Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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GUESS, George, or SEQUOYAH, a Cherokee half-breed, inventor of the Cherokee alphabet, born about 1770; died in San Fernando, northern Mexico, in August, 1843. He cultivated a small farm in the Cherokee country of Georgia, and was known as an ingenious silversmith, when, in 1826, he invented a syllabic alphabet of the language of his nation of eighty-five characters, each representing a single sound. This is probably the most perfect alphabet ever devised for any language. He used the characters that he found in an English spelling-book as far as they went, though he knew no language but his own. In 1828 a newspaper called the " Phoenix" was established, part of which was printed in Guess's alphabet, and it was also used in printing a part of the New Testament. Guess was not a Christian, and is said to have regretted his invention when he heard that it had been used for the latter purpose. He accompanied his tribe in their emigration beyond the Mississippi, and in 1842 went with other Indians to Mexico.
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