STAYEGHTHA (Stiahta, Tey-yagh-taw, Ustaiechta, Roundhead), Wyandot war chief; b. mid 18th century; d. 1813 in the Detroit River region.
There was a Wyandot village called Roundhead’s Town (Roundhead, Ohio) on the upper Scioto River at the beginning of the 19th century, but at the time Roundhead appears most prominently in the historical record he lived in the Detroit River region. It is likely that he fought in the wars of the early 1790s against the Americans, for he participated in the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, arriving at the council from the vicinity of Detroit with a party of Wyandots, Shawnees, Six Nations, and Delawares. Although he came at the end of July, when proceedings were almost over, he signed the agreement, by which the defeated Indians gave up most of present-day Ohio and part of Indiana. In September 1800 he put his name to a treaty relinquishing to the crown some 2,500 acres on the Canadian side of the Detroit River.
From an early date Roundhead was closely linked with the Prophet [Tenskwatawa*] and Tecumseh in the movement they organized to defend Indian culture and lands from further white encroachment. In 1807 he was one of the commissioners, along with Tecumseh, Blue Jacket [Weyapiersenwah], and the Panther, sent by an Indian council at Greenville to assure the governor of Ohio that the Prophet intended only peace. Two years later Roundhead was apparently involved, probably under the Prophet’s direction, in the execution of the Wyandot chief Leatherlips on a charge of witchcraft.
On the eve of the War of 1812 Roundhead was chief of a group of some 60 Wyandots living on the Canard River (near Windsor), Upper Canada. He became one of the most active of the Indian leaders in the fighting in the Detroit frontier region, no doubt believing, as did Tecumseh that alliance with the British offered the only chance of preserving Indian lands from the tide of American settlement. In August 1812 he helped lead the Indians in the engagement at Maguaga (Wyandotte, Mich.) and was prominent in the capture of Detroit. An anecdote first published in 1818 relates that on the latter occasion Tecumseh presented Roundhead with the crimson sash given to him by Brock, commenting that the honour should go to an older and abler warrior.
In September 1812 Roundhead participated in Major Adam C. Muir’s unsuccessful expedition against Fort Wayne (Ind.). In January, while Tecumseh was absent, Roundhead and Myeerah led a force of some 500 or 600 Indians in the British-Indian victory over the Americans at Frenchtown (Monroe, Mich.). Roundhead continued to be active throughout the spring of 1813. With Tecumseh he commanded about 1,200 Indians at the siege of Fort Meigs (near Perrysburg, Ohio) in April and May, and his brother Jean-Baptiste was killed during the fighting. At the time American general William Henry Harrison was preparing to invade Upper Canada in September he commented that Roundhead was “entirely in the British interest.” Late in the following month, without giving any details, Major-General Henry Procter* stated that “the Indian Cause and ours experienced a serious Loss in the Death of Roundhead.”
PRO, CO 42/152: 66–69. Canada, Indian treaties and surrenders . . . [1680–1906] (3v., Ottawa, 1891–1912; repr. Toronto, 1971), 1: 1–3, 30–31. Indian affairs: laws and treaties, comp. C. J. Kappler ([2nd ed.], 2v., Washington, 1904), 2: 44. Messages and letters of William Henry Harrison, ed. Logan Esarey (2v., Indianapolis, Ind., 1922), 2: 537. Mich. Pioneer Coll., 15 (1889): 151–54; 25 (1894): 431. Norton, Journal (Klinck and Talman), 300–1, 314–15. “Policy and practice of the United States and Great Britain in their treatment of Indians,” North American Rev. (Boston), 24 (January–April 1827): 422, 424. [John Richardson], Richardson’s War of 1812; with notes and a life of the author, ed. A. C. Casselman (Toronto, 1902; repr. 1974), 134–35, 296, 299. Select British docs. of War of 1812 (Wood), 2: 8, 323, 423. U.S., Congress, American state papers (Lowrie et al.), class ii, : 578.
Handbook of American Indians (Hodge), 2: 397. Benjamin Drake, Life of Tecumseh, and of his brother, the Prophet . . . (Cincinnati, Ohio, 1850), 94–97, 118. B. J. Lossing, The pictorial field-book of the War of 1812 . . . (New York, 1868), 291. Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin, An ethnohistorical report on the Wyandot, Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Chippewa of northwest Ohio (New York, 1974), 248. Ludwig Kosche, “Relics of Brock: an investigation,” Archivaria (Ottawa), no.9 (winter 1979–80): 33–103.