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Also Known As: "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: October 05, 1813 (41-49)
Thames river, near the present Chatam, Ontario (Death in battle, War of 1812)
Place of Burial: Killed in action Battle of the Thames
Immediate Family:

Son of Chief Puckeshinwa "Young Eagle" Straight Tail, Shawnee and Mary Methotashe "Young Eagle"
Husband of Mamate Baby
Ex-husband of Mohnetohse "Resting Snake" Opessa; Wabeleganequa "White Wing", of the Shawnee and Tahneh "Dark Star" Hop
Father of Jenny T. Penn; Mah Yaw We Kaw Pa We" "Young Tecumseh"; Socomse; Nay-tha-way-nah "Pacheta"; Serena < Skwato Sereana Shawnee> Rainey and 4 others
Brother of Chiksiska Straight Tall; Menewaulakoose Straight Tall, Shawnee; Tecumesa, Shawnee Indian; Nehaacemo Shawnee; Sauwaseekau (A Door Open) Shawnee Indian and 6 others
Half brother of Vocemassussia Isabella Puckeshinwa, Shawnee; Daughter of Puckeshinwa; Tecumapease Mene Waulakoose and Teceikeapease "Genevieve Marie" Maisonville

Occupation: Shawnee Leader, Native American Rights Activist
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Tecumseh

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.


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.[1]

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. [2] . 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.


Early life

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.


"Tecumseh's War"

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.[1] 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."[2]

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.[3] 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 Tecumseh. The 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.

Early life and training

Tecumseh was born in an Indian village near present-day Springfield, Ohio. His father was killed by whites in 1774. His mother, a Muskogee (Creek Confederacy), left him, when he was seven years old, to accompany part of the tribe to Missouri and then passed into obscurity. Tecumseh was reared by an elder sister, Tecumapease, who trained him in the strict Shawnee code of honesty; an elder brother, Cheeseekau, taught him woodcraft and hunting. He was adopted by the Shawnee chief Blackfish and grew to young manhood with several white foster brothers whom Blackfish had captured


NOTE: found in under Methoataaskee (Marguerite) Mary Shawnee (Ice)

Who was the mother of Tecumseh?

Her Shawnee name was Methotasa, meaning "A turtle laying her eggs in the sand." But where did she come from? Most of the books you read will tell you that the Shawnee's capture her while fighting the Cherokee, and the great chief Pucksinwah, married her. She became the mother of Chiksika, Tecumapese, Tecumseh, and the triplets, Sauwaseekau, Kumskaka, Tenskwatawa, who later became known as Lowawluwaysica (The Prophet, although most who have studied about this family know that he was not the prophet, it was his brother Tecumseh). Later they would adopt two white girls and a white boy who were taken as captives after fights with the white people.

Many people will tell you that Methotasa was first a Mohawk, or from some other tribe before she was taken by, or traded to the Cherokee. But, Methotasa was not Native American at all. Methotasa, mother of Tecumseh, was born, Marguerite Mary Iaac. She was born between 1728 and 1737 in Hampshire Co. WV. Her parents were Frederick Iaac Jr. who was born about 1713 in Holland and died in Monongalia Co. WV. And Mary Galloway, born about 1690.

While Frederick and some men were out one day, many members of his family were attacked and killed by a band of indians. His wife Mary Galloway Iaac was among those found dead.

Some of the children were taken as captives, Marguerite Mary Iaac, who was between the age of 5 and 10, William Iaac, John Iaac, and Christina Iaac. Marguerite Mary Iaac ended up with the Cherokee, she may have been traded to them, or sold, or captured by them. It was told that she had flaming red hair and was very pretty. She spent many years with the Cherokee, but was taken captive by the Shawnee after a battle between the two tribes. Mary soon became a favorite in the eyes of the Shawnee Chief, Pucksinwah, and they were married. That is who Methotasa really was.

See Mary Ice


Is said to be 1st cousin but Unsure of the connection - by lineage found for her see her profile at Tecumoplas Margaret born 1742 in Maryland, the daughter of Older Daughter-Sarah Opessa and Pekowi Man. She died after 1791 in WV (?). She was the first cousin of Tecumseh and the wife of Rupert Collins, white. Rupert was born about 1740 and died after 1791

view all 19

Tecumseh's Timeline

March 9, 1768
Shawnee village of Piqua on Mad river, about 6 in. southwest of the present Springfield, Ohio
Pennsylvania, United States
Tennessee, United States
Ohio, United States
August 1796
Ohio, United States
Ohio, United States