Sequoyah 1776- 1843
Sogwali was born in 1776 in the village of Tuskeegee, near Vonore, TN about a twenty minute drive from Campagne Maison. His mother, Wut-teh was the daughter of a Cherokee Chief. His father, Nathaniel Gist, was a white Virginian fur trader. Sogwali's name was changed to Sequoyah by the missionaries but he was known to the white man as George Gist.
Sequoyah became a Silversmith by trade. He married a Cherokee and had a family. Along with other Cherokees, Sequoyah enlisted on the side of the United States under General Andrew Jackson to fight the British troops and the Creek Indians in the war of 1812.
Although Sequoyah was exposed to the concept of writing early in his life, he never learned the English alphabet. Unlike the white soldiers, he and the other Cherokees were not able to write letters home, read military orders, or record events as they occurred. Driven by the desire to see literacy for his people, after the war, Sequoyah began in earnest to create a writing system for the Cherokees. He started by making symbols that could make words and reduced the thousands of Cherokee thoughts down to 85 symbols representing those sounds.
Sequoyah devised a game of this new writing system and taught his little girl, Ayoka, how to make the symbols. In 1821, after 12 years working on the new language, he and his daughter introduced his syllabary to the Cherokee people. Within a few months thousands of Cherokees became literate.
By 1825 much of the Bible and numerous hymns had been translated into Cherokee. By 1828 they were publishing the "Cherokee Phoenix," the first national bi-lingual newspaper, along with religious pamphlets, educational materials and legal documents.
In recognition of his contributions, the Cherokee Nation awarded Sequoyah a silver medal and a lifetime pension. He continued to serve Cherokee people as a statesman and diplomat until his death.
The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum is located in Vonore, TN, Loudon County, TN. It is open Mon - Sat, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday from noon until 5:00 p.m. It is the property of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians whose mission strives to promote the understanding and appreciation of the history of the Cherokee people.
"Never before, or since, in the history of the world, has one man--not literate in any language, perfected a system for reading and writing a language" (taken from www.sequoyahmusuem.org/ website)
It was also noted that the great Sequoia trees were named in his honor!
I am linking up with Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday for this week's letter "S". Grab her button on my sidebar and head on over there to read all the other great "S" words.
Thanks for stopping by the farmhouse for a visit today. We love having company!