Cherokee Public School System Established

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Prior to 1842 the educational interests of the Cherokees was in the hands of the missionaries of the Moravian, Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregational and Baptist Churches. The United Brethren or Moravians commenced their missionary’ work among the Cherokees at Spring Place in Georgia in l801. The American Board of Foreign Mission, maintained by the Presbyterian and Congregational churches entered the field at Brainard in 18I7. The Baptists commenced their labors in the western part of North Carolina, during the same year but soon allowed their work to lapse until 1820 in which year Valley Town Mission was founded. In 1824 the Methodists established their first mission in the Cherokee country. Some of the Cherokees most probably attended schools in neighboring provinces and states prior to 1800. Notably, Charles Hicks, a half breed, who as early as 1808 was known to have had a splendid education.”

The idea of public and higher schools for the Cherokees was advocated and provided for by the treaty of 1835″. The Cherokee negotiators in this treaty were: John Ridge, Elias Boudinot, John West, Archilla Smith, Samuel W. Bell, William A. Davis and Ezekial West.

Section six, article nine of the Cherokee constitution of 18 59 is as follows: “Religion, morality and knowledge, being necessary to good government, the preservation of liberty and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education, shall forever be encouraged in this Nation.” Pursuant to that idea the council enunciated, “Be it enacted by the National Council, That all facilities and means for the promotion of education, by the establishment of schools, and the diffusion of general intelligence among the people shall be afforded by legislation, commensurate with the importance of such objects, and the extent and condition of the public finances; and all schools which may be, and are now in operation in this Nation, shall be subject to such supervision and control of the National Council as may be provided.

Section 2. Be it further enacted. Thai in future no missionary school or establishment shall be located or erected without permission first being obtained from the National Council for such purpose, and the place designated by law for the same, with such other general regulations as may be deemed necessary and proper, either as conducive to its particular usefulness or conformity to national rights and interest.

Section 3. Be it further enacted, That in furtherance of the design of this act, a committee of three persons shall be appointed by nomination of the Principal Chief to the National Committee, whose duty it shall be to mature and prepare a system of general education by schools, with such laws for its establishment and promotion as may be necessary; and to report the same to the Principal Chief before the next annual meeting of the National Council who shall submit such report with his views in relation thereto; said committee shall also visit all the schools in the Nation, examine the plan upon which they are taught, the improvement of pupils, and utility of each, and report such information to the Principal Chief, to be submitted before the National Council.

Tahlequah, 26th, Sept. 1839.
Approved – John Ross.

The time was later extended for another year. On October 2, 1839, the establishment of several missionary schools was authorized.

The interest on the invested school funds of the Cherokees as shown by various Annual Reports of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs, were: 1839, $2,606.90; 1860, $11,848.00; 1870, $29,460.04.

A Superintendent of Education and eleven public schools were provided for by an act of council on November 16, 1841. Two thousand two hundred fifty seven dollars and thirty cents was appropriated to meet the past expenditures for the year of 1842. At the same time five thousand eight hundred dollars was appropriated to support the schools for the year of 1843 and twenty two hundred dollars was set aside to defray the expenses of the orphans attending the public schools. The salary of public school teachers in 1843 was thirty dollars per month.

On December 23, 1843, council authorized the establishment of seven additional public schools, which brought the number up to: Delaware District, three; Saline, two; Going Snake, three; Tahlequah, two; Illinois, two, Canadian, one; Skin Bayou, two and Flint, three. The two school sessions were fixed at five months each, with a winter and summer vacation of one month each. The maximum teachers wage was forty dollars per month.^

In the year 1845 there were eighteen public schools in the Cherokee Nation:

Delaware District Pupils
Tahquoee 42
Honey Creek 47
Lebanon 34
Saline District
Spring Creek 35
Saline 32
Going Snake District
Locust Grove 27
Oak Grove 61
Evan Jones 31
Tahlequah District
Caney 43
Fourteen Mile Creek 21
Illinois District
Greenleaf 23
Vian 23
Canadian District
Webbers Falls 36
Skin Bayou District
Sweetwater 22
John Benge’s 29
Flint District
Honey Hill 57
James Bigby’s 37
Clear Springs 55    Orphans
655 121

                                Male

402 71

                                   Female

253 50

An additional public school was located at Muddy Springs in Flint District, one at Peavine on Barren Fork in Going Snake District and one in the Daniel neighborhood in Delaware District by act of council on November 18, 1845.’ By an act of November 26, 1845 the school on Fourteen Mile Creek was moved to Tahlequah,- where this first public school of Tahlequah was opened on March 2, 1846 with Mr. Caleb Covel as teacher.”‘ A subscription school had been opened in the town in June 1845 with Miss Nancy Hoyt, as teacher.” The Superintendent of Education was given authority in November 1846 to move schools that were insufficiently attended.”‘

Seven thousand five hundred dollars were appropriated to defray the expenses of the public schools for the years 1848 and six hundred dollars were appropriated to pay the expenses of orphans attending the public schools. Thirty dollars each was allowed for the board and clothing of orphans during the school term. The public school appropriation for 1849 was seven thousand and three hundred six hundred for the orphan fund. An examining board of three members to pass on the qualifications of teachers was created on November 2, 1849.

The public school appropriations for 1850, 1851 and 1852 were seven thousand dollars for each year, the orphan appropriation for 1850 was thirty six hundred dollars and thirty-five hundred for each of the two succeeding years.

