A chieftan of the Shawnee tribe in what is now the Ohio region, Tecumseh worked to unite other Indian tribes to oppose white expansion into the west in the early 1800s. That dream was crippled when U.S. troops (under future president William Henry Harrison) defeated warriors led by Tecumseh's brother Tenskwatawa (known as The Prophet) at the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe. Tecumseh was killed while fighting on the British side at the Battle of Thames (near what is now Detroit) during the War of 1812.
After Tecumeh's death Tenskwatawa allegedly predicted that if Harrison was elected president he would die in office, and so would presidents elected every 20 years thereafter. This was supposed to be in retaliation for Tecumseh's death. While there is no proof The Prophet ever said such a thing, the prediction proved true for Harrison and every 20-year president through John Kennedy. Thus the "Curse of Tecumseh" became a part of popular lore... Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman was named in honor of the Shawnee chief.