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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DUKES, Joseph, missionary, born in what is now the state of Mississippi in 1811. His parents were half-breed Choctaw Indians, and Joseph was born in the Choctaw nation. At the age of ten he was placed in one of the large mission schools at Mayhew. After the sale of the Choctaw lands to the United States, Mr. Dukes remained several years in Mississippi, assisting Rev. Cyrus Byington in the preparation of a grammar and lexicon of the Choctaw language. He afterward removed to the new country west of Arkansas, continuing to give his services gratuitously as an interpreter, was chosen an elder in one of the Churches, and was licensed to preach by the presbytery in 1853. He was an excellent preacher in the Choctaw language, and was highly esteemed by the missionaries. He also served as captain, or "head man" of the tribe, translated the Choctaw laws, was some time judge of the Supreme Court, repeatedly chosen a member of the general council, and acted for five years as a trustee of the public schools. While employed by the Rev. A. Wright as assistant translator, he made the first draft of most of the nine Epistles, the book of Revelation, and the Old Testament as far as the Psalms, besides aiding generally in the work of revision and correction.
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