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Cyrus Byington Edit Profile


Cyrus Byington was a White Christian missionary from Massachusetts who worked with the Choctaw in Mississippi and later in Indian Territory, later called Oklahoma, during the 19th century.


Byington, Cyrus was born on March 11, 1793 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, United States. Son of Captain Asahel and Lucy (Peck) Byington.


Graduate Andover (Mass.


He set out to construct a lexicon of the Choctaw language in order to translate Christian prayers, hymns, and bible passages. is considered one of the most complete lexicons for a Native American language. He worked for nearly fifty years translating Choctaw as a written language. The language is closely related to Chickasaw and some linguists consider the two varieties a single language.

The following table is an example of Choctaw text and its translation:\r\nOrthography\r\nThe written Choctaw language is based upon English version of the Roman alphabet and was developed in conjunction with the civilization program of the United States in the early 19th century. Byington's alphabet and a version modified by John Swanton is seen here. = Byington (Original) = Byington/Swanton (Linguistic).



The Choctaw language is a member of the Muskogean family and was well known among the frontiersmen, such as U.S. President Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison, of the early 19th century.


Captain Asahel Byington

Lucy (Peck) Byington