Book addresses mystery: Who killed Tecumseh?Written by Frank Kuron | | email@example.com
He grew up in Ohio surrounded by war. He valiantly fought for his people in the War of 1812. When he died in the Battle of the Thames, the controversy over who killed him was born.
Frank Kuron, founder of Kuron Publishing, has written a book to answer the question of who killed Tecumseh, leader of the Native American Shawnee tribe, in time for the War of 1812’s bicentennial.
The book, “Thus Fell Tecumseh,” includes a brief summary of the War of 1812 but focuses on journal entries and letters written about the leader by more than 160 people who knew him.
While history credits Col. Richard M. Johnson with killing Tecumseh, Kuron said the entries and letters name at least three other people who could have killed him.
Kuron said he included more than 200 extended excerpts and transcriptions of the entries because he did not want to simply paraphrase the material.
“I didn’t want it to be a bland, textbook-type read, without any fiction in it,” he said. “It’s really a lot of stories that I found about how they were so hungry and the diseases they had to fight. Our area was called ‘The Black Swamp,’ and it carried diseases and they had to walk through that.”
The American Gen. William Henry Harrison, who went on the presidency, wrote one letter Kuron found. Harrison describes looking behind him while marching with troops in the snow and seeing pink because the lack of quality winter shoes had left his soldiers’ feet bloody.
Compiling the letters and writing the book took Kuron six years.
“I love the research. It was kind of like finding buried treasure for me. It was fun finding actual letters written by people years ago,” he said. “For me, it was a creative outlet to try to put it in a very readable form instead of a text
His letters came from various sources, including the Kentucky Historical Society, the Ohio Historical Society and the Library of Congress.
Larry L. Nelson, a history professor at
Bowling Green State University, called the book “local history at its best.”
“I thought this book was terrific,” Nelson said. “Frank starts the book with ‘I’m in love with history,’ and I think that’s the best part of the book. His love for the history is evident throughout.”
Kuron, who will contribute an 1812-themed column to Toledo Free Press throughout the bicentennial year, said he created Kuron Publishing to self-publish the book. He wanted it finished in time for the bicentennial of the war called “the second American revolution.”
Kuron said other locations are preparing to celebrate, the bicentennial, including Old Frankfurt, Ky., Fort Niagara in Youngstown, N.Y. and Monroe, Mich.
Visit www.kuronpublishing.com for more information about “Thus Fell Tecumseh” or to purchase a copy. For information about the bicentennial celebrations, visit royal.scots.tripod.com/warof1812eventslist/id12.html.
Kuron ‘1812’ presentation
set for Feb. 16 at Fort Meigs
Kuron will present the lecture “Thus Fell Tecumseh” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Fort Meigs
The presentation is free and open to the public. This is part of a yearlong series of lectures commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812 (2012–15).
This presentation will review many of the eyewitness testimonies to Tecumseh’s death at the Battle of the Thames in October of 1813. Richard M. Johnson rode the wave of credit for having killed the Shawnee war chief all the way to the vice presidency of the United States. However, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence suggesting someone else did this deed.
Fort Meigs’ Visitor Center is located at 29100 W. River Road
The program is sponsored by the Anderton Bentley Fund in memory of Christopher Perky, who served at Fort Meigs during the War of 1812.
COLUMN: Perspectives of 1812
Fess up. Before seeing the cover of this week’s Toledo Free Press, you didn’t know this is the bicentennial of the War of 1812, did you? Do you know who fought it? Do you know who won? Do you care?
I’ll assume a few of you, probably very few, are history buffs. If the rest of you sense anything remotely hinting of a high school history class (where the only thing you learned was how to sleep with your eyes open) you’re gonna turn the page, aren’t you?
Well, hold on a minute. First, this is the 200th anniversary of a war that has been referred to as our second war of independence. It lasted about three years. It pitted the Americans against the British and their American-Indian allies. As for who won, most historians consider it a draw, but that is debatable. All across the country this year and through 2015, commemorative events are being scheduled to remember and honor the participants in this episode of our country’s infancy.
Second, this war was a nationwide conflict, but as it happened, many key events happened right here in our own backyards. And I mean that quite literally for some of you. If you asked around, you’d find that numerous cannonballs, arrowheads and other artifacts have been found by our neighbors here, in what used to be called the Northwest Territory. This area included Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin; but within a 200-mile radius of Toledo, a lot of action took place.
Third, the results of the war, and the culture of the 1812 era, are still with us in secret and subtle ways. Some of our best-known folk heroes and villains really did walk our streets — when they were just paths. Waterways, counties, towns, roads … you name it, and it’s been named for people who fought or lived here circa 1812. We may not think about it much, but many things in our world of 2012 have their roots in the lives of the pioneers who chose to dwell and fight in our little corner of the 1812 wilderness.
Still here? Good.
The focus of this series will be on the people of the 1812 era — how they lived and what they lived through. This will include details of famous and overlooked historical personalities, battles, hardships and common daily activities.
I love early American history and I love to write. My history interests began as a kid watching TV shows about Daniel Boone and Westerns starring John Wayne. But I was a bit jaded early on. When I hit that certain age of knowing the truth about everything, around 10 years old, my parents took me to a pioneer reenactment. They had me shake hands with a guy dressed up as an Indian. Up till then, I was convinced Indians were ONLY in the movies. This personal Indian encounter was one of many triggers leading me to read more and more about our frontier era.
My studies led me to write my first book in 2011, “Thus Fell Tecumseh,” which covers the war in our area and the controversy over who actually killed Tecumseh in 1813.
When my children were little I used to tell them stories about the history of our region. Unwittingly, I must have referred to the escapades of “Mad” Anthony Wayne a few too many times, for one day it began — as I was gleefully enlightening my kids yet again about something historical, they shouted in unison, “Anthony Wayne!” I corrected them, explaining that I wasn’t talking about him and continued. But they yelled again, “Anthony Wayne!” I was confused, but went on until they interrupted my story a third time with their refrain. Finally, I realized that “Anthony Wayne” was code for “Dad! Boring! Hand us a noose, already!”
I hope you choose to give this column a try in the weeks ahead. My goal is simply to entertain and enlighten, and maybe even put a smile on your face. Every effort will be made to point out historical sites that are still accessible for you to visit, as well as special events and lectures about the War of 1812 as they are scheduled.
I hope this conversational approach will make you comfortable enough to email with any feedback you may have. And should you find it annoying, a simple “Anthony Wayne!” will do.
Email Frank Kuron at firstname.lastname@example.org.