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Roundhead (Wyandot)

 

Roundhead (Wyandot)

Roundhead
Born c. 1760
Near the Sandusky River in New France (present-day Ohio)
Died October 5, 1813 (age 52–53)
Near Moravian in present day Chatham-Kent, Ontario
Nationality Wyandot
Other names Bark Carrier, Stayeghtha, Stiahta
Known for War of 1812
Relatives Jean-Baptiste, Leatherlips, Tharoutorea, Warrow

Roundhead (c. 1760 – October 5, 1813), also known as Bark Carrier, Round Head, Stayeghtha, and Stiahta, was a Native American chief of the Wyandot tribe. He was a strong member of Tecumseh’s Confederacy against the United States during the War of 1812 and died alongside Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames.

Early life

Roundhead was born around 1760 near the Sandusky River in New France (the present-day state of Ohio). However, some sources indicate that he was born later in 1763.[1] He rose to become chief of the Wyandots in the Sandusky area but later moved to Brownstown and joined Tecumseh’s anti-American cause. Very little is known about his life before 1810, but this was during a time when various Wyandot clans feuded over their relations with the United States. Prior to 1810, Roundhead was briefly a war chief under Tarhe, who was an ally of the Americans. Roundhead resigned that position and joined with Tecumseh against the Americans during the height of Tecumseh's War.[2] In 1810, Roundhead was chiefly responsible for the execution of his brother and fellow Wyandot chief Leatherlips.[2][3] He was condemned to death by other natives for his desire to cooperate with white settlers.[3][4][5] Not only was Leathlerlips opposed to Tecumseh's Confederacy against the United States, but he had also sold native land to William Henry Harrison.[6] However, it is widely believed that Leatherlips was executed for exaggerated charges of witchcraft to draw attention away from the true political motives.[2] While it is unknown if Roundhead took direct part in the execution of Leatherlips, he did head the council that called for his death, and Roundhead dispatched fellow natives to capture him and carry out the execution.[5]

War of 1812

During the War of 1812, Roundhead was second-in-command only to Tecumseh among Colonel Henry Procter’s British forces. He participated in the Battle of Brownstown on August 5, 1812 and the Battle of Maguaga on August 9. After this battle, Tecumseh presented Roundhead with a sash given to him by General Isaac Brock, as Tecumseh claimed it should belong to an older and more skilled warrior.[1][7] Roundhead did not wear the honorable sash, as he did not want to cause jealously among the other war chiefs. A few days later, he helped in the capture of Fort Detroit during the Siege of Detroit on August 15.[8] He then joined up with Major Adam Muir for the British occupation of Fort Miami along the Maumee River in September 1812.[9] He later fought in the Siege of Fort Meigs from April 28–May 9, 1813. Roundhead’s brother, Jean-Baptiste, died during this failed siege.[7]

Roundhead’s most notable accomplishment during the War of 1812 took place when he fought in the Second Battle of the River Raisin on January 22, 1813. Tecumseh, who did not participate in the battle, gave command of the native forces to Roundhead and fellow Wyandot chief Walk-in-the-Water. They commanded approximately 800 Native Americans along with Henry Procter’s 597 British troops against a force of 1,000 Americans. The battle was a tremendous defeat for the Americans, as they were caught off guard in the early hours of the morning. Shortly into the battle, Roundhead was responsible for the capture of ill-prepared American general James Winchester. Having been captured, he was unable to command his troops, and they suffered heavy losses. In addition to that, Roundhead presented Winchester to Procter, and Procter forced Winchester to surrender his army after only a few hours of fighting.[10][11] Following the battle, Roundhead aided in the quick retreat of Procter’s troops back into Upper Canada, where Roundhead and Tecumseh met American opposition at the Battle of the Thames.[12]

Death

Both Tecumseh and Roundhead were killed during the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813.[3] On Roundhead’s death, General Procter wrote in a letter dated October 23, 1813, “The Indian cause and ours experienced a serious loss in the death of Round Head.”[9] For years, Roundhead, who was a staunch supporter of Tecumseh, feuded with other Wyandot clans who supported Tarhe’s pro-American stance. Once Roundhead and Tecumseh’s forces were defeated at the Battle of the Thames, the division between the Wyandot ended, and they began peaceful negotiations with the Americans.[13] To honor Roundhead, the site of his original Wyandot village is now known as the unincorporated community of Roundhead, which was designated in 1832. It is located within Roundhead Township in Hardin County, Ohio.[14]

References

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