation from the “Master of Life” (12) and experienced a series of visions (4,7) In 1805 (13) he had become prominent as the leader of a (10) nativist religious revival (10,13) known as ‘The Prophet’, (4,5) OR ‘The Shawnee Prophet’ (14) OR ‘The Open Door’, (6,14) OR ‘One with Open Mouth’ (14) Tecumseh melded his brother’s message with his own political agenda. (4) It provided spiritual impetus for the brothers, (6,7) who started preaching against cultural assimilation. (11) They urged their people to embrace traditional ways, reject white culture (4,7) and to refrain from ceding any additional lands to the Unites States. (13) The Prophet’s beliefs were based on the earlier teachings of the Lenape prophets, Scattamek and Neolin, who predicted a coming apocalypse that would destroy the European-American settlers. (14) His teachings became widely known, and the mysticism of the beliefs attracted native followers from many different tribes, especially among the Ojibwe (Chippewa) affiliates. (13) Opposing Tenskwatawa was the Shawnee leader Black Hoof, who was working to maintain a peaceful relationship with the USA. (13,14) The Treaty of Greenville was signed, most of the Shawnee in Ohio settled at the Shawnee village of Wapakoneta on the Auglaize River, where Black Hoof, a senior chief who had signed the treaty, was their leader. (14) Little Turtle, a Miami war chief, a participant in the Northwest Indian War, and a signer of the treaty at Greenville, lived in his village along the Eel River. (14) Black Hoof and Little Turtle urged cultural adaptation and accommodation with the United States. (14) The tribes of the region also participated in several additional treaties, including the Treaty of Vincennes (1803 and 1804) and the Treaty of Grouseland (1805), that ceded Indian-held land in southern Indiana to the Americans. (14) The treaties granted the Indians annuity payments and other reimbursements in exchange for their lands. (14) The Prophet, by contrast, wanted Indians to reject the white man’s customs, which included firearms, consumption of alcohol, and European-style clothing. (14) Influenced by his brother’s preaching, Tecumseh put aside his European clothes. (9) Partly because of his superb oratory, which the whites compared with that of the young Henry Clay, the rising political leader in Kentucky, Tecumseh became the spokesman for the Indians in great councils in Ohio, at Urbana (1799) and Chillicothe (1804) that undertook to settle grievances. (12) He was a gifted speaker and he began to go to other tribes to convince them that the only way to fight the United States was to unite and create their own country. (7) “I have heard many great orators, but I never saw one with the vocal powers of Tecumseh, or the same command of the muscles in his face,” recalled a white soldier who saw one of his speeches. (11) He directed Indian resistance to white (2,3) OR American (5) rule in the Ohio River valley (2,3) in the Northwest Indian War. (1)
Occasionally Indian tribes united in such unions as the Iroquois Confederation. (13) Tecumseh wanted to unite the Indian tribes into a single confederacy, (6,7) and rid ancestral lands of white occupation. (4) All Indian people would set aside their ancestral rivalries and unite into a single movement to defend their culture, their homelands, and their very lives. (6) He had a vision of uniting the tribes against the Americans and forming an Independent Nation of Native Americans East of the Mississippi, (3,5) under British protection. (5) He conceived of an alliance of all remaining native people, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, from the prairies of the Midwest to the swamplands of Florida. (6) He began gathering other discontented natives around him. (3,4) With inexhaustible energy, he began to form an Indian confederation to resist white pressure. (12) In the early 19th century, (1,3) in 1808, (3) Tecumseh became the leader of a confederation made up of various tribes. (1,3) It was known as Tecumseh’s Confederacy, (3) OR ‘Although Tecumseh would eventually emerge as the leader of this confederation, it was built upon a foundation established by the religious appeal of his younger brother’. (13) Tecumseh made long journeys in a vast territory, from the Ozarks to New York and from Iowa to Florida, gaining recruits (particularly among the tribes of the Creek Confederacy, to which his mother’s tribe belonged). (12) There the brothers sought to induce the Indians to discard white customs and goods and to abjure intertribal wars for unity against the white invader. (12) The code of the Prophet had a mysticism that appealed to the Indians, and many became converts. (12)
