|Nicknames:||"Tikamthi", "Tecumtha", "Crouching Panther", "Great Medicine Panther", "Shooting Star"|
|Birthplace:||Shawnee village of Piqua on Mad river, about 6 in. southwest of the present Springfield, Ohio|
|Death:||Died in Thames river, near the present Chatam, Ontario|
|Cause of death:||Death in battle, War of 1812|
|Occupation:||Shawnee Leader, Native American Rights Activist|
|Managed by:||Erica Howton, (c)|
The Ric Burns documentary, "Tecumseh's Vision: We Shall Remain" (first aired Oct 2009) can be viewed here:
Tecumseh (properly Tikamthi or Tecumtha: 'One who passes across intervening space from one point to another,' i. e. springs (Jones); the name indicates that the owner belongs to the gens of the Great Medicine Panther, or Meteor, hence the interpretations 'Crouching Panther' and 'ShootingStar' ). A celebrated Shawnee chief, born in 1768 at the Shawnee village of Piqua on Mad river, about 6 in. southwest of the present Springfield, Ohio. It was destroyed by the Kentuckians in 1780. His father, who was also a chief, was killed at the battle of Point Pleasant in 1774 (see Cornstalk). His mother is said of the white man, and denied the right of the Government to make land purchases from any single tribe, on the ground that the territory, especially in the Ohio valley country, belonged to all the tribes in common. On the refusal of the Government to recognize this principle, he undertook the formation of a great confederacy of all the western and southern tribes for the purpose of holding the Ohio river as the permanent boundary between the two races. In pursuance of this object he or his agents visited every tribe from Florida to the head of the Missouri river. While Tecumseh was organizing the work in the south his plans were brought to disastrous overthrow by the premature battle of Tippecanoe under the direction of the Prophet, Nov. 7, 1811. On the breaking out of the War of 1812, Tecumseh at once led his forces to the. support of the British, and was rewarded with a regular commission as brigadier general, having under his command some 2,000 warriors of the allied tribes. He fought at Frenchtown, The Raisin, Ft Meigs, and Ft Stephenson, and covered Proctor's retreat after Perry's decisive victory on Lake Erie, until, declining to retreat farther, he compelled Proctor to make a stand on Thames river, near the present Chatam, Ont. In the bloody battle which ensued the allied British and Indians were completely defeated by Harrison, Tecumseh himself falling in the front of his warriors, Oct. 5, 1813, being then in his 45th year. With a presentiment of death he had discarded his general's uniform before the battle and dressed himself in his Indian deerskin. He left one son, the father of Wapameepto, alias Big Jim (q. v.). From all that is said of Tecumseh in contemporary record, there is no reason to doubt the verdict of Trumbull that he was the most extraordinary Indian character in United States history. There is no true portrait of him in existence, the one commonly given as such in Lossing's War of 1812 (1875) and reproduced in Appleton's Cyclopedia-of American Biography (1894), and Mooney's Ghost Dance (1896), being a composite result based on a pencil sketch made about 1812, on which were mounted his cap, medal, and uniform.
Consult Appleton Cycl. Am. Biog., vi, 1894; Drake, Life of Tecumseh, 1841; Eggleston, Tecumseh and the Shawnee Prophet, 1878; Law, Colonial Hist. Vincennes, 1858; Lossing, War of 1812,1875; McKenney and Hall, Ind. Tribes, 1, 1854; Mooney, Ghost Dance Religion, in 14th Rep. B. A. E., pt. ii, 1896; Randall, Tecumseh, in Ohio Arch. and Hist. Quar., Oct. 1906; Trumbull, Indian Wars, 1851.
Tecumseh (March 1768 – October 5, 1813), also known as Tecumtha or Tekamthi, was a Native American leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy that opposed the United States during Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812. He grew up in the Ohio country during the American Revolutionary War and the Northwest Indian War where he was constantly exposed to warfare.
His brother Tenskwatawa was a religious leader who advocated a return to the ancestral lifestyle of the tribes. A large following and a confederacy grew around his teachings. The religious doctrine led to strife with settlers on the frontier, causing the group to move farther into the northwest and settle Prophetstown, Indiana in 1808. Tecumseh took an active role in confronting Governor William Henry Harrison to demand land purchase treaties be rescinded. He began an attempt to expand the confederacy into the southern United States, but while he was away traveling, his brother was defeated in the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe.  . During the War of 1812, Tecumseh and his confederacy allied with the British in Canada and helped in the capture of Fort Detroit. The Americans, led by Harrison, launched a counter assault and invaded Canada, killing Tecumseh in the Battle of the Thames. Tecumseh has subsequently become a folk legend and is remembered as a hero by many Canadians for his defense of their country.
Tecumseh (c. 1768 – October 5, 1813), whose given name might be more accurately rendered as Tecumtha or Tekamthi, was a famous Shawnee leader. He spent much of his life attempting to rally disparate Native American tribes in a mutual defense of their lands, which eventually led to his death in the War of 1812.
Tecumseh ("Panther in the Sky") is believed to have been born in 1768 just outside the current town of Xenia, Ohio. His father was Pucksinwah, a Shawnee warrior who was killed at the Battle of Point Pleasant. His mother was named Methoataske. Tecumseh was raised as a warrior by his older brother, Cheeksuakalo.
Tecumseh eventually settled in what is now Greenville, Ohio, the home of his younger brother Tenskwatawa (formerly Lowawluwaysica) ("One With Open Mouth or The Open Door"), perhaps best known simply as The Prophet.
