Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Dewitt Clinton Duncan

Georgia & Iowa


"De Witt Clinton Duncan was born in 1829 at Dahlonega in the Cherokee Nation in Georgia, the son of half-blood John Duncan and Elizabeth Abercrombie Duncan. Duncan was educated in mission and Cherokee national schools before he went to Dartmouth College, from which he graduated with honors in 1861, a mmber of Phi Beta Kappa. Because of the Civil War, Duncan did not return to the Indian Territory but taught school in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Illinois, finally settling in 1866 at Charles City, Iowa, where he practiced law, served as mayor for a year, and taught school. By 1880 Duncan was again in the Cherokee Nation, where, during the next several years, he served the Cherokees in various capacities: legal counsel, teacher and principal of the Cherokee Male Seminary, and political writer . . . . He studied Cherokee history and linguistics, and writing under his English name and under Too-qua-stee, he contributed widely to Chereokee and U.S. publications. He died at Vinita, Oklahoma, in November, 1909."

[Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr. & James W. Parins, A Biobibliography of Native American Writers, 1772-1924 234 Metuchen, New Jersey: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1981)]

The Story of the Cherokees
DeWitt Clinton Duncan (Too-qua-stee)

The Genius of Sequoyah
(short biographical profile of Duncan and his poem, "Sequoyah")


Carolyn Thomas Foreman (ed.), An Open Letter From Too-qua-stee to Congressman Charles Curtis, 1898, 47 (3) Chronicles of Oklahoma 298-311 (1969)

Rauna Kuokkanen, Alter-Native Nations and Narrations: The World of DeWitt Clinton Duncan, Charles A. Eastman & E. Pauline Johnson, 1 (2) Indigenous Nations Studies Journal (2001)(University of Kansas)(includes Duncan's poem "A Dead Nation" (1899))