The Shawnee orator, diplomat and warrior was born near present-day Dayton, Ohio, in 1768. Tecumseh strove to bond the scattered Native American peoples into a united opposition to white encroachment upon their ancestral lands. In 1791 he joined forces of Chief Little Turtle in defense of the Miami village. St. Clair's Defeat, fought in the Northwest Indian War along the Indiana-Ohio border, was one of the greatest debacles in American military history. While Chief Little Turtle and other Native American leaders signed the Treaty of Greenville ending the war, Tecumseh did not.
In 1808 Tecumseh and his brother, The Prophet, founded a permanent village near present-day Lafayette, Ind., where they continued to resist the advance of white civilization. His nemesis, Indiana territorial governor William Henry Harrison, paid Tecumseh tribute: "The obedience and respect his people pay him bespeaks him one of those uncommon geniuses who spring up to produce revolutions."
Engaged in seeking Native American allies in the south, Tecumseh died fighting during the War of 1812.