David Brown (translator)

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David Brown (Cherokee: A-wish) (c.1806 – September 14, 1829) was a Cherokee clergyman and translator.


Brown was born in Wills Valley, Alabama about 1806.[1] Brown's father was of mixed race, part white and part Cherokee.[1] Brown, or A-wish, was, along with his sister Catharine, educated at the school of Cyrus Kingsbury. The school, which had been established by Moravian missionaries, was in Tennessee, 100 miles (160 km) from their home in Alabama. Brown later worked with Catharine in educating and Christianizing their native tribe.

Brown was a preacher and interpreter, and also acted as secretary of the Cherokee national government. In November 1819, he assisted John Arch in the preparation and printing of a Cherokee spelling book. He established a mission at Creek Path, Mississippi in 1820.

In the spring of 1820, Brown went to Cornwall, Connecticut, to attend school.[1] After two years there, he spent a year at Andover Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, preparing for ministry work. Returning to his birthplace, Brown began his missionary work converting the Cherokee people to Christianity. According to a letter written by him in 1825, the Christian religion was generally adopted by the tribe. He died before the Cherokee people were dispossessed of most of their eastern lands by the United States government in defiance of treaty obligations.

His sister, Catharine[edit]

Brown's sister was Catharine Brown (born c.1800 and died July 18, 1823). They were members of the then wealthy and largely "civilized" Cherokee Nation. Catharine began attending school with David when she was 17 years old. Within three months she had learned to read and write. She joined her church on March 29, 1818. In June 1820, she began to teach at Creek Path, near her home.

A history of her life, prepared by Rufus Anderson, was published in New York in 1825.


Brown died September 14, 1829 in Creek Path.


  1. ^ a b c Ricky, Donald B. (2000). Encyclopedia of Mississippi Indians: Tribes, Natives, Treaties of the Southeastern Woodlands Area. North American Book Dist LLC. pp. 48–49. ISBN 978-0-403-09778-4. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 


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