His schools received no federal funds
1823 – The Triennial Convention, meeting in Washington, D.C., made mention in their report, that Duncan O’Bryant was the missionary-teacher at the Tensawattee Baptist School, where he had a total enrollment of twenty-eight students, among the Cherokees in Georgia. O’Bryant was born in the late 18th century in S.C. By 1820 he had moved to Habersham County, Georgia with his wife Martha Whitehead. Under the influence of a Franklin County Baptist preacher named Littleton Meeks, he became burdened for the Cherokee Nation. As the Cherokee removal under President Jackson progressed, O’Bryant maintained schools in three different sites with nearly two hundred children in attendance. He said that the “…greater part were able to read the Word of Life, and to write a fair hand…” During 1830-31 O’Bryant had a circuit of four preaching points including the Tinswattee Baptist Church. There were a large number of Cherokees in these congregations, and, on some occasions, U.S. troops who had been called in because of the turmoil and violence of those times. On Jan. 27, 1832, O’Bryant left Georgia to go west, where he settled in the northeast part of Oklahoma territory. He soon gathered the remnants of his congregation into the Liberty Baptist Church and reopened his school without receiving federal funds. He died of malaria at the age of forty-eight on August 25, 1834, and was survived by his wife and ten children. He escaped the trail of tears in 1838-39. [Robert G. Gardner, Viewpoints of Georgia Baptist History (Atlanta: Georgia Baptist Historical Society, 1988), 2:42. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 573-75.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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