67 Facts About Tecumseh


Tecumseh was born in what is Ohio, at a time when the far-flung Shawnees were reuniting in their Ohio Country homeland.


Tecumseh's father was killed in battle against American colonists in 1774.


Tecumseh was thereafter mentored by his older brother Cheeseekau, a noted war chief who died fighting Americans in 1792.


Tecumseh traveled constantly, spreading the Prophet's message and eclipsing his brother in prominence.


Tecumseh proclaimed that Native Americans owned their lands in common and urged tribes not to cede more territory unless all agreed.


Tecumseh's message alarmed American leaders as well as Native leaders who sought accommodation with the United States.


In 1811, when Tecumseh was in the South recruiting allies, Americans under William Henry Harrison defeated Tenskwatawa at the Battle of Tippecanoe and destroyed Prophetstown.

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When US naval forces took control of Lake Erie in 1813, Tecumseh reluctantly retreated with the British into Upper Canada, where American forces engaged them at the Battle of the Thames on October 5,1813, in which Tecumseh was killed.


Tecumseh was born in Shawnee territory in what is Xenia, Ohio between 1764 and 1771.


Tecumseh was born into the Panther clan of the Kispoko division of the Shawnee tribe.


Later stories claimed that Tecumseh was named after a shooting star that appeared at his birth, although his father and most of his siblings, as members of the Panther clan, were named after the same meteor.


Tecumseh was likely born in the Shawnee town of Chillicothe, in the Scioto River valley, near present-day Chillicothe, Ohio, or in a nearby Kispoko village.


Tecumseh's father, Puckeshinwau, was a Shawnee war chief of the Kispoko division.


Tecumseh's parents met and married in what is Alabama, where many Shawnees had settled after being driven out of the Ohio Country by the Iroquois in the 17th-century Beaver Wars.


Tecumseh was born in the peaceful decade after Pontiac's War, a time when Puckeshinwau likely became the chief of the Kispoko town on the Scioto.


Tecumseh participated in attacks on flatboats traveling down the Ohio River, carrying waves of immigrants into lands the Shawnees had lost.


In late 1789 or early 1790, Tecumseh traveled south with Cheeseekau to live with the Chickamauga Cherokees near Lookout Mountain in what is Tennessee.


Cheeseekau led about forty Shawnees in raids against colonists; Tecumseh was presumably among them.


In 1791, Tecumseh returned to the Ohio Country to take part in the Northwest Indian War as a minor leader.


The Native confederacy that had been formed to fight the war was led by the Shawnee Blue Jacket, and would provide a model for the confederacy Tecumseh created years later.


Tecumseh led a band of eight followers, including his younger brother Lalawethika, later known as Tenskwatawa.


Tecumseh was with Cheeseekau when he was killed in an unsuccessful attack on Buchanan's Station near Nashville in 1792.


Tecumseh probably sought revenge for his brother's death, but the details are unknown.


Tecumseh returned to the Ohio Country at the end of 1792 and fought in several more skirmishes.


Tecumseh did not attend the signing of the Treaty of Greenville, in which about two-thirds of Ohio and portions of present-day Indiana were ceded to the United States.

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Tecumseh took a wife, Mamate, and had a son, Paukeesaa, born about 1796.


Tecumseh's band moved to various locations before settling in 1798 close to Delaware Indians, along the White River near present-day Anderson, Indiana, where he lived for the next eight years.


Tecumseh followed his brother's teachings by eating only Native food, wearing traditional Shawnee clothing, and not drinking alcohol.


Tecumseh demanded that Harrison rescind the Fort Wayne cession, and said he would oppose American settlement on the disputed lands.


Tecumseh said the chiefs who had signed the treaty would be punished, and that he was uniting the tribes to prevent further cessions.


Harrison insisted the land had been purchased fairly and that Tecumseh had no right to object because Native Americans did not own land in common.


