On This Date In History: In the late 18th Century, there was a young, dissolute Shawnee warrior whom we might call a wayward youth today. His name was Laulewasika and he was prone to drunken brawls. In fact, he lost an eye in one fight. One day, he quietly lit his pipe and he fell over. The tribe thought that he was dead but during the funeral ceremony he suddenly awoke, proclaiming that he had “returned from the Master of Life” and said he was to be called the prophet Tenskwatawa.
It’s unclear whether or not the brother of Laulewasika, the great Shawnee leader Tecumseh, called his brother Tenskwatawa nor if he suspected that his brother was bamboozling everyone. But he certainly should have done the latter because, it just so happened, that the message being preached by Tecumseh for years coincided with the new Indian Prophet’s verbiage. The central theme to the rhetoric was for all of the Indian tribes to unite against the White settlers. The two brothers went on tour to try and convince the other tribes of their plan with Tecumseh doing the heavy lifting with the political story while Tenskwatawa would woo them with his revival work that renounced the ways of the White man, in particular booze and religion. Their plan worked to the extent that several tribes joined them and the headquarters for their new endeavor was a town they called Tippecanoe, which meant Prophetstown. Bet I know who came up with the town name.
Anyway, this caused the territorial Governor, William Henry Harrison, to challenge the powers of Tenskwatawa in hopes of proving him to be a Charlatan. The challenge was to stop the sun, change the course of the moon and stop the rivers from flowing, among other things. Harrison said if he could do those things, then he was indeed sent by God. Well, I don’t know who made Harrison the arbitor regarding Divinity, but Tenskwatawa had the answer in his back pocket. See, Tenskwatawa was a pretty smart guy and he not only knew what his brother’s political ideas were he also knew how to read a solar table. On This Date in 1806 Tenskwatawa made the sun go black then asked the Master of Life to bring it back and the sun shone brightly again! The Indians were believers!
Harrison may not have known that Tenskwatawa had read the solar tables and knew of the exact time of a solar eclipse, but he wasn’t persuaded because a few years later, he gathered an army to march on Tippecanoe. Tecumseh left to get others to join in the fight. He left his brother in charge with explicit instructions not to engage the Americans. But Tenskwatawa just couldn’t pass up the chance to reign glory upon himself. He had the warriors touch his bean belt to make them immune to bullets and dip their weapons in his magic bowl to ensure victory and he ordered an attack. The Indians were routed by Harrison,the town burned to the ground and the path was set for Harrison to become President of the United States. The survivors were incensed and came after Tenskwatawa who used his powers of BS to get out of it by blaming it on his squaw! That’s right, when the chips were down, he blamed his loss on his wife whom he said stood too close to the bowl of magic potion.
This story ends with a bit of magic power, but it came from his brother Tecumseh. Legend ist is that Tecumseh,while on his death bed in 1813, put a curse on the White Man. On March 2, 1841 President William Henry Harrison talked for nearly 3 hours in sub-freezing temperatures at his inauguration in Washington, DC. He died of pneumonia 30 days later. It is called Tecumseh’s curse and every president elected in a year that ended in zero, starting with Harrison in 1840, died in office. After Harrison, the list of apparent victims to Tecumseh’s curse included Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Harding, FDR and JFK. President Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 and was wounded severely by an assassins bullet but managed to recover and therefore broke Tecumseh’s curse. Tecumseh was the famous middle name of General William T. Sherman. And you know what, no one remembers the phony faker Tenskwatawa…and it’s just as well. It would teach a bad lesson to kids that being a big fibber is good. That cheaters somehow prosper. Besides, it’s easier to pronounce Tecumseh than it is Tenskwatawa.
Weather Bottom Line: We had a little boundary sneak through the region overnight. While it will still be warm, the humidity level will be noticeably more bearable. It will remain warm and dry through Thursday. By Friday afternoon, we see the higher heat and humidity return with a warm front ahead of a cold front that will approach Friday night or Saturday. Rain chances will again become elevated and the heat and humidity will stick around for a few days because the front will get hung up to our north and west…in other words, from the weekend into early next week could end up being similar to the 5 or 6 day period we just completed.