The teachers of the several public schools of the Cherokee Nation on September 11, 1858 and August 30, 1859, were:

School Enrollment 1858 1859
Caney Creek 70 Mary Buffington Adair  Sarah E. Walker
Boots Chapel 67 Sarah Hicks Minnie E. Boynton
Pleasant Valley 50 S. S. Stephens S. J. Wolf
Post Oak Grove 60 Eliza M. Bushyhead James D. Alberty
Requa 47  Ben W. Trott Ben Wisner Carter
Delaware Town 41 Thomas W. McGhee Heman L. Foreman
Spavinaw Vale 46 Joseph Vann
Beatties Prairie 40 William H. Davis Moses C. Frye
Honey Creek 50 James I.. Thompson Sarah Ruth Mosley
Mount Claremore 30 Nannie Jane Rider Nannie Jane Rider
Baptist Mission 76 W. P. Upham W. P. Upham
Peavine 66 Esther Smith Esther Smith
Oak Grove 57 Lucinda M. Ross Lucinda M. Ross
Muddy Springs 50 Caroline E. Bushyhead Caroline E. Bushyhead
Sugar Valley 52 Martha J. Dameron Martha J. Dameron
Forest Hill 40 E. Jane Ross E. Jane Ross
Gunter’s Prairie 45 Victoria Susan Hicks Jane Bertholf
Sweet Springs 41 Sarah E. Walker Cynthia T. Frye
Sallisaw 48 Moses C. Frye Corinne E. Barnes
Green Leaf 46 Emma Lowrey Williams John G. Scrimsher
Canadian River 45 Eliza Holt
Briartown Victoria Susan Hicks
Clear Creek Elizabeth Letitia Bertholf
Vann’s Valley Eliza M. Bushyhead
Falls Creek Martha J. Keyes
Long Prairie Susan Ross
Echo Bend Nancy Thompson
Locust Vale George Harlan Starr
Lee’s Creek Nannie Holmes
Arkansas Bottom Hugh Montgomery Adair
Wild Horse Eliza Holt
Webbers, Falls Delia Mosley

Upon the reorganization of the Cherokee Nation after the civil war, thirty-two public schools were provided for. They were to commence on March 1, 1867. The locations were to be:

Delaware District: Delaware Town, Sequoyah’s New Place and Snell’s.

Saline District: Requa, Cul-car-law-skees and Little Spring Creek.

Going Snake District: Tyners, Rabbit Trap, Barren Fork and Baptist Mission.

Tahlequah District: Tahlequah, Caney and Killermore’s.

Illinois District: Fort Gibson, Seabolt’s and White Oak Spring.

Canadian District: Webber’s Falls, Brier Town and Jimmy Vann’s.

Sequoyah District: Joseph Goody’s, Lee’s Creek and the Court House.

Flint District: Clear Spring, John Glass’ and Alexander Scott’s.

Cooweescoowee District: Lacey Hawkens on Grand River, John Hatchett’s and on Dog Creek.

Two Negro schools to be located by the Superintendent of Education.

Five orphans may be maintained and educated at each of these thirty-two schools at a cost of thirty dollars each per term for board and clothing. The terms shall be from the first Monday in March to until July l5th and from the first Monday in September until the last Friday in January.” The Cherokee Nation always maintained free text books and accessories. The schoolhouses were built at the expense of the community and each school had a local board of three directors.

The school previously located at White Springs near Lacey Hawkins’ was removed by council in the spring of 1869 to West Point “near the mouth of Dog Creek.”‘ By act of November 29, 1869 fourteen thousand eight hundred dollars were appropriated to pay the public school teachers and four thousand twenty dollars as the orphan allowance. The school was removed from the Moravian Mission to Oak Grove in Going Snake District. A school was established at Vian Camp Ground near Joseph Duval’s in Illinois District, at Captain Nathaniel Fish’s in Tahlequah District, at Contention Spring in Del-aware, near Ellis Sanders’ in Sequoyah, near Delaware Miller’s in Cooweescoowee and a Negro school in Fort Gibson.’ Ten more schools were provided for on December 10, 1869: Muddy Springs in Flint, Richard Benge’s in Illinois on Illinois-Sequoyah line. Falling Pot’s in Saline, Black Jack Grove in Canadian, John Rattlinggourd’s in Illinois, Peggy Woodall’s in Tahlequah, Dick Old Field’s in Delaware, Wilson Sittingdown’s in Sequoyah and near George Whitmire’s in Going Snake. The two Negro schools located by the Superintendent of Education in March 1869 were at Tahlequah and on Fourteen Mile Creek in Tahlequah District.

There were fifty-nine schools in 1871, sixty in 1873 and seventy-five in 1877. The number and efficiency of the public schools gradually grew until there were over one hundred and twenty at the dissolution of the Cherokee Nation. The progress of the Cherokees was due to their excessive pride in their schools, which were never allowed to be under the supervision in any way of the educational authorities of the United States and none of their schools were ever visited by officers or agents of the department of education at Washington, until after June 30, 1898.

Superintendents of Education of the Cherokee Nation.

1841. Rev. Stephen Foreman.

1843. David Carter.

1845. James Madison Payne.

1847. Walter Scott Adair.

1849. Walter Scott Adair.

1851. Rev. Walter Adair Duncan.

1853. Henry Dobson Reese.

1855. Henry Dobson Reese.

1857. Henry Dobson Reese.

1859. Charles Holt Campbell.

1 867. Spencer S. Stephens.

1869. Spencer S. Stephens.

1871. Oliver Hazard Perry Brewer.

Boards of Education of the Cherokee Nation.

1873. Spencer S. Stephens.
Rev. Leonidas Dobson.
George S. Mason.

1875. John Ross Vann
Allison Woodville Timberlake.
William Henry Davis.

Superintendents of Education.

1876. December 9, Oliver Hazard Perry Brewer.

Boards of Education.

1877. November 26, William Potter Ross.
John Lynch Adair, suspended September l0, 1879.
William Henry Davis.

1878. November 25, Lucien Burr Bell.

1879. September l5, Henry Dobson Reese, appointed, vice John L. Adair.

1879. November 3, John Albion Spears, elected, vice John L. Adair.
1879. November 14, John Lynch Adair, reinstated by Council.
1879. November 21, George Wesley Choate, vice William Henry Davis.

1880. November 23, John Lynch Adair, resigned.
1880. November 23, John Albion Spears, elected vice John L. Adair.
1880. November 23, Allison Woodville Timberlake, vice
L. B. Bell.
Robert Latham Owen, appointed vice
G. W. Choate.
William Henry Davis, appointed vice
J. A. Spears.

1881. November. Oliver Hazard Perry Brewer, President, elected.
Robert Latham Owen, Secretary.
Lorenzo Delano Spears.

1882. December 5, Rev. Walter Adair Duncan, President.

1883. Thomas James Adair, Secretary.

1884. William Potter Ross.

1885. November 30, Martin Ross Brown.
William Henry Davis.
Lorenzo Delano Spears.

1886. Robert Taylor Hanks.

188. November, Timothy Brown Hitchcock.

1889. Eli H. Whitmire.

Superintendents of Education.

