The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Sequoyah

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SEQUOYAH, sẹ-kwō'yä, or GEORGE GIST, or GUESS, Cherokee Indian inventor: b. about 1770; d. near San Fernandino, Northern Mexico, 1842. He exercised his ingenuity in numerous ways, — as silversmith, blacksmith, artist. In 1821 he completed the Cherokee alphabet, for which he received in 1823 a silver medal from the Cherokee general council. This alphabet was perfectly adapted to the peculiarities of the Cherokee tongue, which it expressed as the English alphabet never could. He borrowed many symbols from an English speller. His alphabet was quickly adopted, was very successful, and was employed by the missionaries and, in part, in printing a newspaper, The Phœnix. The giant Sequoia tree was named in his honor. Consult Foster, ‘Sequoyah, the American Cadmus and the Modern Moses’ (Ithaca, N. Y., 1885); Mooney, J., ‘Myths of the Cherokee’ in Annual Report, Bureau of American Ethnology, Vol. XIX (Washington 1902).