Relatively few of his followers were Shawnee; although Tecumseh is often portrayed as the leader of the Shawnee, most Shawnee in fact had little involvement with Tecumseh or the Prophet, and chose instead to move further west or to remain at peace with the United States. (13) By 1808, tensions with whites and Black Hoof’s Shawnees (13) compelled Tenskwatawa OR Lalawéthika (9) and Tecumseh (1,5) and the small group of about 250 men who had stayed with Tecumseh after the battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, (8) to choose a new home for their people. (9) They moved further northwest and (13) in 1808 Tecumseh founded (5,6) a new capital on the banks (6,9) OR near the confluence of (13) the Wabash and Tippecanoe rivers. (6,9) The Americans called the village Prophetstown, (4,5) and it was also known as Tippecanoe. (8) It was in Indiana Territory (5,8) north of present-day Lafayette, (5,14) near present-day Battle Ground, (13,14) in northwestern (11) Indiana. (11,12) Using his superior oratory skills, over time Tecumseh transformed his brother’s religious following into a political movement, discouraging Native Americans from assimilation into the white world. (10) Headquartered at Prophetstown, near the juncture of the Tippecanoe and Wabash rivers, Tecumseh began recruiting different tribes throughout the Northwest Territory and southern United States, (10) encouraging them eventually to join a new pan-Indian alliance. (8) Prophetstown grew into a large, multi-tribal community (5,14) and a central point in Tecumseh’s political and military alliance. (5) It served as a major center of Indian culture, a temporary barrier to the encroaching settlers’ westward movement, and a base to expel the whites and their culture from the territory. (14) The community attracted thousands of Algonquin-speaking Indians and became an intertribal, religious stronghold within the Indiana Territory for 3,000 inhabitants. (14) Recruits came from an estimated fourteen different tribal groups, although the majority were members of Shawnee, Delaware, and Potawatomi tribes. (14) Tecumseh emerged as the primary leader and war chief of the confederation of warriors at Prophetstown. (14) Its existence sent a message of resistance against the settlers, the American government, and assimilation. (8)
William Henry Harrison, governor of (8,13) newly formed (13) Indiana Territory (8,13) was negotiating treaties and utilizing American forces to put pressure on those tribes still in Indiana and especially those allied with Prophetstown. (8) In September (13) 1809 (8,9) Harrison, signed (8) the Treaty of Fort Wayne (3,5) with assorted Native American chiefs. (3,13) This was a land-cession treaty (5,13) giving to the white men (3,8) three million acres (3,13) a massive amount of Native American land. (3,8) The relentless American hunger for land had again uprooted the Shawnee. (9) OR the Shawnees had no claims on the land sold. (13,14) The validity of the treaty negotiations were challenged with claims that the USA president, and thus the USA government, had not authorized them. (14) The negotiations also involved what some historians have described as bribes, which included offering large subsidies to the tribes and their chiefs, and liberal distribution of liquor before the negotiations began. (14) The treaty infuriated Tecumseh. (9,14) because many of those who lived in Prophetstown were Piankeshaw, Kickapoo, and Wea, the primary inhabitants of the ceded lands. (14) It inspired him to greater resistance (5,8) while amplifying his message. (8) It marked his emergence as a prominent leader. (13) He worked hard to bring more tribes into the confederacy, (3) travelling throughout the Ohio Valley to rally the tribes in a common defence. (9)
Unfortunately for him the Indians had no tradition of large confederations and when the crisis of white encroachment came, Tecumseh was unable to create a sufficient military response. (4) His confederation fought the United States (5) in Tecumseh’s War (1,3) but he was unsuccessful in getting the USA government to rescind the Treaty of Fort Wayne (1809) or other treaties. (5) Tecumseh told Harrison that the Shawnee and their Indiana allies wanted to remain at peace with the United States; however, The meeting proved to be unproductive. (14) Harrison believed that the Indians were “simply looking forward to a quarrel. (14)