1890. November 3, Office created.

1890. November 8, William Wirt Hastings.

1891. November, Walter Hampton Jackson.

Boards of Education.

William Vann Carey, President.
Augustus Edward Ivey, Secretary.
Charles Oliver Fry.
William J. McKee.
John Elijah Butler, vice Carey.

1897. November 13, George Washington Mitchell.

1898. November 2, Mark Lee Paden.
1898. Rev. Walter Adair Duncan, President.
Connell Rogers, Secretary.
Rev. Joseph Franklin Thompson.

1898. November 18, Harvey Wirt Courtland Shelton.
Jefferson Thompson Parks.
James Franklin McCullough.
Thomas Carlile.
Theodore Perry.
Stand Watie Woodall, vice McCullough.
Darius Edwin Ward, vice Perry.

Oliver Hazard Ferry Brewer, President. Albert Sidney Wyly, Secretary. Samuel Frazier Parks, vice Carlile Miss Carlotta Archer, vice S. F. Parks.

The proposition for high schools for the Cherokees was proposed by the Cherokee negotiators of the treaty of December 25, 1835 but it was not until eleven years later that the tribe felt that they were in financial condition to commence the construction of the necessary buildings.

A year later full regulations were embraced in an act of Council for the establishment and conduct of the two schools.’ The Female Seminary was located three miles southeast and the Male Seminary one and one half miles southwest of Tahlequah. They were built of brick that was made near the site of each school. Built in a land of fine springs, neither building was located contiguous to a spring. The erection of the replicated buildings began in 1847, the cornerstone of the Female Seminary was laid by Chief Ross on June 21, 1847 and they were finished in 1850. The Male Seminary was opened on May 6, 185l and the Female Seminary on the following day.

“The seminaries, and in fact, all the schools of the Cherokee Nation, are supported by money, invested in United States registered stocks, from the sale of lands to the United States government. The interest alone of this investment is drawn and used for educational purposes. the boarders are charged a mere nominal sum as an addition to the school fund. The United States government renders no assistance to the Seminaries, Asylum or common schools of the Cherokee Nation, outside of paying interest on money borrowed from the Nation.””

The buildings were one hundred eighty-five feet long, one hundred nine feet wide, part two stories and part three stories in height.

Boarders paid at the rate of five dollars per month in advance, or forty-five dollars per school year. That sum paid for board, laundry, lodging, lights, fuel, textbooks and all necessary supplies, and the pupils had to furnish only their comforts, blankets, linen and toilet articles. Provision was made by the National Council for the acceptance, without any expense to them, of fifty pupils whose parents were not able to pay their tuition and board.’

“The Steward purchases all supplies, has the direction and management of the appropriations, collects all board bills and employs all assistance in the domestic department. The Domestic Superintendent has charge of the domestic affairs, secures clothing and supplies for the primaries and other duties. The Medical Superintendent is appointed by the National Council, gives medical and sanitary attention. The Matrons attend the sick, receive the clothing from the laundry, attend its mending and distribution.

Preparatory Department.

First year: Penmanship, Phonetics, Reading, Object Lessons, Grammar, Penmanship, Geography, Geography, Arithmetic.

Second Year: Penmanship, Reading, Object Lessons, Composition, Phonetics, Reading, Arithmetic, Geography.

Academic Department.

Third Year: Reading, Object Lessons, Composition Phonetics, Reading, Arithmetic, Geography,

History: U. S. History; Mathematics: Arithmetic, Algebra; Physical Geography, Physiology.

Sophomore – Ancient languages: Caesar, Anabasis; English: Rhetoric; History: English History; Mathematics: Algebra, Geometry; Chemistry, Natural Philosophy.

Junior – Ancient languages: Cicero, Ovid, Trucydides Modern languages: French, German; English: English literature, American literature; Mental Science: Political Economy, World Philosophy; Mathematics: Trigonometry, Analytical Geometry; Botany, Geology.

Senior – Ancient languages: Virgil, Livy, Homer; Modern languages: Moliere, Goethe; English: Criticism; Mental Science: Mental Philosophy, Logic; Mathematics: Surveying and Calculus; Astronomy, Zoology.

Daily Program

A.M. P.M.
Students rise 5:30 Recitations 2:00-4:00
In Study Hall 6:00-7:30 Military drill 4:15-4:45
Breakfast and detail 7:00-8:30 Supper 5:00
Chapel 8:30-9:00 Study hall 6:45-8:45
Recitations 9:00-12:00 First retiring bell 9:00
Noon 12:00-2:00 Second retiring bell 9:l5

Preparatory Department.

The course of study in this department embraces three years, and prepares students for the Seminary proper. The school is thoroughly graded. Object lessons, compositions, oral, written and other exercises calculated to develop the power of written and oral expression are given. Ideas of number, form, size and actual measurement precede the more complex arithmetical operations. Map drawing, the use of the excellent maps in the Seminaries and topical exercises render geography practical. The Principal of this department spends an hour each Saturday with the students, assisting them in selecting books from the library.

Seminary Proper.

The course of study embraces four years. The work in this institution is equal to that of the best institutions of the country. This school possesses many advantages over similar institutions, from the fact that teacher and students are together. Teachers instruct and direct, not only in the textbook studies but in general reading, in the use of reference books and library work a thing impossible when students have not libraries and books of reference in their homes or boarding houses. The usual degrees are conferred, upon the completion of courses of study.

Graduates of the Cherokee National Seminary, February 1855.

Mary Buffington Adair,
Dr. Walter Thompson Adair.
Caroline Elizabeth Bushyhead,
William Robert Quarks.
Charlotte Candy,
William Fields.
Martha Candy,
Joel Bryan Mayes.
Eliza Forester,
Benjamin W. Trott.
Catherine Hastings,
Jenkins Whitesides Maxfield.
Lucy Lowrey Hoyt,
Monroe Calvin Keys.
Amanda McCoy,
Daniel Bushyhead.
Nannie Patrick,
James R. Gourd.
Nannie Rider,
Daniel Ross Hicks.
Sallie Rider,
Samuel King Riley.
Martha Wilson,
Reverend Walter Adair Duncan.

