Login

History Record View

Title: Tecumseh and the Prophet
File Attachment:
Attachment Type:
Text:

Early in the year 1806 Tecumseh and his brother, The Prophet, accompanied by a small band of Shawnees, moved from the Delaware town on the White River in Indiana to Greenville, in the state of Ohio, and about this time began making treaties with the Potawatamies, Wyandottes, Kickapoos, and Miamis for hunting grounds along the Wabash valley. In 1807 these treaties were finally finished beneath the spreading branches of "The Council Tree," in the city of Attica, as related in a preceding sketch, and in the spring of 1808 they settled on the banks of the Wabash near the mouth of the Tippecanoe river, at a place which afterwards bore the name of The Prophet's Town. There were only about forty Shawnees who came with them that spring but there were about one hundred Indians from other tribes in this new settlement. Tecumseh was then aiming to complete his federationa nd unite all Indians in all North America into one great confederation, both offensive and defensive, hoping thus to serve the best interests not of any particular tribe but of all the tribes and of all the Indians.

Tecumseh maintained and expressed his opposition to the making of treaties for the disposal of Indian lands, and in speaking to Governor Harrison at Vincennes, in August, 1810, Tecumseh clearly intimated that he would resist any attempt that might be made to survey the lands which had been ceded to the United States. The lands obtained by Governor Harrison and ceded by the Indians to the United States, under various treaties, amounted to about thirty millions of acres. On the 12th of August, 1810 Tecumseh attended by 75 warriors arrived at Vincennes. From this time until the 22d of August Governor Harrison was almost daily engaged in the business of holding interviews and counsels with this celebrated Shawnee Indian.

The conduct of Tecumseh was haughty and his speeches were bold and in some degree arrogant. In one of his speeches addressed to Governor Harrison on the 20th of August, which was taken down by the order of the Governor, the following passages are found: "Brother I wish you to listen to me well. As I think you do not clearly understand what I before said to you I will explain again. Since the peace (of Greenville in 1795) was amde the white people have killed some of the Shawnee, Winnebagos, Delawares, and Miamis, and you have taken our lands from us and I do not see how we can remain at peace with you if you continue to do so. You try to forece the red people to do some injury. It is you that are pushing them on to do mischief. You endeavor to make distinctions. You wish to prevent the Indians to do as we wish them, to unite and let them consider their lands as the common property as the whole. You take tribes aside and advise them not to come into this measure, and until our design is accomplished, we do not wish to accept of you invitation to go and see the President."

The Prophet may have had his faults but intemperance was not one of them. He bitterly opposed that sale of intoxicants to the Indians. In an interview with one of the messengers who visited The Prophet's Town in the month of June, 1810, The Prophet declared that it was not his intention to make war on the white people; and he said that some of the Delawares and other Indians had been bribed with whiskey, to make false charges against him. When pressed by the messenger, Mr. Dubois, to state the grounds of his complaints against the United States, The Prophet said that the Indians had been cheated out of their lands; that no sale was good unless made by all the tribes; that he had settled at the mouth of the Tippecanoe by order of the Great Spirit and that he was, likewise, ordered to assemble as many Indians as he could collect at that place. In August of 1808, The Prophet in an interview with Governor Harrison said: "Father, it is three years since I first began with that system of religion which I now practice. The white people and some of the Indians were against me but I had no other intention but to introduce among the Indians those good principles of religion whcih the white people profess. The Great Spirit told me to tell the Indians that he had made them, and made the world; that he had placed them on it, to do good, and not evil. I told the red skins that the way they were in,w as not good and that they ought to consider ourselves as one man; but we ought to live agreeable to our several customs, the red people after their mode, the white people after theirs, particularly that they should not drink whiskey; that it was not made for them, and that it is the cause of all the mischiefs which the Indians suffer."

And Tecumseh himself was a bitterly opposed to the use of whiskey as intoxicating drinks as his brother, The Prophet.

The Shawnees came to The Prophet Town in 1808 and som eof them stayed there until the town was destroyed by General Samuel Hopkins, November 1812, one year after the battle of Tippecanoe by Harrison. Some of them went abot fifty miles further north of Indiana and lived there about four years longer, so all told, the Indians under Tecumseh and The Prophet did not live in Indiana to exceed eight years. Both Tecumseh and The Prophet afterwards joined the British. The Prophet and some of the principle chiefs of the Miamis retired from the borders of the Wabash and moved to Detroit where they were received as friends and allies of Great Britain. In September, 1815 the Shawnee Prophet attended some of the sessions of the Councils held at the Spring Well near Detroit and retired with a few of his followers across the river Detroit, to British territory. Before the treaty was signed, however, they professed in open council, before they went away, the most pacific intentions and declared that they would adhere to any treaty made by the chiefs who would remain. Sometime afterwards The Prophet returned to the Shawnee settlement in the state of Ohio, from whence with a band of Shawnees he moved to the Indian country on the western side of the Mississippi river where he died in 1834. The British government allowed him a pension from the year 1813 until his death. Tecumseh, the distinguished brother of The Prophet, was killed at the Battle fo Thames on the 5th of October, 1813.

Date: 1/1/1916
Origin: Historical Sketches of the Wabash Valley
Author: J. Wesley Whiker
Record ID: 00001178
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Collection:
Entered By: Amber M Knipe

Information in this record is provided for personal research purposes only and may not be reproduced for publication. If you have questions about copyright issues contact the archive source listed above.