“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Birchwood in Meigs County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Cherokee Syllabary

Cherokee Syllabary Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, January 2, 2011
1. Cherokee Syllabary Marker
Inscription. By the beginning of the 19th century, many Cherokee had adopted many white ways of living. They built American type farms, wore American style clothes, developed American style systems of government and began buying African slaves to work on plantations. Missionaries who settled in the Cherokee Nation in 1803 promoted Christianity. For many, these adaptations were intended to prove to the white community that the Cherokee would be compatible neighbors who shared ways of living and believing.

One of the most remarkable developments was the creation of a written language. In 1809, Sequoyah (known in English as George Gist), began thinking about the way whites communicated with each other by writing. He soon began work on a method of writing the Cherokee language. In 1821, he completed his syllabary and submitted it to the leading men of the Nation. Thousands learned the syllabary within months. Missionaries translated the Bible into Cherokee in 1825. In 1828, the Nation began publishing a bilingual newspaper the Cherokee Phoenix.

"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 language."
Marker series. This marker is included in the Trail of Tears marker series.
Sequoyah, or George Gist image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, January 2, 2011
2. Sequoyah, or George Gist
35° 24.423′ N, 85° 0.383′ W. Marker is near Birchwood, Tennessee, in Meigs County. Marker can be reached from Blythe Ferry Road 2 miles north of Hiwassee Highway (Tennessee Highway 60), on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is located at the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park. Marker is in this post office area: Birchwood TN 37308, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "To Learn and not Forget" (here, next to this marker); "Orders No. 25" (here, next to this marker); General Winfield Scott (here, next to this marker); "Your Fate is Decided" (here, next to this marker); "Chains of Friendship" (here, next to this marker); "Given by the Great Spirit above" (here, next to this marker); "A Desire to Possess" (here, next to this marker); "Not a treaty at all" (here, next to this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Birchwood.
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicEducationNative AmericansWars, US Indian
Sequoyah The Cherokee Cadmus image. Click for full size.
By G. A. W.
3. Sequoyah The Cherokee Cadmus
This illustration, “Sequoyah The Cherokee Cadmus” signed by G.A.W. appeared in Kate Dickinson Sweetser's 1913 Book of Indian Braves. (Internet Archive)
Cherokee Syllabary Marker image. Click for full size.
By Lee Hattabaugh, January 2, 2011
4. Cherokee Syllabary Marker
On the right in this view.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama. This page has been viewed 479 times since then and 47 times this year. Last updated on , by J. Makali Bruton of San Salvador, El Salvador. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama.   3. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   4. submitted on , by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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