February 1856
Mary Ellen Adair,
Eliza Missouri Bushyhead,
Elizabeth Annie Duncan,
Victoria Susan Hicks,
Nannie Holmes,
Martha McNair,
Margaret Lavinia Rogers,
Lucinda M. Ross,
Alabama Elizabeth Scrimsher,
Martha Nannie Thompson,
Mary Delilah Vann,
Sallie Josephine Vaught,
Martha Whiting,
Emma Lowrey Williams,
Rev. Joseph Franklin Thompson.
David R. Vann and
Bluford West Alberty.
Isaac Brown Hitchcock.
DeWitt Clinton Lipe.
George Washington Benge.
Joel Bryan Mayes.
Allison Woodville Timberlake.
Charles Renatus Hicks.
John Lafayette Adair
Dennis Wolf Bushyhead.
John Ticanooly Adair
Augustus Van Edmondson.
George Drew
Joel Bryan Mayes.
George Washington Nave.
Fox.
George Washington Gunter.

“Cousin Vic.”
The time is approaching near
When we shall bid adieu;
To teacher and companions dear,
And breathe the lonely word, adieu.
Many friends we’ve here found.
Within these favored walls
And sad will be the sound.
When we say farewell, to all.
But may we in friendship, dwell united.
And our lives be love
And meet when hopes are not blighted,
In that happy land above.

Your affectionate cousin.
Lucinda M. Ross

Female Seminary
January 17, 1856.” “For Victoria Hicks. The Future.

The past with all its joys and sorrows is gone, with it alone fond memory can converse. The present is busy working its many changes. Yet ’tis to the future that these thoughts will most naturally fly, we involuntarily look, there for our greatest pleasure, profit and happiness. Hope comes with her train of fair images and leads us through rich scenes of rapture and delight. And indeed life would be dull, void and bereft of every pleasure, unless there was a plan marked out in the future to fill our bosoms with zeal, and stimulate us to action. But since our human life hangs over accident and misfortune, and since the future must know us ever, the great question is, how shall we meet it, all doubtfully mixed with its pleasures, its delights, its cares and its dangers.

Then, I would say to meet it calmly, and boldly and with a pleasure. Venture not upon it with your own understanding as a guide; peril not such great interests to the dictation of your own reason, but take as a buckler and shield, the wise counsel of Him who marks all changes. In order that the future shall ever find you glorifying in triumph.

Your friend,
Joel B. Mayes.


Male Seminary, C. N.
January 29, 1856.”

“Life
We can not tell what happiness
What might on earth possess
If in singleness of heart
We would strive to act a proper part.
‘Tis true we see the effects of sin
All without and all within.
We long may live a life in vain,
Much good possess, but still complain.
We may appear to other eyes.
To be extremely rich and wise;
But if our hearts are not right.
Life will not be beautiful and bright.
Oh! may our life, day by day,
In love and duty pass away;
And at last when our bodies die,
We may live in that world above the sky;
Where free from sin, death and pain,
The good will meet and love again.

Emma (Lowrey Williams.)

Cherokee Seminary
November 4th, 1855.”


January 27, 1879.
Isabel Cobbb
Tennessee Vann Steele,
Robert Colburn Fuller.

June 27, 1879.
Anna Cora Archer,
William Ross Shackelford.
Fannie Blythe,
Lemuel Walker Marks.
Elizabeth Dougherty,
Ellis Buffington Wright.

July 2, 1880.
Caroline V. Armstrong,
Frank M. Overlees.
Nannie Catherine Daniel,
Richard Lafayette Fite,
Lillie Maxfield,
Claude Hanks McDaniel.
Sallie Clementine
Rogers, John.
Thomas McSpadden.
Sarah Stapler Ross,
Samuel Houston Adair.
Margaret Hicks Stapler,
Jeanette Starr,
Frances Alexander Billingslea.

June 30, 1881.
Ella Adair,
DeWitt Clinton Wilson.
Eleanor Margaret Boudinot,
John Henry Nave.
Martha Cobb,
Clement George Clarke.
Joanna Coody Rogers,
John Calhoun Duncan.

June 28, 1883.
Carlotta Archer
Emma Breedlnve.
Mae Washburn,
John Carlton Anderson

June 28, 1884.
Mary Ann Elizabeth, Duncan,
Harvey Wirt Courtland Shelton.

June 25, 1885.
Oregonia Bell,
Spratt Scott,
Florence Anna Caleb,
Henry Benton Smith.
Martha Fields,
Dr. Philip Donahoo.

May 13, 1886.
Mary Jett Norman,
Dr. George Albert McBride.

The Female Seminary was totally destroyed by fire on Sunday, April 10, 1887. The erection of the new seminary building in the north part of Tahlequah began on November 3, 1887. It was finished on April 18, 1889 and dedicated on Tuesday, May 5, 1889.

June 28, 1888.
Rachel Caroline Eaton,
James Alexander Burns.
Elizabeth Bushyhead McNair,
Addie Roche Ross.
William Henry Norrid.

June 28, 1890.
Charlotte Delilah Hastings
Samuel Grant Victor.
Elizabeth Clyde Morris,
William Presley Thompson.
Gulielma Ross,
James Sanford Davenport.

June 23, 1892.
Sarah Jane Adair,
James Augustus Lawrence,
Martha Anna Mayes,
Edwin Mooring Pointer,
Florence Wilson McSpadden,
Philip Wharton Samuel.

June 29, 1893.
Martha Eulalia Miller,
Jackson H. Merchant.
Lulu Mayfield Starr,
Janana Thompson,
William Wirt Hastings
William Penn Phillips

June 28, 1894
Lulu Dale Duckworth,
Mary Llewellyn Morgan,
Julia Anna Phillips,
Georgia Ella Prather,
Walter I. Jones.
William Lucullus Mayes,
James Turner Edmondson,
Lee S. Robinson.

June 27, 1895
Caroline Blair,
Josephine Crittenden,
Sarah Lulu Foreman,
Flora Sabrina Lindsey,
Cora Archer McNair,
Susie Phillips,
Richard Henry Smith.
William Robert Sartain.
John Gunter Lipe.
Charles Colston Watts,
William Buffington Wyly.
Ernest Vivian Scrimsher.

