High Quality Content by WIKIPEDIA articles! Sequoyah (circa 1767?1843), named in English George Gist or Guess, was a Cherokee silversmith who in 1821 completed his independent creation of a Cherokee syllabary, making reading and writing in Cherokee possible. This was the only time in recorded history that a member of an illiterate people independently created an effective writing system. After seeing its worth, the Cherokee Nation rapidly began to use his syllabary and officially adopted it in 1825. Their literacy rate rapidly surpassed that of surrounding European-American settlers.