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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Students and faculty at Park Hill Mission, including Mrs. Stephen Foreman and Miss Rodine, 1880s
(1716, Alice Robertson Collection, OHS).

FOREMAN, STEPHEN (1807–1881).

A Cherokee Presbyterian minister and politician, Rev. Stephen Foreman was born near present Rome, Georgia, on October 22, 1807. He was a son of John Anthony Foreman, of Scotch descent, and his Cherokee wife Wattie or Elizabeth. Educated at mission schools, Stephen Foreman had abilities that were recognized by his teachers. Consequently, he attended Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and Princeton Theological Seminar in New Jersey, with support from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM).

The ABCFM employed Foreman in mission work, both before and after the Cherokees' removal to Indian Territory (present Oklahoma) in 1838–39. Translating documents and news into the Cherokee language was part of his job as assistant editor of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper in 1829. Siding with Chief John Ross in opposition to removal, in 1836 Foreman was a Cherokee delegate to the U.S. government protesting the removal Treaty of New Echota. After he moved to Indian Territory in 1839, he helped Rev. Samuel A. Worcester translate the Bible into the Cherokee language.

Foreman was an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the Cherokee Nation and held offices as executive council member and clerk of the Cherokee National Senate. He was the Cherokee Nation's first superintendent of education, filling that position from 1841 to 1843. His first wife, Sarah Watkins Riley, died in 1860; he married Ruth Riley Candy in 1873 and lived at Park Hill in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, until his death on December 8, 1881.

Anna Eddings


Cooleela Faulkner, "The Life and Times of Reverend Stephen Foreman" (M.A. thesis, University of Oklahoma, 1949).

Minta Ross Foreman, "Reverend Stephen Foreman, Cherokee Missionary," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 18 (September 1940).

William G. McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears: The Cherokees' Struggle for Sovereignty, 1839–1880 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993).


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Anna Eddings, “Foreman, Stephen,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=FO021.

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