Tecumseh insisted that the Fort Wayne treaty was illegitimate; he asked his old enemy Harrison to nullify it, and warned that Americans should not attempt to settle the lands sold in the treaty. (13) In 1810 OR In August 1811, Tecumseh met with Harrison at (7,13) the Council of (7) Vincennes, (7,13) arriving with (7,14) an estimated 300 (14) warriors (7,14) but assuring him that the Shawnee brothers meant to remain at peace with the United States. (13), He demanded that the land be returned to the Indians. (7,14) He claimed that the chiefs who had sold the land to the United States had no right to do so, saying they might as well have sold the “air and the clouds”. (7) The council nearly ended in violence, but cooler heads prevailed. (7) The small garrison defending the town quickly moved to protect the territorial governor. (14) Tecumseh won the admiration of even his greatest adversaries for his courage, integrity, and eloquence (13) OR Potawatomi chief, Winnemac, stood and countered Tecumseh’s arguments to the group, urging the warriors to leave peacefully. (14) Harrison wrote that Tecumseh’s ability to inspire loyalty among such disparate peoples “bespeaks him (9) one of those uncommon geniuses which spring up occasionally to produce revolutions and overturn the order of things.” (9,13) but he still insisted that the land was the property of the United States (7) and Tecumseh left with little accomplished. (7,14) As the warriors departed, Tecumseh warned Harrison that unless the Treaty of Fort Wayne was rescinded, he would seek an alliance with the British. (14)
Not yet ready to confront the United States directly, Tecumseh’s primary adversaries were initially the native leaders who had signed the treaty. (13) Tecumseh continued to work on building his confederation. (6,7) Tecumseh travelled extensively (6,7) meeting with tribes and leaders (7) and urging warriors to abandon accommodationist chiefs and to join the resistance at Prophetstown (Tippecanoe). (13) He moved from nation to nation, trying to unite ancient rivals and peoples whose languages were unintelligible to one another. (9) He went to the Midwest, gaining followers among such tribes as the Seneca, Wyandot, Sac, Fox, Winnebago, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Chippewa, Ottawa, Delaware, Miami and, of course, Shawnee. (11) He travelled north to Canada (8) to Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana, (7) in an effort to build his alliance. (6,7) In September (4) OR the autumn of (11) the summer of (6) 1811, he travelled south (4,5) as far as present-day (11) Florida, (7) Missouri (6,7) Georgia, (7) Alabama (8,11) and Mississippi (11) to recruit more allies (5,6) among the so-called “Five Civilized Tribes” (Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, (4,6) Seminole, and Cherokee). (13) He was a great speaker. (7,13) He spoke vehemently of the wrongs imposed by the white people and exhorted the Indians to fight. (9) He sought their aid (4,6) but with limited success. (11,13) His speeches had a great impact (7) OR most of the southern nations rejected his appeals. (13,14) The Choctaw chief, Pushmataha, opposed Tecumseh’s pan-Indian alliance and insisted upon adhering to the terms of the peace treaties that had been signed with the USA government. (14) ““These white Americans give us fair exchange, their cloth, their guns, their tools, implements, and other things which the Choctaws need but do not make …” (14) Tecumseh had promised a sign of his power, and as he arrived in Alabama a huge comet appeared, brightening the skies and fading after his departure. (6) Then, shortly after he left for Prophetstown, a series of violent earthquakes arched out of their epicentre in south-eastern Missouri to destroy lives and property throughout the Midwest and south. (6) Tecumseh had made good on his promises in the minds of the Creeks and many others (6) OR a faction among the Creeks, who came to be known as the Red Sticks, answered his call to arms, leading to the Creek War and the Creek defeat at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. (13) Encouraged by Tecumseh, the Creek War (1813-1814), which began as a civil war within the Creek (Muscogee) nation, became part of the larger struggle against American expansion. (13)
While Tecumseh was travelling, (6,7) Harrison learned of his absence from intelligence. (14) The growing community at Prophetstown also caused increasing concerns among Americans in the area to fear that Tecumseh was forming an army of warriors to destroy their settlements. (14) Indiana governor William Henry Harrison (7,11) became worried about the alliance that Tecumseh was building (7) OR (14) the white settlers near Prophet’s Town OR Prophetstown (5,7) appealed to him to destroy it. (4) OR as tensions between the Indians at Greenville and the encroaching settlers increased, Black Hoof demanded that Tenskwatawa and his followers leave the area. (14) Harrison decided to strike first, while Tecumseh was absent, and force the Indians from Prophetstown, which he thought posed a threat to the region, and destroy the village. (14) On September 26th, 1811 (14) Harrison moved (4,7) a force of 1,000 (10) OR more than 1,000 (13) OR more than 1,200 (14) men, from Vincennes (4,13) and marched up the Wabash River (12,13) toward Prophetstown, (4,7) on an expedition to intimidate