June 26, 1896
Janana Ballard.

June 25, 1897
Anna Ballard,
Crawford Conner.
William Pugh Cunningham.
Martha Pauline Eaton,
Cherokee Vashti Edmondson,
Robert Bruce Garrett.
Beuna Vista Harris,
James Herbert Moore.
Cora Archer Musgrove,
Bascom Porum Rasmus.
Gertrude Whitman Rogers,
Dr. George Shimoon
Dora Olive Ward,
James Mooring York,

June 1, 1898
Lena Carlile,
David Jesse Faulkner.
Jennie McClellan Foreman.
Gilbert Thompson Loux
Pixie Alberty Mayes,
Abraham Vandyke Robinson,
Juliette Melvina Scrimsher,
Dr. C. W. Vowell.
Lura Ward

June 29, 1899
Cherokee Cornelia Adair,
Everett Virgil Allen
Lucinda Ballard,
Ella Mae Covel
Alice French
Walter Ellis Duncan.
Nellie May Duncan,
William Lee Harlan.
Robert Lee Huggins.
Lulu Belle James,
Preston Majors.
Junius Brutus Moore.
Grace Phillips,
Fannie Vann Ross,
Eldee Starr
Mamie Star
Mineola Ward,
Eugene Nixon Williamson.

May 25, 1900
Josephine Barker,
Mollie Lipe Blackstone,
Belle Cunningham,
Eugenia Catherine Eubanks
Dr. Robert Lee Mitchell.
Edward Knippenberger.
Thomas Oscar Graham.
Walter Maecenas Charlesworth.

May 25, 1900

Mary Elizabeth Gulager,
Bettina Lucile McIntosh,
Jennie Fields Ross,
Aneliza Eulalia Sevier.
George Houston.
Jesse Clifton Cobb.
Edward Foreman Blackstone.

May 30, 1901
Minnie Benge,
Mary Garrett,
Rosanna Harnage,
Josephine Landrum Howard,
Mary Jane McSpadden,
Juliette Taylor Smith.
Lelia Alice Maitland Thornton,
Sid Campbell.
Frederick McDaniel.
Andrew Jackson Rogers.
Thomas R. Crookshank.
G. S. Mac Key

May 29, 1902
Sarah Eleanor Ballard,
Golda Barker.
Beulah Benton Edniondson,
Bertha Lillian Faulkner,
Mary Angeline Rider,
Elizabeth Vann Ross,
Susie Ray Sevier,
Dora Anna Starr,
Clara Estella Tyler,
Genobia Anna Ward,
Lola Llewellyn Ward,
Roy Woods.
Charles V. Knight.
Richard Croker.
Charles Clarence Starr.
Alfred A. Campbell.
Carl Mills.
Lawrence McAllister.
Ewing Markham.
Frank Selman.
Allen Douthitt,
John Black Tinnin

June 9, 1903
Laura Effie Duckworth,
Victoria Lipe Foreman,
Caroline Bertha Freeman,
Allie Rhea Garrett,
Janie Stapler Hicks,
Rosa Gazelle Lane.
Virginia Lee Lindsey.
Caroline Quarles McNair,
Elizabeth Peach McSpadden,
Maude Hoyt McSpadden,
Elizabeth Adair Morgan,
Llewellyn Hopewell Morgan,
Sallie Pauline Parris,
Susie Vivian Scott,
Grace Raper Wallace,
Leola Fay Ward,
Guy Boatright.
James Stephenson Kennedy.
Garland Baird.
Dr. John Chisholm Breedlove.
John Griffith Harnage.
James Walker McSpadden.
Jesse Bartley Milam.
Woodley Gail Phillips.
Samuel P. Mathews.
William Everett Foreman.
Rhoderick Dhu Richards.
William Newton.

June 3, 1904
Lulu Elizabeth Alberty,
Frances Bushyhead.
Eunice Marie Chamberlin,
Clara M. Couch,
John Woodson Conner.
James Knox Gibson.
Frank Edward Nix.

June 3, 1904
Joseph Alice Crutchfield,
Roxie Cunningham,
Stella Marie Ghormley,
Mary Hampton,
Elizabeth Covel Keys,
Nellie Blackwell Meek,
Amanda Payne Morgan,
Phoeba Montana Rider,
Joseph Oscar Dale.
Dr. Edward B. Reed.
Charles Kay. Eugene
Willard Tiger.
Emerson Elliott.
Frank Rolla Bell.
Jesse Albert Barbre.

June 1, 1905
Lola Garrett,
Caroline Elizabeth Ghormley,
Mary Holand
Sallie Jennings,
Mamie Butler Johnson,
Mary Anna Martin,
Ethel Martin,
Maude Rosamond Meigs,
Sallie Mayo Morgan,
Anna Belle Price,
Janie Stapler Ross.
Ethel Corinne Scales,
Anna Elizabeth Skidmore,
Martha Wallace,
Ephriam Monroe Bowers.
Johnson Harris.
Ernest Trenary.
Marion Gibson.
Dr. Francis M. Adams.
Timothy Meigs Walker.
Henry Pierson.
Eustace Adolphus Hill.
Vail Kimsey.
John Casper Lipe.
William Penn Adair.
Charles Inglish.
Andrew Johnson McDaniel.
Miles C. Chastain

May 31, 1906
Annie May Balentine,
Ruth Ballard,
Ella Jay Chandler,
Mary Ada Condray
Mary Louise Crafton,
Bird Adair Dameron.
Fannie Adair Danenburg,
Dora Early,
Penelope Adair Faulkner,
Bertha Elizabeth Frellick,
Fannie Etta Holland,
Clyde Horn,
Josephine Meigs,
Ara Ellen Ross,
Charlotte Elizabeth Spears,
Caroline Lucinda Starr,
EdithLyle Stover,
Joy Lorraine Washburn,
William Potter Ross.
Hardy Frank Fleming.
William Edmonds.
Emmett Barker.
Daniel Baker.
George Pierce Cantrell.
Bancroft C. Kress.
Newell Tucker.
Eugene Gilbert.
Colonel E. Mayes.
Dr. Ulyssus Grant Hall.
Edmond Brigham Arnold.
James K. Blake.
Franklin Gritts Milligan.
George Guinn.
James Robert Wyly.
Edwin Bentley Hunt.
E. P. McCartney.

