Wyandot Chiefs

An excerpt from Lest We Forget: A Brief Sketch of Wyandot County’s History

By Thelma R. Marsh

Tarhe

Tarhe, the Crane, was of the Porcupine Clan. General William Henry Harrison called him “the noblest of all Indians.” He was the most influential leader of all tribes in the forming of the Treaty of Greenville. After this treaty the office of Half King was abolished, and Tarhe became the leader of the Wyandot Nation. His residence was four miles north and east of the present site of Upper Sandusky, an area known to local people as “Cranetown.” Here his monument is located, County Rd. 37, but the exact site of his burial has been lost. He was seventy‑five years old at the time of his death in 1818. His funeral was the largest Indian funeral ever held, and an occasion for great mourning among all Indians.

Myeerah, his daughter, married the noted Isaac Zane who was abducted by the Wyandots and lived in Chief Tarhe’s home. Jonothan Pointer, the Negro who served as interpreter for

John Stewart made his home with Tarhe for many years.

Chief Tarhe remained true to the American cause until his death. He was mild mannered, never drank spirits, and never used tobacco in any form.

Mononcue

“Mononcue was an Indian Chief of the Wyandot Tribe and a licensed preacher of the Methodist Church. This renowned chief was of medium height, quick in his motions, and fleet as a doe in a chase.

“As a speaker, he possessed a native eloquence which was truly wonderful. He was a son of Thunder. As an orator, Mononcue was not surpassed by any chieftain. He was of great service to the Mission at Upper Sandusky as a local preacher, and always prompt in the discharging of every duty. He remained a true Christian until his death, which occurred sometime before the removal of the Wyandots for the West.” From Wyandot County History1884, page 277.

BetweentheLogs

“Between‑the‑Logs was an Indian Chief of the Wyandot Tribe and a licensed preacher for the Methodist Church. He was born near Lower Sandusky (Fremont) about the year 1790. His father was a Seneca and his mother a member of the Bear Clan of the Wyandot Nation.

“While still in his teens he fought with General Wayne’s troops at the ‘Battle of Fallen Timbers.’ He then lived at Lower Sandusky. He early became prominent in his nation, was made chief and appointed chief speaker of his nation.

“During the War of 1812 he was a firm friend of the Americans. He settled permanently in Upper Sandusky. In 1817 he visited Washington, D.C. securing advantages for the Wyandots. When John Stewart, the colored exhorter, appeared among the Wyandots, Between‑the‑Logs became his friend, and. soon after embraced Christianity. He became a devoted friend and advocate of God, until his death in 1827, and was buried in the grounds surrounding the Mission Church.” From Wyandot County History1884, page 264‑265.

Leatherlips

Leatherlips was a Wyandot Chief of great influence and wisdom. He opposed Tecumseh and his brother “The Prophet” who tried to organize all Indians against the American white man, feeling that it was better even to die than to give in to the white man. Leatherlips was convicted of witchcraft, which was a political maneuver to get him out of the way. It is believed that the same sentence was intended for Tarhe, also a friend of the white man, had they been able to find him alone. Wyandot Chief Roundhead led the execution. Leatherlips was at his camp, along the Scioto River near Columbus, when the accusers found him and pronounced the sentence. Otway Curry, in a publication The Hiesperian, tells what followed. “The prisoner walked slowly to his camp, partook of a dinner of jerked venison, washed and arrayed himself in his best apparel and afterwards painted his face. His dress was very rich, his hair gray and his whole appearance graceful and commanding.

“When the fateful hour of execution arrived, Leatherlips silently shook hands with spectators, which included several white settlers. He then turned from his wigwam and, in a voice of surprising strength and melody, commenced the death song. He was followed closely by the Wyandot warriors, all timing their slow and measured march to the music of his wild and melodious dirge.

“At a distance of about 80 yards from camp, the doomed chief stopped his slow march at a freshly dug grave. Here the old man knelt down and in an elevated but solemn tone of voice addressed his prayers to the Great Spirit. As soon as he had finished the captain of the Indians knelt beside him and prayed in a similar manner.

“White spectators noted not one Indian was armed with rifle or tomahawk. Then suddenly one warrior drew from the skirts of his capote a keen, bright tomahawk, walked rapidly in behind the chieftain, brandished the weapon high for a moment, then struck with his whole strength on the back of the chieftain’s head. As he lay writhing in agony, the executioner struck two more mercy blows and the deed was over.” One lndian was heard to say, “See how hard he dies! That proves that he possessed witchcraft.”

In 1888 the Wyandot Club of Columbus erected a Scotch granite monument at the site of the execution of Leatherlips, on the east side of the Scioto River, north of Columbus.

Summundewat

Sum‑mun‑de‑wat, another honored and loved Wyandot Chief, was, at the time of his death, on a hunting excursion with his family and some friends in Hancock County. In the evening two white men, John Anderson and James Lyons, entered their camp and were served food and offered lodging for the night. After supper the chief knelt for prayers in his own language, and then lay down to sleep.

Sometime during the night the two white men sank their hatches into the head of the sleeping men. The woman sprang up and pleaded for mercy. Anderson hesitated when he remembered the kindness she had shown them, but Lyons called him “chicken‑hearted,” so with one terrible blow he struck her to the ground never to rise again. The murderers then robbed the camp and made off. They were caught and put in jail, but they escaped and were never punished for their crime.

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