One of the traditional Cherokee participating in Ed Hicks demonstration of the telephone on the streets of Tahlequah was George Sanders or Sa-Giyah as the Cherokees called him. He gave his approval of the telephone project because “It talks in Cherokee.”
Ed Hicks was still a teenager when he announced his plan to run the line from Tahlequah to Muskogee and got some of the leading merchants of both cities to from the Cherokee Telephone Company. He was the manager of the exchange from 1886 until his retirement in 1934.
Ed Hicks was setting up his company only ten years after the invention of the phone itself. The device was very different than the phones we know today. Below is a photograph of what the devices tended to look like at the time the Cherokee Telephone Company was established.