May 29, 1907
Lelia Eaton.
Olive Estelle Edmondson,
Allie Johnson
Vera Jones.
May McSpadden,
Cicero Johnson Howard.
Charles Walton Poole.

May 29, 1907
Zoe McSpadden,
Nola Alice Monroe.
Earl Preston Whitehill.
Ward C. Crawford
Frederick Oyler

May 27, 1908
Catherine Crafton,
Lucile Freeman,
Addie Gravitt
Alice Lynd Gravitt.
Frances Jane Lindsey,
Ida Lois Lindsey,
Ada Painter,
Bertha Reed,
Ida Whetzell,
Kline Jordan.
Roy Bearman.
Joseph Daniel Hicks.
Jarrette Bell Harlan.
E. B. Bell
________ Perkins.
Grover Tinnin.

May 27, 1909
Gladys Mildred Anderson
Sallie Martha Bledsoe,
Narcissa Brown,
Electa Crittenden.
Minnie Berkely Feland,
Anna Victoria Hanes,
Clara Elizabeth Melton,
Ella Quatie Richards,
Anna Laura Turner,
Lena Norene Ward,
L. C. Freeman.
James Edward Wells.
Frederick McKinney.
E. Dickerson.
Marcus Grover Cox.
Frederick Albert Dedman.
Homer F. Gilliland.
Joseph Tryon Attenberry.

The Female Seminary building, which is two hundred and ninety two feet in length and three stories high, was sold to the state of Oklahoma.

Graduates from the Cherokee National Male Seminary.

February 1855.
Charles Holt Campbell,
Lucy Lowrey.
Jonathan Riley,
Mary Jack nee Gunter.
Joshua Ross,
Muskogee Yargee.
Ready Taylor
David Lucullus Vann

February 1856.
William W. Campbell
Pauline Holt,
Nannie Holt,
Emetine Stegall nee McKnight
Eliza Lowrey.
Celeste Stidham.
William Henry Davis,
Jeremiah Everett Foreman.
Moses C. Frye.
Joel Bryan Mayes,
Martha McNair,
Martha Candy
Mary Delilah Drew nee Vann.

October 1856.
Benjamin Wisner Carter,
Nannie Elliott
Serena Guy.
Spencer Seago Stephens,
Sarah Hicks.
Allison Woodville Timberlake,
Margaret Lavinia Rogers.

The Male Seminary was closed on October 20, 1856 on account of lack of funds. The Female Seminary was also closed at the end of the regular fall term. Neither of these schools were opened again until after the civil war.

1882
Harvey Wirt Courtland Shelton,
George Andrew Williams,
Mary Anna Elizabeth Duncan.
Cora Gregg nee Hogg

June 26, 1884
William Wirt Hastings,
Jefferson Thompson Parks,
William Presley Thompson,
Lulu Mayfield Starr,
Ruth Etta Duncan,
Elizabeth Clyde Morris

June 15, 1885
William Henry Clark,
James William Duncan,
William Elliott,
Walter Adair Frye,
Jesse Stephen Lamar,
Samuel W. Mills,
Lilla Flournoy,
Lucinda Buffington.
Eliza Jane Blair.
Emma Dale Simms.

May 14, 1886
Thomas Brewer French,
Walter Hampton Jackson,
Samuel Houston Mayes,
Paul Rogers,
Lewis Wolf Ross,
Henry Benton Smith,
Archibald Spears,
John Shepherd Thornton,
Thomas William Triplett,
Charles Edward Vann,
John Rogers Hastings,
Delilah Nave.
Cherokee Brewer.
Florence Nicodemus.
Mary French.
Florence Anna Caleb.
Caroline Mary Boudinot.
Cynthia Pettit.
Elizabeth Bushyhead.
Ada Raymond.
Elizabeth Victoria Shelton

June 30, 1887
Jesse Crary Bushyhead,
Stand Watie Mayfield,
Mark Lee Paden,
Robert Parris,
Lewis Right,
John Otto Rogers,
Charles McClellan Ross,
Elizur Butler Sanders,
Simon Ross Walkingstick,
John R. Welch,
Walter Duncan West,
Fay Ione Reynolds.
Amanda Caroline Thompson.
Mary Louvinia Starr
Sarah Nix
Edith LaRue.
Cora Archer Hicks.
Tommie Scruggs
Susie Morris
Elizabeth Downing.
Rebecca Osborn
Leona Scraper

June 30, 1888
James Austin Clark.
Walter Tolbert Duncan,
John Thomas Johnson.
Andrew Jackson Martin,
James Lee Mills
James Carroll
James Tandy Musgrove
Phillips Ross
Emmet Starr.
Charles Lawrence Saunders.
Anna Stein.
Anna Belle
Morrow. Ward.
Zena Pace.

June 27, 1889
William Arnold,
David M. Ingram
John Melvin Lisenbe
Snake Lewis Miller,
Minnie L. Ballard

December 21, 1890
William Wallace Ross,
John Caleb Starr,
Albert Sidney Wyley
Mary Henrietta Moore.
Libbie Belle Zimmerman.
Lillian Alexander

June 23, 1892
George McLaughlin Hughes
Richard Napoleon Wallace,
Charles Worcester Willey,
Addie Boudinot nee Foreman.
Mary Forbes.
Janana Sanders

June 26, 1894
Daniel Edmond Danenburg,
James Turner Edmondson
Samuel Frazier Parks
Rufus Daniel Ross,
Ruth Meacham.
Julia Phillips.
Alberta Cora Markham,
Tooka Sixkiller
Samantha Parris

June 23, 1895
James Frank McCullough,
Robert Lee Mitchell,
Martha Hampton
Josephine Barker

June 24, 1896
George Alexander Cox,
Joseph Rasmus Danenburg.
George Tolliver Hampton,
Landrum Crittenden Jennings,
Joseph Johnson Lynch,
Edward Butler Smith,
Stand Watie Woodall
Pearl Hampton.
Fannie Josephine Carr.
Janana Benge.
Georgia Vann. Ella Pratt.
Madge Paden

June 25, 1987
Royal Roger Eubanks,
William Charles Ghormley,
Clifford Rogers
Martha Lelia Morgan
Bessie McCurry
Elizabeth Foreman

June 28, 1898
John Edgar Buffington,
James Price Evans,
Robert Wyly Fields.
Joseph Foreman Gladney,
Albert Blunt James,
Richard Vance McSpadden,
Thomas Asbury Scott,
Homer Lafayette Smith,
Nathaniel DeWitt Smith,
Pearl Gillisple
Mary Jane Dodson.
Lucinda Miller.
Ermina Essie Foreman.
Daisy Belle Miller.
Alice Velinda Flournoy.
Lucy Martin

June 30, 1899
Edward Foreman Blackstone,
Henry Adair Dameron,
Aneliza Eulalia Sevier.
Zona Lanyon.