the Prophet and his followers. (13,14) On November 6th, 1811, Harrison’s army arrived (13) and camped (10,11) entrenching themselves on a nearby hill (10) about a mile from the Indian village. (4,11) The Prophet sent a message asking to meet with Harrison. (10) Tecumseh had told his brother to avoid war with the Americans, (11,14) but believing himself capable of destroying the white army with his magic powers, (4) Tecumseh’s brother Tenskwatawa (1,5) OR Lalawéthika (9), (4,5) known as The Prophet, (4,5) OR ‘The Open Door’ (6) unwisely (12) initiated (4,5,11) during the early hours (10) on November 7th 1811, (7,10) a sneak (8,10) attack on the camp. (4,5) An Indian who was present said that the battle “was the work of white men who came from Canada and urged us to make war”. (14) Tenskwatawa assured his followers that white bullets could not hurt them: (11,14) they would not be harmed if they attacked the white men and the warriors would not die. (14) The attack was repulsed. (4,5) While the fighting was going on, Tenskwatawa purportedly sat on a rock singing incantations. (11) Harrison then attacked Prophet’s Town. (4,5) OR Harrison launched a sneak attack on Prophetstown. (8) Harrison’s men (4,7) men held their ground, and the Indians withdrew (13) OR scattered the Indians (4,7) who retreated from the field (5,10) although they probably suffered fewer casualties than their opponents. (11) The Americans (5,7) cleared the encampment, (8,11) burned Prophetstown, (5,7) and returned to Vincennes. (13) These events are known as the Battle of Tippecanoe. (4,5) It was (4,8) not militarily decisive. (4) OR a significant setback, (13) OR a severe blow (8) OR decisive. (12) Upon returning home in January 1812, (11) Tecumseh found his brother’s reputation destroyed. (11,12) Tenskwatawa fled (12) OR eventually moved (14) to Canada (12,14) and ceased to be a factor in Tecumseh’s plans. (12) OR served as one of Tecumseh’s subordinates during the War of 1812. (14) When the Americans went to war with the British in 1812, Tecumseh’s War became a part of that struggle. (14) The Battle of Tippecanoe was a harbinger of war to come. (8)
The confederacy was badly weakened (8,11) by the events at Tippecanoe OR ended (4) Tecumseh remained the military leader of the pan-Indian confederation’ (5,13) Seeing the approach of war (the War of 1812) between the Americans and British, (12) Tecumseh began to secretly assemble his followers (12,13) and rebuild his alliance. (13) Growing tensions between the USA and Great Britain exploded into war (6,7) when, on June 18th, (7) OR June 1st (8,10) 1812, (7,9) on the advice of President Madison, (8) Congress declared war on Great Britain. (8,10) Now that the Americans were also at war with the British (13) American Indian tribes In the Northwest Territory, found themselves pulled in two separate directions – side with the British or with the Americans. (8,10) The American effort to neutralize potential British-Native cooperation had backfired, (13) and it was clear where Tecumseh’s loyalty would lie. (9) He and his followers were more fully committed to an alliance with the British, (9,13) hoping by this to regain their own country (7) and construct an independent Indian nation. (6) He brought together perhaps the most formidable force ever commanded by a North American Indian, (12) OR small band of warriors. (10,11) He moved to (10,11) join the British forces (12) in Michigan. (10,11) OR to Canada (6,9) to Fort Malden on the Canadian side of the Detroit River (12) in July of 1812 and (6) forged an alliance with the British, (5,6) by which his confederacy joined British forces, (2,3) fighting against the Americans. (3,5) General (6) OR Major General (8,10) Sir (10) Isaac Brock (6,10) Thus, like the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 was also a massive Indian war on the western front. (13) Tecumseh was made a brigadier general in the British army (14) as the commander in chief of its Indian allies. (14) The understanding that, should the British and Indians be victorious, the Old Northwest would comprise an independent Indian nation under British protection. (6) Warriors from throughout the Indian tribes joined his army. (7)
Although the war with the British in the east was a stalemate, the United States was more successful on the western front. (13) On July 12th, 1812 (9) an American army (9,11) of about 2,000 (9,11) under General William Hull (9,11) crossed the Detroit River and invaded Upper Canada. (9) OR Canada (11) from Detroit. (11) With the populace terrorized and the militia melting away, Tecumseh turned the tide, masterminding an ambush at Brownstown, killing 20 American soldiers (9) intercepting a supply train (11) and capturing intelligence reports. (9) The future novelist John Richardson, who was only a wide-eyed boy of 15 at the time, wrote how Tecumseh held his followers spellbound: “there was that ardour of expression in his eye … that could not fail to endear him to the soldiers’ hearts.” (9)
