Sauta Village and Sequoyah's Cherokee Syllabary

Dublin Core


Sauta Village and Sequoyah's Cherokee Syllabary


Sauta, Jackson County, Native Americans, language, Sequoyah, George Guess, George Gist


Sauta was a small Cherokee village established about 1784 on the north side of the Tennessee River near its confluence with North Sauty Creek. The August 13, 1828, issue of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper includes a letter from an acquaintance of Sequoyah relating the story of Sequoyah's creation of the Cherokee syllabary. According to the story, several young men at Sauta were discussing their awe of white men's ability to pass language across vast distances via written words on paper. Sequoyah is said to have told the men that he could easily create a written language and his response was met with ridicule. Inspired by this event, Sequoyah completed the Cherokee syllabary. A similar story is recounted by Samuel Lorenzo Knapp from his 1828 interview of Sequoyah in Washington D.C. Many myths surround the life of Sequoyah and the creation of the Cherokee syllabary, but the timing and nature of these sources lend credence to this story.


Blake Wilhelm


Abram, Susan M. "Sequoyah." Encyclopedia of Alabama. May 21, 2009; [accessed August 11, 2016]

Chambless, Ann B. "Early Cherokee Village of Sauta." Jackson County Chronicles 20, no. 1 (January 2008): 6.

Chambless, Ann B. "Sequoyah." Jackson County Chronicles 25, no. 4 (October 2013): 3-6.

G.C. "Invention of the Cherokee Alphabet." Cherokee Phoenix 1, no. 24 (August 13, 1828): 2, col. 1a-2a.

Foreman, Grant. Sequoyah. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2012.

Street, O.D. "Cherokee Towns and Villages." Publications of the Alabama Historical Society, Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 1. Montgomery, AL, 1901.


Northeast Alabama Community College Archives and Special Collections


established c. 1784


Print by McKenney and Hall from Birmingham Public Library Tutwiler Collection of Southern History and Literature


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