Leatherlips had three Wyandot names. The one most often used was SHA‑TE‑YAH‑RON‑YA but he was sometimes referred to as THA‑TEY‑YAN‑A‑YOH. In later years he was called SOU‑CHA‑ET‑ESS, which means “Long Gray Hair”. He was of the Porcupine Clan as was his great friend, Chief Tarhe, and he was related to Roundhead, Splitlog and Battise, noted Wyandot warriors of that period.
Wyandots were decimated by disease and a disastrous war with the Five Nations of the Iroquois. Forced out of their homeland near Georgian Bay, they moved to the Ohio country. Leatherlips, an important leader, signed the Treaty of Greenville and encouraged cooperation with white settlers near the end of his life. That policy of accommodating Europeans led to conflict with a movement led by two Shawnee brothers, Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa (The Prophet). Tenskwatawa reacted strongly against Leatherlips and condemned him to death for signing away native lands, and for witchcraft.
In 1810, Leatherlips' brother Roundhead, a fellow Wyandot chief, ordered his execution. Leatherlips was condemned to death by other natives for his desire to cooperate with white settlers. Not only was Leathlerlips opposed to Tecumseh's Confederacy against the United States, but he had also sold native land to William Henry Harrison. However, it is widely believed that Leatherlips was executed for exaggerated charges of witchcraft to draw attention away from the true political motives. While it is unknown if Roundhead took direct part in the execution of Leatherlips, he did head the council that called for his death.
Dispatched by Roundhead, six Wyandots traveled to what is now Dublin, Ohio just north of Columbus and announced the death sentence. Although white settlers led by Benjamin Sells pleaded for the old chief and attempted to bribe the death squad, the trial and sentencing were swift. After clothing himself in his finest attire, Leatherlips, joined by his executioners, sang the death chant and prayed. Then he was killed by tomahawk.
According to the book This is Ohio by Grace Goulder, the execution took place at the entrance to the caves that are now known as the Olentangy Indian Caverns, located north of Dublin, Ohio and south of Delaware, Ohio. According to information from the Olentangy Indian Caverns, the caverns were used by the Wyandot people up until 1810 (the year of Leatherlips' death and also the first recorded incident of a European traveler entering the caves) as a shelter from the weather and a place to seclude themselves from another nearby tribe, the Delaware people.
A monument to Leatherlips and a memorial art sculpture are tourist stops in Dublin, Ohio today.
- Buser, C. A. "Leatherlips". Wyandotte Nation. Retrieved December 07, 2012.
- Carpenter, William Henry; Arthur, Timothy Shay (1854). The History of Ohio: From its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time. Lippincott, Grambo & Co. p. 209.
- Wyandotte Nation (2010). "Wyandotte Nation: Leatherlips". Retrieved July 23, 2010.
- Four Directions Press (2005). "Wyandot (Wyandotte, Wendat)". Retrieved July 22, 2010.
- Ohio City Productions, Inc. (2010). "Chief LeatherLips". Retrieved July 23, 2010.
- Weber, Scott (Feb 1993). "From Leatherlips to Microchips". Retrieved July 26, 2010.
- Drake, Benjamin (1858). Life of Tecumseh, and his Brother the Prophet. Anderson, Gates & Wright. p. 119.
- "Chief Leatherlips Monument". RoadsideAmerica.com. Retrieved December 07, 2012.