Tecumseh’s British commander Isaac Brock, who became friends with Tecumseh, subsequently besieged Fort Detroit. (11) Tecumseh and his men were assigned to besiege and take the city of Detroit with him. (8,9) Tecumseh’s leadership changed the whole complexion of the campaign: throughout the campaign Tecumseh bravely led his confederacy into battle, adroitly outmaneuvering superior numbers. (9) At Detroit, as British forces were stationed just outside the range of the Americans’ guns, Tecumseh had his warriors repeatedly parade out from a nearby wooded area and circle back, making it appear that their numbers were much greater. (10,13) On August 16th, 1812. (9) The Indian and British allies routed the Americans (9) and captured Fort Detroit itself (9,12) OR In an act of psychological warfare, Brock informed (11) Brigadier-General William (10) Hull (10,11) the American commander (10) that his Native American allies “will be beyond my control the moment the contest commences.” (11) Fearing a massacre, the terrified Hull (10,11) surrendered (9,10) a day later, (11) with 2188 (9) OR 2,500 (12) men. (9,12) The siege of Detroit (2,5) and the invasion of Ohio (2) were successful. (2,5) It was a major victory for the British, (13) due in no small part to Tecumseh’s military strategy. (8,5) At one stroke the threat to the western flank of Upper Canada was obliterated. (9) Brock called Tecumseh the “Wellington of the Indians”. (9) “A more sagacious or more gallant warrior does not, I believe, exist,” he wrote. (9) Alas, Brock was soon dead on the battlefield at Queenston. (9)
Fired with the promise of triumph after the fall of Detroit, Tecumseh departed on another long journey to arouse the tribes, which resulted in the uprising of the Alabama Creeks in response to his oratory, though the Chickasaws, Choctaws, and Cherokees rebuffed him. (12) He returned north and (12) continued to support British efforts under (8) the British commander on the Detroit frontier, (14) Major-General Henry (8,10) A. (12) Procter, (8,10) Major-General (8) OR General Henry (8) Procter. (7,8) Procter, did not have the same working relationship with Tecumseh as Brock had had. (8,13) He and Procter invaded Ohio (12) in the spring of 1813. (10) Together they besieged Fort Meigs (10,12) on the Maumee River above Toledo, (12) in northwestern Ohio (14) held by (10) Tecumseh’s old nemesis (10) William Henry Harrison. (10,12) The British hoped that the effort would delay an American offensive attack against Detroit, which the British had captured in 1812. (14) The siege began on May 5th, 1813, when a small British force of less than 1,000 men under Procter, and an estimated 1,250 Indian warriors led by Tecumseh and the Wyandot leader, Roundhead, attempted to capture Fort Meigs. (14) On May 7th, terms were arranged providing for exchange or parole of British and American prisoners. (14) Tecumseh often disagreed with Procter. (8) After the initial battle, some of the Indian warriors succeeded in killing between twelve and fourteen American prisoners before Tecumseh, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Elliott, and Captain Thomas McKee of the Indian Department persuaded them to stop. (14) Tecumseh reportedly asked Procter why he had not stopped the massacre. (14) Procter, who complained that the Indians could not be made to obey, replied, “Begone! You are unfit to command. Go and put on petticoats.” (14) According to another account of the incident, Tecumseh supposedly rebuked Procter with the remark, “I conquer to save; you to kill”. (14) On May 13th, 1813 Tecumseh won another decisive victory in the woods at Fort Meigs, (9) where by a stratagem Tecumseh intercepted and destroyed a brigade of Kentuckians under Colonel William Dudley that had been coming to Harrison’s relief. (12) The American force of 1,100 men suffered heavy casualties, (14) but after a number of victories, (6) the siege of Fort Meigs failed (8,12) and morale waned as a result. (8) Tecumseh’s actions during the event are thought to be a major reason why he later became a hero also in the United States and is considered a “noble savage”. (14)