June 30, 1899
John Meirit Eaton,
John Casper Lipe,
Gilbert Stephen Thompson.
Mary Bond.
Anna Belle Price.

May 24, 1900
James Milner Crutchfield,
William Richard Harris
DeWitt Clinton Lipe
John J. Lovett
Ida Lowrey Bell.
Margaret Loretta Cookson

May 31, 1901
John Walter Adair.
William Henry Balentine
Walter Maecenas Charlesworth,
Robert Bruce Garrett,
Walter Duncan Smith
Olive Antoine.
Eugenia Catherine Eubanks.
Cherokee Vashti Edmondson.

May 28, 1902
Francis William Caywood.
George Washington Fields
William Clyde Freeman,
George Owen Grant,
Dennis Bushyhead McNair.
Charles Scott Monroe
William Taylor Scott.
Jennie Lula Glass.
Clara Lowrey.
Lilian May Cunningham.
Elizabeth Terrell.

My 28, 1902
Claude Eugene Duncan,
James Bascom Johnson”,
Claude Stephen Mitchell,
Rhoderick Dhu Richards,
James S. Sanders
Eugene Willard Tiger.
Allie Marian Shelton.
Fern Hogue.
Grace Raper Wallace.
Minnie Holland.
Mary Hampton

June 2, 1904
William Houston Ballard,
Andreas Newton Leerskov,
Houston Bartow Fite
William Daniel Freeman.
William Richard Holland,
William Adair McClellan,
Clarence Bluford Markham,
Felix Hurd Mayes
Charles P. Pettit
Wilson Nivens Smith
Samuel Jesse Starr
James Oliver Ward.
Anna Buchanan
Saphronia Carr nee Butler.
Eril Webb.
Minnie Buckner.
Catherine Oldham.
Nellie Whitmire.

June 2, 1905
Jarrette Bell Harlan
John Delancy Gulager,
Joseph Alexander Patterson,
Ida Lois Lindsey.
Ione Cranston.

May 31, 1906.

Elmer E. Fields.
Allen Boudinot Foster,
Aurolla Upcluirch.
James B. Markham,
Blanche Bruce.
Henry H. Wood
Winifred Scott.

May 29, 1907.
Andrew Jackson Brown,
Nola LeFlore.
Gunter Duckworth,
Pauline Kaho.
Austin Grant Reagan,
Grace Wade.
Martin Benge Teehee,
George Marion Tyner,
Ethel Marshall.

May 27, 1908.
John Alvis Alberty,
Bessie M. Atkins.
Perry Ashbrook Foreman.
Joseph William Garrett.
Andrew Denney Lane,
Odeyne Henry.
George Clyde Whitmire.
Fannie Dudley.

May 28, 1909.
Leroy A. Byrd
Andrew G. Tiffany
Francis Edmond Chouteau.
John Grover Scales,
Ctaherine Whitley.

The Cherokee National Male and Female Seminaries were combined in September 1909 and on March 20, 1910 the Male Seminary building was burned and the senior class for that year had their graduation exercises at the Northeastern State Normal on May 31, 1910. They were:

Elizabeth Dee Bailey,
Augustus Chouteau,
Lorena Allen Bean,
William Francis Graham.
Oliver Maurice Haynes,
Rachel Crouch.
Thomas Herbert McSpadden,
Susie Lowrey Martin,
Robert Walker.
Lee Roy Mitchell
Ruth Foreman.
Grace Reid,
Troy Arrington.

The sum of twenty two hundred dollars was appropriated by the council on December 23, 1842 for the board and clothing of orphan children attending the several public schools of the Cherokee Nation^. Most of these children were cared for by relatives or adopted into families where they were generally treated as the children of the household. The maximum amount fixed for board was one dollar per week- and on December 4, 1845 the amount of thirty dollars per annum was fixed as a just compensation for the board and clothing of an orphan, during which time they must attend the regular sessions of the public schools.

This approximation was accepted as equitable and fair until January 26, 1872. Soon after this date the orphan asylum was opened in the Male Seminary building. The establishment of an orphan home school was first considered by an act of Council on December 19, 1842 but on account of lack of necessary funds the subject was dismissed until November 3, 1848 when a committee consisting of the Superintendent of Schools, Richard Taylor and Rev. Stephen Foreman were empowered to negotiate with the authorities of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South for the establishment of an orphanage for the education of the orphans exclusively, Therefore,

Be it enacted by the National Council, That in order to provide for the education and instruction for the destitute orphans of the Nation, upon the manual labor plan, the Superintendent of Public Schools, Messrs. Richard Taylor and Stephen Foreman, Executive Councilors, be and they are hereby appointed as a committee on the part of the Nation to meet a committee on the part of the Methodist Church South, for the purpose of determining upon the most practicable plan of establishing and conducting schools for the benefit of the destitute orphans of both sexes to be located and established separately and apart at two springs on the mountain between Fourteen Mile Creek and Samuel Downing’ s, at a place where William Sourjohn now lives, and the terms on which said Church will take charge of said schools and conduct the same.

Be it further enacted, That the said Committee, consisting of the Superintendent of Public Schools, Stephen Foreman and Richard Taylor, Executive Councilors, shall report the result of their conference with the Committee on the part of the Methodist Church to the National Council, for their approval or rejection and should the parties enter into an agreement and the same be approved by the National Council, the said committee shall proceed to assess the value of the improvements of the said William Sourjohn with his consent and the value of the same shall be paid out of the Orphan funds.

