Tarhe was born near present-day Detroit, Michigan, in 1742. He was a Wyandot Indian and eventually became one of the leaders of his people. Tarhe was also known by the nickname "The Crane." Some accounts state that this name is in reference to his tall, slender build.
Like most Indians, Tarhe opposed white settlement of the Ohio Country. He fought to prevent the invasion of Indian land. In 1763, the British, in the Proclamation of 1763, told their colonists not to move west of the Appalachian Mountains because the land belonged to the Indians. Few settlers listened. As more settlers moved onto Indian lands, fighting increased between the two groups. In 1774, the governor of Virginia, John Murray, Lord Dunmore, sent troops to attack the Indians. Tarhe assisted Cornstalk, a leader of the Shawnee Indians, against the whites. The colonists emerged generally victorious from Lord Dunmore's War.
Following Lord Dunmore's War, Tarhe generally supported peace between the Indians and the white settlers. He eventually led the Wyandots into battle again at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. General Anthony Wayne led the American forces and defeated the Indians. Once again, Tarhe supported making peace with the settlers and signed the Treaty of Greeneville. Even after the Treaty of Greeneville, other Indian leaders, including Tecumseh, were calling for the natives to unite against the settlers. Tarhe advised the Wyandots to honor the treaty that they had signed.
In 1812, the British and Americans went to war again. Although Tarhe was in his seventies, he joined in the conflict as an ally of the American troops and was present at the Battle of the Thames in 1813. After the War of 1812, Tarhe settled near Upper Sandusky and remained there until he died in 1818 at the age of 76.
- Anthony Wayne
- Battle of Fallen Timbers
- Battle of the Thames
- War of 1812
- Shawnee Indians
- Wyandot Indians
- Ohio Country
- Upper Sandusky, Ohio
- Proclamation of 1763
- John Murray
- Lord Dunmore's War and the Battle of Point Pleasant
- Treaty of Greeneville (1795)
- Greenville, Ohio
- Appalachian Mountains
- Barrett, Carole, Harvey Markowitz, and R. Kent Rasmussen, eds. American Indian Biographies. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 2005.
- Carpenter, Roger M. The Renewed, the Destroyed, and the Remade: The Three Thought Worlds of the Huron and the Iroquois, 1609-1650. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2004.
- Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
- Tooker, Elisabeth. An Ethnography of the Huron Indians, 1615-1649. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1991.
- Vogel, John J. Indians of Ohio and Wyandot County. New York, NY: Vantage Press, 1975.