Clark County, Ohio

History and Genealogy


From 20th Century History of Springfield and Clark County, Ohio by Hon. William A. Rockel
Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1908
Written by Hon. Thomas F. McGrew for the Shawnee Centennial of 1880

Tecumseh was no doubt the most noted man that ever sprung from the Shawnee tribe of Indians, of whom E. O. Randall, who is most excellent authority, said, "With the exception of Grant and Sherman, he was, in my opinion, the greatest warrior born within the borders of Ohio. He was more than a mere fighter; he was a diplomatist, orator and a natural leader of men; he watched what he knew was a hopeless contest, but fought bravely to the last; he was idolized by his followers and respected by his foes."

There is no question but that he was born at this old Shawnee town of Piqua, he himself having pointed out that site as his birthplace, during his lifetime. On the centennial day of this memorable battle, and I know of no one who could speak more authoritatively, for he himself was born in that immediate locality, General Keifer said:

"Who were there on that memorable day? There were here (at their birthplace) the three ten-year-old brothers — triplets — with their Creek mother, two of whom became famed in the bloody history of the West. The names of those boys were Tecumseh (a cougar crouching for his prey), Ellskwatawa (an open door), afterward named and recognized as the Prophet, and Rumskaka."

Elsewhere in history I found it said:

"His father, Puckeshinwa, was a member of the Kisopok tribe of the Swanoese nation, and his mother, Methontaske, was a member of the Turtle tribe of the same people. They moved from Florida about the middle of the last century to the birthplace of Tecumseh. In 1774, his father, who had risen to be chief, was slain at the battle of Point Pleasant, and not long after, Tecumseh, by his bravery, became the leader of his tribe. In 1795 he was declared chief and then lived at Deer Creek, near the site of the present City of Urbana. He remained here about one year, when he returned to Piqua, and in 1798, he went to White River, Indiana."

James, a British historian, in his account of the battle of the Thames, describes him as follows:

"A Shawnee, five feet ten inches high, and with more than the usual stoutness. He possessed all the agility and perseverance of the Indian character. His carriage was dignified; his eye penetrating; his countenance, even in death, betrayed indications of a lofty spirit, rather of the sterner cast." This writer was describing an officer of the English army. His national pride would incoine him to a favorable estimate of an Indian chief who served in the English army, and in that light we must regard his portraiture of Tecumseh. "I have met," says Thomas F. McGrew, "and conversed with an early settler in Clark County who remembered his personal appearance, and described him as nothing above that of an ordinary Indian."

Tecumseh was born about 1768 and was killed at the battle of the Thames, October 5, 1813, being then forty-five years of age. His first prominent appearance was in the attack on Fort Recovery (near Greenville, Ohio) in 1794.

About 1805 his brother, Ellskwatawa set himself up as a prophet, denouncing the use of liquor, and all food and manners introduced by the whites. He and Tecumseh then attempted to unite all the western tribes into one nation to resist the whites, extending from the lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, and soon had 10,000 Indians gathered at Greenville.

General Harrison required them to move, as it was beyond the Indian limit fixed by treaty.

In 1811 he was in the south getting the Creeks and Seminoles to rise and, by promise of English aid, to overthrow the United States authority.

The battle of the Thames was fought October 6, 1813. In this battle Tecumseh held the title of Brigadier General from the British, and he is buried not far from that battlefield. He seems to have had a presentiment that he would not survive this battle, for it is said that laying aside his sword and uniform in the conviction that he might fall he put on his hunting suit and was soon killed. Col. R. M. Johnson is said to have shot him, but it was not known for some days by the Americans. All historians do not agree as to Tecumseh's ability or his general character. That he was an Indian possessed of the peculiarities of that race is no doubt true; that he was at times cruel and vacillating is beyond dispute, but generally I think it may be accorded to him, that if not classed in the high rank that Randall puts him, yet he was beyond question the most distinguished Indian that ever had his birth within the borders of this county.


Ohio Genealogy



Battle of Piqua



City Charter

County Politics and Roster of Officers

Early Clark County

George Rogers Clark

Clark-Shawnee Centennial

Education in Clark County

Ghost Towns

Indians in Clark County

Pioneers and Pioneer Days

Simon Kenton

Military History


The National Road


The Old Northwest




Springfield in 1852

Springfield in 1859

Springfield in 1863

Springfield in 1868

Springfield History

SHS 1951 Yearbook

State and County Government

Then & Now

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