Tecumseh was the leader of a confederacy of Native Americans that fought against the United States in the early 1800s.

Several years ago, I read The Frontiersmen, a "narrative biography" by Allan W. Eckert. (I really enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in early American history.)

Towards the end of the book, the author begins to describe Tecumseh's "prophecies", such as the prediction of an eclipse and the death of William Henry Harrison while he was in office. In particular, he predicts the New Madrid Earthquake(s).

An extract from the book appears in 1995 post.

Eckert recreates the scene with Tecumseh saying, on Wednesday, August 28, 1811:

I leave Tuckabatchee directly and shall go to Detroit. When I arrive there, I will stamp on the ground with my foot, and shake down every house in Tuckabatchee!

It goes on to say Tecumseh told them to burn a piece of stick every day for 30 days, after a great star flashed in the heavens, and the prediction would then come true, at night, when the last stick finished burning.

On November 16, 1811, Eckert reports there was a bright flash in the sky.

Just before the midpoint of the night it came -- a great searing flash from out of the southwest; incredibly bright with a weird greenish-white light, incredibly swift, incredibly awe-inspiring.

On Monday, December 16, 1811, at 2:30am, the first of the New Madrid Earthquakes hit, in accordance with the prophecy, and destroys Tuckabatchee.

Is this account of a prophecy true?

  • 3
    How many more 'predictions' did Tecumseh 'make'? Sounds a bit like the Texas sharpshooter fallacy.
    – user22865
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 11:09
  • 2
    @JanDoggen: You are suggetsing he made many prophecies, and only a small number came true. I would be more suspicious that the entire prophecy was fabricated after the event, but I have no proof.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 12:57
  • 2
    This post could benefit from explaining what Tuckabatchee has to do with New Madrid (I assume they are geographicaly similar?)
    – user5341
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 14:54
  • @user5341: Agreed. The Wikipedia page is rather vague and unreferenced.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 23:50
  • I updated the question with a link to a site which explains that Tuckabatchee was destroyed when the New Madrid Earthquake hit. The site references the book Alabama Footprints Confrontation : Lost & Forgotten (Volume 4).
    – Frank
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 1:10


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