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Grand Sachem Tarhe, The Crane

Tarhe [1742-1812], also known as The Crane, was a Grand Sachem of the Wyandot Nation. Tarhe was also known by the nickname "The Crane." Legend states that this name is in reference to his tall, slender build -- he was six feet four inches tall in an era when few men reached six feet. The name is now pronounce Tar-hee, but the earlier writers indicated that the accent was on the second syllable, pPronounced more correctly, Tar-Hay.

He led the Wyandots in the struggle to prevent white settlers in Ohio. Tarhe was born near present-day Detroit, Michigan, in 1742. He was a member of the Wyandot Indians and eventually became one of their chiefs. Like most Indians, Tarhe opposed white settlement of the Ohio Country. He fought to prevent the invasion of Indian land. Probably no other Indian chieftain was ever more admired and loved by his own people or by the outside world. He was either a true friend or a true enemy. Born near Detroit, Michigan, in 1742, he lived to see a wonderful change in the great northwest. Being born of humble parentage, through his bravery and perseverance he rose to be the grand sachem of the Wyandot nation. This position he held until the time of his death, when he was succeeded by Duonquot. Born of the Porcupine clan of the Wyandots and early manifesting a warlike spirit, he was engaged in nearly all the battles against the Americans until the disastrous battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. Tarhe saw that there was no use opposing the American arms or trying to prevent them planting corn north of the Ohio river.

In 1812, the British and Americans went to war again. Although Tarhe was in his seventies, he fought in the conflict as an ally of the American troops. General Harrison held the conference with the chiefs of the Wyandot, Delawares, Shawanese and Senecas. The principal chiefs of these tribes had remained true to their obligations and neutrality under the Treaty of Greenville, but so many had been lured away from their tribal obligations by British pay and British bribes and promises, and such was their strength when commanded and guided by that able and energetic Tecumseh, that it became necessary for General Harrison to know as exactly as possible what proportion of the military strength of the powerful tribes would remain neutral or if necessary join with the American forces. The chiefs assembled not only assured him that they would remain true to their obligations, but if called upon would join with the American forces against the British.

They were not called upon to take an active part in the war, but as a matter of fact several of the chiefs of these four great tribes, with a considerable number of their warriors, of their own volition accompanied General Harrison in his campaign, which ended in the decisive battle of the Thames. Chief Tarhe (the Crane), grand sachem of the Wyandots, whose village was then near Upper Sandusky, Wyandot county, and who was spokesman for all the tribes at the conference at Franklinton, although seventy-two years of age. went with General Harrison on foot, with a number of his warriors, to Canada and was present at the battle of the Thames, although he took no active part in that battle.

This conference enabled General Harrison to know what he could depend upon as to these four neutral tribes and greatly relieved him from uncertainty and anxiety, and also greatly relieved the frontier settlers from the apprehension and fears with which their minds and hearts were filled. From the date of that conference the tide turned strongly in favor of the American forces.

The novelist Zane Grey contributed his own romanticized version of tribal history and his version became widely accepted. His book Betty Zane told of a young boy who was captured and raised by Indians and subsequently married the chief's daughter. The boy Mr. Grey wrote about was Isaac Zane, a member of the famous Zane family of Wheeling for whom Zanesville, Ohio is named. Zane Grey himself was related to that family. The princess was Myeerah, daughter of the famous Tarhe, Grand Sachem of the Wyandots.

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Page last modified: 15-02-2014 17:32:56 ZULU