Tecumseh, Or Tecumntha, a chief of the Shawnee Indians, born near the present town of Springfield, Ohio, about 1TG8, killed at the battle of the Thames, Oct. 5, 1813. His first prominent appearance was in the attack on Fort Recovery in 1794. About 1805 his brother Elskwatawa set up as a prophet, denouncing the use of liquors, and of all food and manners introduced by the whites. Tecum-seh and the prophet then attempted to unite all the western tribes into one nation to resist the whites. They visited the Indians from the lakes to the gulf of Mexico, and soon had a village of 400 Indians gathered at Greenville. Gen. Harrison required them to remove, as it was beyond the Indian limit fixed by treaty. Tecumseh went to Vincennes with 400 warriors to overawe Harrison, and the conference was broken up by his violence. Finding that he had gone too far, he attempted to explain. In 1811, while he was in the south exciting the Creeks and Semi-noles to rise by promise of English aid, Harrison marched on the prophet's town to demand that the Indians should return to their various tribes, murderers of whites be surrendered, and plunder given up. The prophet attacked him, and was defeated at Tippecanoe, on the Wabash (Nov. 7). This disconcerted Tecum-seh's plans and broke the spell of the prophet's power.
When war was declared with England, Tecumseh appeared in Canada with a number of warriors, and refused to meet the American commanders in council. He was in the action against Van Home on the Raisin, and after being wounded at Maguaga was made a brigadier general in the British forces. He was in command with Proctor at the siege of Fort Meigs, and saved American prisoners from massacre. After the battle of Lake Erie he urged Proctor to engage Harrison when he landed, but accompanied him in his retreat. In the first engagement he was wounded while holding the passage of a stream. With Proctor he selected the battle ground at the Thames, in the S. W. corner of Canada, and he commanded the right wing. Laying aside his sword and uniform in the conviction that he must fall, he put on his hunting dress and fought desperately till he was killed. Col. R. M. Johnson was said to have shot him; but in reality his death was not for some days known to the Americans. - The life of Tecumseh and of his brother the prophet has been written by Benjamin Drake (12mo, Cincinnati, 1841).