Tecumseh went westward to recruit allies among the Potawatomis, Winnebagos, Sauks, Foxes, Kickapoos, and Missouri Shawnees.


In May 1811, Tecumseh visited Ohio to recruit warriors among the Shawnees, Wyandots, and Senecas.


Tecumseh told the governor he had amassed a confederacy of northern tribes and was heading south to do the same.


Tecumseh was aided in his efforts by two extraordinary events: the Great Comet of 1811 and the New Madrid earthquake, which he and other Native Americans interpreted as omens that his confederacy should be supported.


Tecumseh sought to restrain warriors from premature action while preparing the confederacy for future hostilities.


In June 1812, Tecumseh arrived at Fort Malden in Amherstburg to join his cause with the British in the War of 1812.


Tecumseh turned his attention to cutting off Hull's supply and communication lines on the US side of the border, south of Detroit.


Tecumseh captured Hull's outgoing mail, which revealed that the general was fearful of being cut off.


Tecumseh led about 530 warriors in the Siege of Detroit.


Tecumseh who attracted most of my attention was a Shawnee chief, Tecumset [sic], brother to the Prophet, who for the last two years has carried on, contrary to our remonstrances, an active warfare against the United States.


Tecumseh was the admiration of every one who conversed with him.


Tecumseh wrote his superiors that restoration of land "fraudulently usurped" from the Native Americans should be considered in any peace treaty.


Tecumseh was frustrated by the unexpected British-American armistice, which came at a time when his confederacy was attacking other American forts and needed British support.


Tecumseh stayed in the Prophetstown region for the remainder of 1812, coordinating Native American war efforts.

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Tecumseh led an attack on an American sortie from the fort, then crossed the river to help defeat a regiment of Kentucky militia.


Procter's Canadian militia and many of Tecumseh's warriors left after the battle, so Procter was compelled to lift the siege.


One of the most famous incidents in Tecumseh's life occurred after the battle.


Tecumseh staged a mock battle within earshot of the fort, hoping the Americans would ride out to assist.


Procter then led a detachment to attack Fort Stephenson on the Sandusky River, while Tecumseh went west to intercept potential American advances.


Tecumseh hoped further offensives were forthcoming, but after the American naval victory in the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10,1813, Procter decided to retreat from Amherstburg.


Tecumseh arrived at Chatham to find that Procter had retreated even further upriver.


Tecumseh was angered by the change in plans, but he led a rearguard action at Chatham to slow the American advance, and was slightly wounded in the arm.


Many of Tecumseh's despairing allies deserted during the retreat, leaving him 500 warriors.


Tecumseh positioned his men in a line of trees along the right, hoping to flank the Americans.


Tecumseh was killed in the fierce fighting, and the Indians dispersed.


The next day, when Tecumseh's body had been positively identified, others peeled off some skin as souvenirs.


Tecumseh had broken a thighbone in a riding accident as a youth and thereafter walked with a limp, but neither thigh of this skeleton had been broken.


St-Denis, in a book-length investigation of the topic, concluded that Tecumseh was likely buried on the battlefield and his remains have been lost.


Tecumseh's death led to the collapse of his confederacy; except in the southern Creek War, most of his followers did little more fighting.


Tecumseh was widely admired in his lifetime, even by Americans who had fought against him.


Tecumseh's stature grew over the decades after his death, often at the expense of Tenskwatawa, whose religious views white writers found alien and unappealing.


Tecumseh is honored in Canada as a hero who played a major role in Canada's defense in the War of 1812, joining Sir Isaac Brock and Laura Secord as the best-remembered people of that war.


John Richardson, an important early Canadian novelist, had served with Tecumseh and idolized him.


Tecumseh has long been admired in Germany, especially due to popular novels by Fritz Steuben, beginning with The Flying Arrow.

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Steuben used Tecumseh to promote Nazism, though later editions of his novels removed the Nazi elements.


The fictional Tecumseh has been featured in poems, plays, and novels, movies, and outdoor dramas.