Finding Aid: Sequoyah Papers

Institution: Thomas Gilcrease Library and Archive
Language of Material: English
Description: 13 items
Period covered: 1835 - 1860
Collection summary derived from "Guidebook to Manuscripts", 1969: Very little manuscript material remains concerning Sequoyah, also known as George Guess, (circa 1760-1843). These items consist of clippings from newspapers, excerpts from periodicals, photostats, and some material written in the syllabary, part of which has been translated into English by Levi Gritts. One photostatic letter signed by John Ross and John Drew attests that Sally Guess is the "only surviving widow of George Guess." It is dated May 1,1860, Washington, D. C.
Important items: Four handwritten copies of the syllabary, three of them being in the hand of Sequoyah, are included in this collection. Dr. Jack Frederick Kilpatrick identified them, and all three have Sequoyah's signature (in the syllabary) at the right hand bottom corner. One of the three has a penciled note signed by “J. H. P." (John Howard Payne). An 1830 broadside has a note in the Reverend Samuel Worcester's hand signed with his initials, explaining the sounds of certain characters in the syllabary.

Background: Staff, interns, and volunteers of the Thomas Gilcrease Library and Archive have contributed to the organization and maintenance of the files since the collection passed to the City of Tulsa in the 1950s. The Gilcrease Foundation acquired these materials before 1964 and is housed in the Helmerich Center for American Research (HCAR). The library currently receives most materials through community donation, board members, artists and the acquisition of manuscript collections.

Restrictions: Please, contact the Rights and Reproduction Department for information on publishing or reproducing materials included in these records. Permission will be granted by the Gilcrease Museum as the owner of the physical materials, and does not imply permission from the copyright holder. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all necessary permissions from the copyright holder.
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Availability: This collection is open for use by appointment only at the Helmerich Center for American Research (HCAR). Contact the Library at 918-631-6441 or renee-harvey@utulsa.edu in advance to inquire if materials exist pertaining to your research interests.

Arrangement Title Description Date
Sequoyah, Folder 1 Seven lines written in both Cherokee phonetic and syllabary

Folder 1

1835
Sequoyah, Folder 2 Letter from P. M. Butler to T. Hartley Crawford

Photocopy of a letter from P.M. Butler of Columbia, South Carolina to Honorable T. Hartley Crawford. Enclosed extract of letter from M. Duval on August 8th, from Fort Gibson concerning arrival of Kee Chie [Kee Chi] Band, reporting George Guess and son in poverty on Red River. Also, requesting permission for Captain John Drew to bring him back to the Nation.
Folder 2

September 12, 1844
Letter from M. Duval concerning Kee Chie Band, George Guess, and John Drew

Photocopy of letter form M. Duval (referenced in letter from P. M. Butler to T. Hartley Crawford) concerning arrival of Kee Chie [Kee Chi] Band, reporting George Guess [Sequoyah] and son in poverty on Red River, requesting permission for John Drew to bring them back to the Nation
Folder 2.

September 12, 1844
Sequoyah, Folder 3 Letter from Oo-no-leh to P. M. Butler concerning death of Sequoyah

Photostat of pages concerning the death of Sequoyah: Letter from Oo-no-leh (who went to find Sequoyah) to P.M. Butler, Cherokee Agent. Letter in English. (Typescript of Oo-no-leh letter included).
Folder 3

May 15, 1845
Letter from P. M. Butler to T. Hartley Crawford forwarding Oo-no-leh's report of Sequoyah's death

Photostat of letter from P.M. Butler to T. Hartley Crawford forwarding Oo-no-leh's letters concerning Sequoyah's death.
Folder 3

May 15, 1845
Letter in Cherokee syllabary from Oo-no-leh to P. M. Butler concerning Sequoyah's death

Photostat and photograph of letter from Oo-no-leh's to P. M. Butler in Cherokee Syllabary concerning the death of Sequoyah.
Folder 3

May 15, 1845
Sequoyah, Folder 4 Affidavit of John Ross and John Drew stating Sally Guess is widow of George Guess (Sequoyah)

Two photocopies of affidavit of John Ross and John Drew stating Sally Guess is only surviving widow of George Guess.
Folder 4

May 1, 1860
Affidavit of Sally Guess, widow of Sequoyah, given before George Butler, Oonachinsa, and Archibald Campbell

Two Photostats of affidavit of Sally Guess, widow of George Guess (Sequoyah), given before George Butler, U.S. Agent, and Oonachinsa and Archibald Campbell, for purpose of obtaining bounty land under Act of March 3, 1855, based on husband's military service in Creek War of 1813-1814.
Folder 4

October 17, 1855
Record of George Guess' (Sequoyah) military service

Two photocopies of records of George Guess' (Sequoyah) military service under Captain John McLamore, Cherokee. October 7, 1812-January 6, 1813 and January 27, 1813 to April 11, 1814.
Folder 4

February 29, 1856
Sequoyah, Folder 5 Cherokee syllabary chart and Lord's Prayer in Cherokee syllabary

Photocopy of Cherokee syllabary chart, the Lord's Prayer in Cherokee syllabary with phonetic pronunciation and English translation (Broadside in New York Public Library).
Folder 5

20th century
Lord's Prayer in Cherokee syllabary with Cherokee phonetic and English translation

The Lord's Prayer in Cherokee syllabary with Cherokee phonetic pronunciation and English translation.
Folder 5

20th century
Sequoyah, Folder 6 Letter signed "Sequoyah" in English

Letter (no address) signed Sequoyah. Refers to "Fourteen years since we who are called Cherokee have learned to read."
Folder 6

mid-19th century
Sequoyah, Folder 7 Letter from Sequoyah to "Friend John" in English

Letter said to be by Sequoyah to "Friend John." Enclosed is the Cherokee Syllabary.
Folder 7

mid-19th century
Sequoyah, Folder 8 Document in Cherokee syllabary signed by Charles Thompson

Handwritten script in syllabary. Signature of Charles Thompson (Cherokee Chief 1875-1879).
Folder 8

late 19th century
Sequoyah, Folder 9 Document in Cherokee syllabary

Unsigned manuscript in Cherokee syllabary
Folder 9

19th century
Sequoyah, Folder 10 Document written in Cherokee syllabary

Unsigned manuscript in Cherokee syllabary
Folder 10

19th century
Sequoyah, Folder 11 Document written in Cherokee syllabary

Unsigned manuscript in Cherokee syllabary
Folder 11

19th century
Handwritten biography of Sequoyah with transcription by Levi Gritts

Longhand biography of Sequoyah with transcription by Levi Gritts.
Folder 11

mid-20th century