Main article: Tecumseh's War
In 1805, a religious revival led by Tenskwatawa emerged. Tenskwatawa urged natives to reject the ways of the whites, and to refrain from ceding any more lands to the United States. Opposing Tenskwatawa was the Shawnee leader Black Hoof, who was working to maintain a peaceful relationship with the United States. By 1808, tensions with white settlers and Black Hoof's Shawnees compelled Tenskwatawa and Tecumseh to move further northwest and establish the village of Prophetstown near the confluence of the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers (near present-day Battle Ground, Indiana).
Tenskwatawa's religious teachings became widely known as did his predictions based on information supplied by Tecumseh. Many of these were based on readings from white men's books, in particular astronomy books (see Galloway). Tecumseh would eventually emerge as the leader of this confederation, though it was built upon a foundation established by the religious appeal of his younger brother. Relatively few of these followers were Shawnees; although Tecumseh is often portrayed as the leader of the Shawnees, most Shawnees 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.
In September 1809, William Henry Harrison, governor of the newly formed Indiana Territory, negotiated the Treaty of Fort Wayne in which a delegation of half-starved Indians ceded 3 million acres (12,000 km²) of Native American lands to the United States. Harrison was under orders from Washington to negotiate with Indians that claimed the lands that they were ceding. However, he disregarded these orders, as none of the Indians he met with lived on the lands that they ceded.
Tecumseh's opposition to the treaty marked his emergence as a prominent leader. Although Tecumseh and the Shawnees had no claim on the land sold, he was alarmed by the massive sale. Tecumseh revived an idea advocated in previous years by the Shawnee leader Blue Jacket and the Mohawk leader Joseph Brant, which stated that Indian land was owned in common by all tribes, and thus no land could be sold without agreement by all. Not ready to confront the United States directly, Tecumseh's primary adversaries were initially the Indian leaders who had signed the treaty. An impressive orator, Tecumseh began to travel widely, urging warriors to abandon accommodationist chiefs and to join the resistance at Prophetstown (Tippecanoe). Tecumseh insisted that the Fort Wayne treaty was illegal; he asked Harrison to nullify it, and warned that Americans should not attempt to settle on the lands sold in the treaty. Tecumseh is quoted as saying, "No tribe has the right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers.... Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Didn't the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?" And, "....the only way to stop this evil is for the red man to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, as it was first, and should be now, for it was never divided."
In 1810 and 1811, Tecumseh met with Harrison at Grouseland, Harrison's Vincennes, Indiana, home. He assured him that the Shawnee brothers meant to remain at peace with the United States. Tecumseh then traveled to the South, on a mission to recruit allies among the so-called "Five Civilized Tribes". Most of the southern nations rejected his appeals, but a faction among the Creeks, who came to be known as the Red Sticks, answered his call to arms, leading to the Creek War.
While Tecumseh was in the South, Governor Harrison marched up the Wabash River from Vincennes with more than 1,000 men, on an expedition to intimidate the Prophet and his followers. On November 6, 1811, Harrison's army arrived outside Prophetstown (Tippecanoe). Instead of being frightened, Tenskwatawa ordered his warriors to attack the American encampment that night. In the Battle of Tippecanoe, Harrison's men held their ground, and the Indians withdrew from the village after the battle. The victorious Americans burned the town and returned to Vincennes.
The battle was a severe blow for Tenskwatawa, who had lost both prestige and the confidence of his brother. Although it was a significant setback, Tecumseh began to secretly rebuild his alliance upon his return from the South. Now that the Americans were also at war with the British in the War of 1812, "Tecumseh's War" became a part of that struggle. The American effort to neutralize potential British-Native American cooperation had backfired, instead making Tecumseh and his followers more fully committed to an alliance with Britain.
War of 1812
Tecumseh joined British Major-General Sir Isaac Brock to force the surrender of Detroit in August 1812, a major victory for the British. Tecumseh's acumen in warfare was evident in this engagement. As Brock advanced to a point just out of range of Detroit's guns, Tecumseh had his warriors parade from a nearby wood and circle around to repeat the maneuver, making it appear that there were many more than was actually the case. The fort commander, Brigadier General William Hull, surrendered in fear of a massacre should he refuse. Among the Detroit residents imprisoned by the British was Father Gabriel Richard, but due to the high esteem in which the priest was held by the Native Americans among whom he ministered, Tecumseh refused to continue fighting for the British until they freed Richard.
This victory was reversed a little over a year later, as Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's victory on Lake Erie, late in the summer of 1813, cut British supply lines and forced them to withdraw. The British burned all public buildings in Detroit and retreated into Upper Canada along the Thames Valley. Tecumseh followed, fighting rearguard actions to slow the US advance.
Death of TecumsehThe next British commander, Major-General Henry Procter did not have the same working relationship with Tecumseh as his predecessor and the two "disagreed over tactics." Procter failed to appear at Chatham, Ontario as expected by the Native Americans. Harrison crossed into Upper Canada in October, 1813 and won a victory over the British and Native Americans at the Battle of the Thames near Chatham. Tecumseh was killed, and shortly after the battle the tribes of his confederacy surrendered to Harrison at Detroit. Certain eye-witness sources state that Tecumseh was killed by Colonel Richard M. Johnson, future vice-president of the United States under Martin Van Buren, although it has not been proven. Though Tecumseh was definitely killed, no one ever found his body.
Shawnee village of Piqua on Mad river, about 6 in. southwest of the present Springfield, Ohio
October 5, 1813
Thames river, near the present Chatam, Ontario