The allies were put on the defensive (5,12) after Commodore (13) Oliver Hazard Perry’s decisive victory over the British fleet (12,13) at Put-in-Bay (9) on Lake Erie (5,13) in the autumn of (8,12) OR late in the summer of (13) 1813 (5,7) OR on September 10th. (12) The Americans gained control of the Lake, (5) cutting the British supply lines. (13) Conditions around Detroit worsened: (8) The British burned the public buildings in Detroit and retreated into Upper Canada along the Thames Valley. (13) Harrison’s forces counterattacked, (10,12) by invading Canada. (9,12) The British and their Indian allies (4,5) (in the case of the latter, reluctantly, (12)) retreated (4,5) toward Niagara (8) OR into Upper Canada. (4,5) Harrison pursued them (12) to the Thames River, in present-day southern Ontario. (10,12) Tecumseh and his warriors were covering the British retreat, (7,13) fighting rearguard actions to slow the USA advance. (13) While Procter favored withdrawal into Canada to avoid further battles, leaving the Americans to suffer through the hardships of winter, Tecumseh would have preferred to launch an immediate and decisive action to defeat the Americans and allow his warriors to retake their homelands in the northwest. (14) He requested arms so that his men could stay in the Northwest Territory and continue to defend their lands. (8)
Harrison crossed into Upper Canada on October 5th, 1813 (13) Procter had promised Tecumseh that he would make a stand (8,14) and send reinforcements, (13) at the forks of the Thames River8 (8), at Chatham in Upper Canada, (14) but they did not arrive (10) when expected by the Native Americans. (13) When forces reached the site communication broke down and some men deserted while others continued east. (8) Tecumseh reluctantly moved his men to meet up with Procter’s troops near Moraviantown, (14) and there the Indians came under attack (7,8) from Harrison’s army (7,9) with some 3500 (9) OR 3,000 (8,10) men. (9) Thames (3,4) OR of the Thames (10) OR of the Thames River (6,9) took place on 5th October9 1813, (1,2) at Chatham (13) OR Chatham-Kent4, (1) OR Moraviantown (6,9) OR near Thames River (2) Upper (2,5) Canada (1,2) now in Ontario, Canada. (2) William Henry Harrison’s USA troops (2,4) confronted Tecumseh and the British. (9) On October 4th, 1813, the eve of the Battle of Moraviantown, the great Shawnee chief Tecumseh had a foreboding. (9) “Our lives are in the hands of the Great Spirit,” he said, “We are determined to defend our lands, and if it is His will, we wish to leave our bones upon them.” (9) In the moments before the battle began the next morning, Tecumseh passed along the British lines. (9) In his handkerchief, rolled as a turban over his brow, was placed a handsome white ostrich feather. (9) General Procter, fled on horseback (9) and large sections of (8,9) his dispirited redcoats broke ranks and surrendered, (9) leaving about 500 Indians to hold back 3,000 (8,10) OR 3500 (9) Americans. (8) Outnumbered six to one (8,10) OR three-to-one (6) OR seven to one, (9) Tecumseh had placed his own men well, hidden in the thickets of a swamp (9) OR they were without fortifications. (6) When a second battalion of Americans advanced, the Indians rose from cover and delivered a crushing volley. (9) Tecumseh sprinted forward to inspire his followers but was shot (9) and killed, (1,2) at the age of 45. (5) The circumstances surrounding Tecumseh’s death and burial are unclear. (10) At the time, there were several claims that one or another American soldier had killed him, (9,10) though none of these claims has ever been confirmed. (10,12) It is currently believed that Tecumseh’s body was carried off the field and secretly buried in an unmarked grave. (10,12) Without their leader, Tecumseh’s men surrendered, (9) OR were overrun. (10) The Indian and British forces (6) were defeated. (2,5)
Shortly after the Battle, Tecumseh’s (3,13) tribe (3) OR confederacy (13) surrendered to Harrison’s troops (3,13) at Detroit. (9,13) OR retreated from the battle and headed toward Lake Ontario. (14) OR the surviving Shawnee10 divided into groups and dispersed in various directions. (11) Harrison won control of the Northwest. (12) OR fortunately, the Americans returned to Detroit and did not exploit their victory on the Thames. (9) Tecumseh’s inspired leadership and brilliant victories were decisive in the defence of Canada, which survived the war independent of the United States. (9) Because of this he became a hero to Canadians. (13) Tecumseh, however, had not fought for the British but for his own people. (9) As in the Revolution and the Northwest Indian War, after the War of 1812, the British abandoned their Indian allies to the Americans. (13) OR During the negotiations for the Treaty of Ghent at the end of the war in 1814, the British called for the USA government to return lands in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan to the Indians. (14) For decades the British strategy had been to create a buffer state to block American expansion, but the Americans refused to consider the British proposal and it was dropped. (14) Although Article IX of the treaty included provisions to restore to native inhabitants “all possessions, rights and privileges which they may have enjoyed, or been entitled to in 1811”, the