Torchlights to the Cherokees; the Brainerd Mission. By Robert Sparks Walker (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1931. 339 p. $3.00).
In the midst of the flood of books on the Indians in the West, often compilations of the efforts of others, it is refreshing to come across such a book as Mr. Walker's genuine contribution from original sources. He has labored industriously and intelligently in the missionary archives of the country and has brought forth a book that sheds a flood of light on the lives, customs and habits of the Cherokee Indians in Tennessee and Georgia, and on the New England missionaries who contributed so much to the progress and happiness of the southern Indians.
The Moravian missionaries began their work among the Cherokee Indians in the year 1800; 17 years later Brainerd Missions was begun by Cyrus Kingsbury, the advance agent for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. This mission became known internationally and operated with great benefit to the Indians until their removal to the West. A few miles away there grew up the thriving city of Chattanooga whose inhabitants knew nothing of the little burying ground and fragments of old ruins nearby. Mr. Walker of that city became interested and determined to resurrect the history of this former seat of culture and activity that was Brainerd. He went to Boston and Cambridge where are preserved priceless old manuscripts that record the day by day activities of the mission, the people who came there, the lives and habits of the Indians, and from these he has written an absorbing and faithful history of this historic spot.
Mr. Walker quotes at length from the letters and journal's written at Brainerd and thus presents to the reader a series of graphic pictures of life at the mission, of the missionaries, and of the Cherokees at worship, in their homes and councils. The book covers and describes the Indians found at Chickamauga Mission, the Moravian mission at
Spring Place, the long procession of missionaries who came to Brainerd, the story of the little Osage captive, the Brainerd school, the Rev. Ard Hoyt, the romantic and tragic story of Catherine Brown, and finally the persecution and martyrdom of the missionaries, including the Rev. S. A. Worcester, grandfather of the late Hon. Alice M. Robertson and her sister, Mrs. N .B. Moore of Haskell; in 1831 he was sentenced to serve a term in the Georgia penitentiary for his refusal to cease his missionary work and abandon the Indians in their hour of greatest need, that the state might have a freer hand in driving the Indians from its borders. The book contains a foreword, an adequate index, and illustrations.