Sequoyah and the Invention of the Cherokee Alphabet

By April R. Summitt | Go to book overview

Chronology
1760s–1770sSequoyah was born George Guess or Gist in the Cherokee town of Tuskegee, near present day Knoxville, Tennessee. Both the year and place are speculative and disputed among scholars. The most commonly held belief narrows his birth to the years between 1760 and 1765.
1800Estimated year Sequoyah’s mother died.
1809Some sources say Sequoyah began work on the syllabary in this year. Sometime during the early decades of the century, Sequoyah supposedly became a silversmith and a trader like his mother.
1813Enlisted in the war against Britain under the command of Captain John McLamore, part of Colonel Gideon Morgan Jr.’s Cherokee Regiment.
March 27, 1814Fought in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend against the Creeks. The Creek nation split into two factions, one siding with the British and one with the Americans during the War of 1812. Andrew Jackson’s army and its Cherokee and Lower Creek allies defeated the Upper Creeks (known as the Red Sticks).
1815Married his first wife, Sally Waters, with whom he had four children. He later married an unknown number of other women and fathered a possible total of 20 children, although sources say only 10 of them survived into adulthood.
1817Sequoyah became one of the signers of the treaty at the Chickasaw Council House, exchanging eastern land for allotments in Arkansas Territory. At first, Sequoyah planned to move west, but later changed his mind. As the Cherokee ceded land in an effort to keep a peaceful relationship with the United States, Sequoyah’s home became part of this cession. He moved to Willstown, Alabama, probably in 1819.

-xiii-

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Sequoyah and the Invention of the Cherokee Alphabet
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Foreword vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Chronology xiii
  • One - Growing Up Cherokee 1
  • Two - Sequoyah and the "Talking Leaves" 21
  • Three - The Cherokee Nation after Sequoyah 41
  • Four - Reading and Writing Cherokee 59
  • Five - Sequoyah, Real and Imagined 73
  • Short Biographies of Key Figures 87
  • Primary Documents 95
  • Glossary 139
  • Annotated Bibliography 147
  • Index 157
  • About the Author 165
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