The Prophet predicted an eclipse in Greene Ville


GREENVILLE — In 1806, there was an Indian encampment southwest of Greenville called Prophetstown. The town was named after Tecumseh’s half-brother Tenskwatawa who was then better known as the Prophet. Local citizens at Greene Ville had complained to William Henry Harrison that the Indians made them uncomfortable and should be removed.

In response, Harrison hallenged the Prophet. “If God has really employed him (the Prophet), he has doubtless authorized him to perform miracles.” Harrison continued, “If he is really a prophet, ask him to cause the sun to stand still – the moon to alter its course – the rivers to cease to flow -or the dead to raise from their graves.”

The Prophet responded boldly that on a certain day he would demonstrate his powers by bringing darkness over the sun. At noon on the appointed day, June 6, 1806, a near total eclipse occurred at Greene Ville and Prophetstown. At the peak of darkness, the Prophet cried out, “Did I not prophesize truly? Behold, darkness has shrouded the sun.” It is said that at the peak of the eclipse Tecumseh released the sun to return.

How the Prophet knew about the eclipse and how Harrison could overlook knowledge of such an event remains a mystery. The effect of this successful prophecy was felt for years. Indians, numbering nearly 2,000 at one time, made the trek to Prophetstown to be enlightened by the Prophet, who had the powers to blacken the sun.

The eclipse was not a secret. Astronomers knew when and where the path of the eclipse would be. As it is today, a few people in 1806 positioned themselves to observe the eclipse for maximum effect. Garst Museum has daily newspapers from the month of the 1806 eclipse. No articles were discovered discussing the eclipse before or after it occurred.

There were ads in the paper for a book for sale explaining what an eclipse was. It seems an eclipse draws more attention today than 200 years ago.

There is another unusual happening that occurs at Tecumseh point. After heavy rains, the water rises faster in Greenville Creek than in Mud Creek. As a result, the water in Greenville Creek overflows the water in Mud Creek and the water flows upstream at Tecumseh Point. One can stand on the State Route 502 bridge in Greenville and throw a stick downstream and it will float upstream, under the bridge, and out to the south. The prophet did not predict the water flowing backwards, but it is called Tecumseh Point, and Harrison told the prophet to stop the water from flowing.

No posts to display