Be it further enacted, That such substantial buildings of logs as may be necessary for the accommodation of about two hundred pupils of both sex, together with the teachers and mechanics, who may be employed to conduct the said schools, shall be built.

Be it further enacted. That the said Committee be and they are hereby authorized to mature and determine upon the most convenient plan for the building of the aforesaid houses, and to receive proposals and make the necessary contracts for the erection of the same.

Be it further enacted. That the said Committee be and they are hereby authorized to mature and determine upon the most convenient plan for the building of the aforesaid houses, and to receive proposals and make the necessary contracts for the erection of the same.

Be it further enacted. That the aforesaid Committee be and they are hereby further instructed to agree with the Church that should there be any net profit arising from any of the departments of said schools that the same shall be applied to the support of additional scholars.

Be it further enacted. That the Principal Chief be and he is hereby authorized, upon the certificate of said Committee, to issue warrants on the National Treasurer for such sums as may be required to meet any of the contracts to be paid out of the Orphan fund, and not otherwise appropriated.

Tahlequah, November 3, 1848.

Approved -
George Lowrey, Acting Principal Chief.”

“The Committees appointed on the part of the Cherokee Nation and of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South to take into consideration the practicability of establishing a Manual Labor School for the benefit of the Orphan Children of the Nation, under the care of the Indian Mission conference of said Church, report the following as the result of their deliberations and agreement.

Article 1. There shall be an Orphan Manual Labor School in the Cherokee Nation, under the patronage of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

Article 2. The School shall be limited in its commencement from any to one hundred children consisting of equal number of children of both sexes, as nearly as possible.

Article 3. The site of said school to be selected by the joint Commit-tee acting on the part of the Nation and the Church.

Article 4. There shall be a board of six Trustees for the Management of the School; three to be appointed by the Nation and three by the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

Article 5. The buildings for the schools with the necessary fixtures and apparatus, the farm, tools, stock animals with all and every expense, including boarding, clothing, medical attendance, etc. to be paid out of the Orphan School Fund of the Nation.

Article 6. The children to be well taken care of boarded, clothed, instructed in all the branches, so far as practicable, of a good English education. The boys shall be instructed in the use of tools and to work on the farm. The girls; spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, dairying, with all that pertains to household and domestic economy.

Article 7. The children admitted into the school not under six nor over fourteen years of age, and to continue in the same so long as the Board of Trustees may think necessary and profitable.

Article 8. It shall be the duty of the Board of Trustees to examine the accounts of the Institution quarterly, apportion the time for labor and teaching and fix he salaries of the teachers.

Article 9. The number of scholars and the extent of improvements may be enlarged or diminished when the Board of Trustees shall find the same necessary.

Article 10. The Superintendent of said school shall have power to call together the Board of Trustees whenever he shall find the same necessary.

Article 11. The Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. South shall furnish the Superintendent and teachers and pay annually to their support the sum of one thousand dollars.

Article 12. This agreement shall go into effect so soon as concurred by the authorities of the Cherokee Nation and the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and the proper officers shall have been appointed to superintend and regulate the same.

Article 13. This agreement may be altered or annulled at any time upon the recommendation of the Board of Trustees; due notice being given of the same to the Cherokee National Council and to the Missionary Board of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

Article 14. Should there be any net profits arising from the farm, shops Ac, the same shall he applied to the benefit of the school.

Article 15. All speculation, in any way, upon the funds, the property of the Institution, to be carefully guarded against.

The foregoing articles agreed to and concurred in this 10th day of November 1848; by Walter Scott Adair and Richard Taylor.

Committee on the part of the Cherokee Nation. Thomas Ruble, Thomas Hurlburt and Thomas Bertholf. Committee on the part of the Missionary Society of the M. E. Church, South.

Be it enacted by the National Council, That the foregoing agreement be, and the same is hereby confirmed and approved and so much of the act passed 3rd day of November 1848, as militates against any of the provisions of said foregoing agreement be and the same is hereby repealed.

And be it further enacted, That should the said Committees select the improvement of any citizen, for the locations of said school, be and they are hereby authorized to purchase the same, and so much of the act passed as above, as authorizes the said Committee to value any such improvement is hereby repealed.

But for some reason it failed of fruition.’ Another committee was appointed by the council- but no report of their deliberations is available.

On November 25, 1871 an act was passed by council providing for the establishment of the “Cherokee Orphan Asylum,” which was to be located on an estate of not more than two miles square. The Asylum was opened in the Male Seminary building in 1872. Twenty thousand dollars or so much as may be necessary was appropriated to purchase the location which had already been decided to be the Lewis Ross property at Grand Saline or Grand River, and after further negotiations twenty eight thousand dollars was paid to his heirs. Necessary improvements were made so that the building on completion would accommodate one hundred twenty five pupils, besides the teachers, Superintendent and his family.

Tahlequah, November 10, 1848.

Approved: George Lowrey, Acting Principal Chief.”

The Superintendents were, consecutively: Rev. Walter Adair Duncan 1872 to 1882; Rev. Joseph Franklin Thompson 1882 to 1894; William Wallace Ross 1894 to 1897; Rev. Joseph Franklin Thompson 1897 to 1901; John Henry Danenburg 1901 to 1902. Danenburg was the last Superintendent under the authority of the Cherokee Nation and he was succeeded under the government supervision by Elias Cornelius Alberty, who was Superintendent at the time, when on Tuesday November 17, 1903 it was accidentally and entirely destroyed by fire. ” The building and equipment was valued at one hundred thousand dollars, exclusive of land. The faculty at the time of its destruction was: Principal, Robert Bruce Garrett; First” Assistant, James Bascom Johnson; Second Assistant, Rhoderick Dhu Richards; Third Assistant, Miss Flora Sabrina Lindsey and Music Teacher, Mrs. Robert Bruce Garrett.




MLA Source Citation:

Starr, Emmett. History of the Cherokee Indians and Their Legends and Folk Lore. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: The Warden Company. 1921 AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 24 April 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/cherokee-public-school-system-established.htm - Last updated on Apr 5th, 2013


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