Rich Kauffman: Curious curse came to cursed end
Tecumseh was a Shawnee chief who fought on the side of the British in the War of 1812. He was killed while fighting the Battle of the Thames on Oct. 5, 1813.
Before he died he supposedly put a curse on the United States, bringing the wrath of some deity down on the new nation.
This curse was manifested, as later supposed, upon the U.S. presidency. Every 20 years the man who held that position would die while in office.
It started with the man who defeated Tenkswatawa, Tecumseh’s brother in the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1812, one William Henry Harrison. Elected in 1840, Harrison died mysteriously in 1841, probably from pneumonia. I don’t think there was an actual curse, but suppose there was?
Let’s chronicle the presidential line and check out some unusual circumstances.
The election of 1840: Harrison, the one mentioned above, dies in office after holding that office only 31 days.
The election of 1860: Lincoln assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Here’s a bit of useless trivia. There are 15 letters in that name as there are in the name Lee Harvey Oswald. One was born in 1839, the other in 1939. Oh well, I just thought you might be interested in knowing that. Probably not. But I find that both names seem to roll off your tongue like warm butter. Disgusting.
The election of 1880: James Garfield assassinated by a crazed anarchist in 1881.
The election of 1900: McKinley assassinated in 1901.
The election of 1920: Warren Harding dies mysteriously in 1923 while visiting San Francisco.
The election of 1940: Roosevelt dies in his fourth term as president in 1945.
The election of 1960 — Kennedy assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald. There’s that warm butter name again. Yech!
The election of 1980: The curse, if there was one, obviously ended with the election of Ronald Reagan. The curse tried to get him, but he survived the attempt.
Reagan’s the one who made you feel great to be an American; the one who looked the USSR in the eye and said unflinchingly, ‘This wall WILL come down’. It did. (Makes me think of Trump when he says, “This wall will go up!” ) Well, I guess you could say the great Ronald Reagan crushed the curse of Tecumseh, and brought it to a cursed end.
Rich Kauffman lives in Grass Valley.
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