It all started with the election of William Harrison against Martin Van Buren. The election was the first to use propaganda, slogans, and songs. Two slogans have made it into everyday speech. ‘Keep that ball rolling’ was one of them. Harrison supporters made a large leather and tin ball plastered with slogans they would roll from city to city saying… Another is Booze. Edmund G. Booz had made a whiskey bottle shaped like a log cabin that Harrison supporters handed out. At 67 Harrison was the oldest president ever to be elected until Reagan who was 71. It was said of him, “Give him a barrel of hard cider, and … a pension of two thousand [dollars] a year … and … he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin.” So the Whig’s spun it to their side and commissioned E.G. Booze to make the bottles.
“Tippee Canoe and Tyler Too,” was the campaign slogan. Harrison was riding on the fame of the battle at Tippee Canoe where the Indian leader who was called the Prophet was killed. The Prophet, Tenskwatawa, was the brother of Tecumseh. It was Richard Mentor Johnson who was running against Harrison as Van Buren’s Vice President, before he was dropped form the ticket, who many believed was the man who killed Tecumseh. Johnson’s common law wife was Julia Chinn, a slave which he was brought up with. She died 7 years before the election, but the country was not ready for one who was proud of his interracial wife. James Knox Polk would also be dropped from the Van Buren ticket. In the end Van Buren ran with no Vice President. Even though many thought Johnson killed Tecumseh, “Rumpsey Dumpsey, Rumpsey Dumpsey, Colonel Johnson killed Tecumseh”, Harrison would be the first to befall Tecumseh’s Curse.
William Harrison started the election as an Anti-Masonic Party candidate with Daniel Webster. The Anti-Mason Party was absorbed in the campaign by the Whigs and Webster was supplanted by Tyler. Webster was Salem’s candidate with the support of Stephen White who had a personal grudge against Jackson for not renewing the charter on the Second Bank of the United States. White ran Associate Superior Court Justice Joseph White and Webster by the purse strings through a series of political marriages. Story and Webster were directors in the bank. The Anti-Masonic Party was anti-Jackson and the Whigs were even more anti-Jackson who absorbed the party. Henry Clay founded the party based on English supporters of the Bank of England for the sole purpose of restoring a new national bank after Jackson destroyed the last one.
Tecumseh in his native tongue meant shooting star. Then in 1811 during the War of 1812 a great comet was seen which rose Tecumseh to stardom literally. He was to bring the largest confederacy of natives together that had a training camp at Tippee Canoe. After a defeat they were forced to make ties with the British. During this time Tecumseh led the battle of Detroit by fooling the Americans that he had a force 3 times the size they did by circling the same troops on the fort. At the Battle of the Thames he would be killed, it is believed for they never confirmed his remains or the person who would have killed him.
So what is with his curse? William Harrison, was the oldest president elected at the time, was the first to die from the curse and the current oldest president ever elected was Ronald Reagan who was the last. Harrison died a month in office and Reagan survived 2 terms after a failed assassination. So let’s start closer to the present with the history of the curse.
John Warnock Hinckley Jr. was released on September 10th 2016 from St. Elizabeth in Washington D.C. Garfield’s assassin, Charles Julius Guiteau, and Andrew Jackson’s attempted assassin Richard Lawrence were interned here as well. Lawrence tried killing Jackson in support of the Second National Bank of the United States. Garfield was a supporter of the Gold Standard and investigated the Black Friday Gold Panic Scandal, could someone delude Guiteau to serve their purposes? St. Elizabeth was founded by Dr. Miller who was present at William Harrison’s death of typhoid. For most of its history it has served as the mental asylum for military officers. Augustus Owsley Stanley III was also placed in St. Elizabeth who was The Beatles and Ken Kesey LSD dealer. The hospital will in the near future become the new headquarters for Homeland Defense which came about after September 11th. Hinckley would have been the last assassin to be involved in the curse, but he failed.
The full list of presidents who befell Tecumseh’s Curse:
William Harrison Poisoned March 26th died April 4th 1841
Zachary Taylor Poisoned July 4th died July 9th 1850
Abraham Lincoln Shot Good Friday April 14th died April 15th 1865 ?
James A. Garfield shot July 2nd died September 19th 1881
William McKinley shot September 6th died September 14th 1901
Warren G. Harding Poisoned, Suicide, or Heart Attack died August 2nd 1923
Franklin D. Roosevelt Cerebral Hemorrhage March 29th died April 12th 1945
John F. Kennedy November 26th Shot dead
Ronald Reagan Shot March 30th 1981 Survived
Reagan brought the curse to an end. At the time Russia was sending submarines to invade Poland in response to their Solidarity Movement. Was Reagan thinking of supporting the Poles? The Greatest American Hero just premiered with the main character Ralph Hinckley, later renamed Ralph Hanley. Around the assassination attempt Neil Bush of Standard Oil and Winston Partners ate dinner with Scott Hinckley of Vanderbilt Oil in Denver and brother to the would be assassin. The Hinckleys and Bushs grew up together in Texas.
Another look at the list:
Five were shot.
Four killed by Doctors.
Four were dying in April.
Three were hospitalized in March.
Three possibly poisoned.
Two hospitalized in July.
Two died in September.
Now it all started with Stephen White, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay’s plan of assassinating their political candidate William Harrison for his refusal of creating a new national bank. After Stephen White’s death in the same year of Harrison, Clay and Webster would go on and kill Zachary Taylor making the second to befall Tecumseh’s Curse. They will also murder James Knox Polk 3 months after he leaves office and 13 month before Taylor’s assassination. So technically Polk does not count in the curse. Polk was murdered for supporting Jackson as Speaker of the House in his removal of the Second Bank of the United States and making an Independent Treasury while he served as president.
Along the way William Harrison lost a child 2 weeks before he became president; Webster, and Clay who did not trust each other would lose several family members mysteriously; Clay and Webster would both die in 1852 without seeing the Third Bank of the United States created. So many had died and the bank would not be created till 1913.
Was Anyone Else Suspicious?
Has anyone in our century questioned Harrison, Polk, or Taylor’s death? Clara Rising, a former University of Florida professor was studying the life of Zachary Taylor. Upon doing so she began questioning his death. Upon further study she had enough questions and historical evidence to contact Taylor’s closest living relative, John McIlhenny, to ask for his remains to be exhumed.
This would not be the first president to be exhumed. The coffin of Abraham Lincoln, another who suffered Tecumseh’s Curse, was opened 4 times. Most recently on Sept. 26, 1901 to confirm that it contained his remains. Robert Todd Lincoln would be at his father’s death and also present at Garfield’s assassination. Abraham Lincoln was shot on Good Friday…That is a totally different story about his and Booth’s survival…
Zachary Taylor was exhumed on January 17th 1991 with officials, a new flag for his coffin, and 20 onlookers. Some present were other relatives of the dead president. Louise LeBourgeois who was observing was his great-great-great-great-granddaughter.
Rising was not the first to bring his death into debate. In 1978, Hamilton Smith based his assassination theory on the timing of drugs, the lack of confirmed cholera or Typhoid outbreaks, and other material. Also after Lincoln’s death it was widely mentioned he was assassinated just like Taylor.
So that is the skippy on Tecumseh’s Curse…
To find out more read Sub Rosa and learn more about this and other amazing ways how Salem MA shaped American History up to the present. Advance Readers copies for sale on Amazon.com, Remember Salem, and Jolie Tea.