provisions were unenforceable. (14) This proved to be a major turning point in the Indian Wars, marking the last time that Native Americans would turn to a foreign power for assistance against the United States. (13) His death and the end of the war caused the pan-Indian alliance to collapse, (5,12) OR marked the decline (10) of Native American resistance in the Ohio River Valley and most of the middle and southern United States. (10,12) His plan to enlarge the Indian alliance was never fulfilled (5,6) because of inter-tribal disputes and alliances of some tribes with the USA territorial government. (13) Within 35 (6) OR 20 (7) years (6,7) OR over the next several decades, (10) all of his allies in the Confederacy lost their land. (5,7) The remaining tribal lands in the Old Northwest were ceded to the US government and subsequently opened for new settlement. (5) Tecumseh’s dream of a pan-Indian confederation would not be realized until 1944, with the founding of the National Congress of American Indians. (14)
The War of 1812 marks the beginning of removal in the upper Midwest. (8) Most of the (5,6) depleted (12) and exhausted (10) American Indians eventually (5,6) moved (5,10) OR were transported (12) OR were forcibly relocated (6) to reservations in the (7) west, across the Mississippi River. (5,6) Most of the Shawnee eventually ended up in Oklahoma. (11) His warnings about the erosion of traditional tribal values and loss of Indian lands and culture were therefore prescient. (13) The westward expansion of growing numbers of European Americans would outrun numerous treaties and lead to recurring conflict and violence on the frontier. (13) The appropriation of traditional lands and failure to respect Native American rights and values has remained as an indelible stain on American history. (13) The Indian wars, which ranged from colonial times to the Wounded Knee massacre and the “closing” of the American frontier in 1890, generally resulted in the conquest of American Indians and their assimilation or forced relocation to Indian reservations. (13) Citing figures from an 1894 estimate by the United States Census Bureau, one scholar has calculated that the more than 40 wars from 1775 to 1890 reportedly claimed the lives of some 45,000 Indians and 19,000 whites. (13) This rough estimate includes women and children on both sides, since noncombatants were often killed in frontier massacres. (13)
William Henry Harrison would later become president of the United States. (7,11) Part of his campaign slogan (‘Tippecanoe and Tyler too’) used his nickname Tippecanoe which he got after winning the battle. (7,11) Colonel Richard (7,11) M. (11,13) Johnson (7,11) future vice-president of the United States under Martin Van Buren, (13) took credit for killing Tecumseh. (7,11) OR It is unknown who killed him (8,11) or what happened to his remains. (8,11) Johnson became a national hero and later was elected vice-president of the United States (7,11) in 1836. (11)
During his life, Tecumseh’s political leadership, compassion and bravery attracted the respect of friends and foes alike (10) and he is still revered for his intelligence, leadership, and military skills. (6) OR he was ambitious, impulsive, and arrogant. (14) He has become an iconic folk hero in (5,10) North (6,9) American, Aboriginal, and Canadian history. (5,9) Canadian (and American) historians and novelists have sung his praises, (9) viewing him as an honourable enemy who fought bravely to defend his people and his convictions. (13) His most enduring legacy is among the First Nations, for whom he is the ultimate symbol of courage, endeavour and fraternity. (9)
Meanwhile, since Tecumseh did no interviews and left behind no letters or journals, storytellers filled the gaps in his life with wild tales. (11) One account held that he courted the blond, blue-eyed daughter of an Indian fighter, with whom he read the Bible and Shakespeare, and another held that his great-grandfather was South Carolina’s governor. (11) Both accounts, and many others like them, are almost certainly untrue. (11)
1 also spelled Tecumthe, Tikamthe, or Tecumtha (2)
2 Google Maps show Piqua, but not in Clark County
3 Looks suspiciously like his sister’s name.
4 Identical with the ‘brother’!
5 Identical with a brother.
6 OR Cheeseekau (&c) was shot and killed at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. (11)
7 Must be a mistake for Cheesekau (&c) Tenskwatawa being his younger brother,
8 Doesn’t appear to be a ‘fork’ anywhere near Moraviantown, although there is one at Chatham-Kent, and a Park called Tecumseh Park at the fork.
9 If Harrison crossed into Upper Canada on 5th he cannot have fought at Chatham Kent, 50 miles away, on the same day, let alone at Moraviantown, 12 miles further east.
10 Only a small proportion, remember.