America's North Shore Journal

Supporting the Ninth Amendment

Could Elizabeth Warren Be a Minority?


UPDATE 5/8/2012 5:14 pm:  Let’s look at the arguments against Warren’s heritage.

  1. The son gained no advantage by claiming his mother was Indian.
  2. The area where O.C. Sarah Neoma Smith was born was Indian land.
  3. The census records are only a valid proof if the census taker had the option to put Indian down for race. One of the comments states that assimilated Indians were listed as white at the time.
  4. The Jonathan that is claimed to be the militia member is not Warren’s ancestor but a distant  cousin. There are two Jonathans in the family tree. The report linked below only covers her direct ancestry.

Everyone is forgetting that the Cherokee were one of the “civilized” tribes. They had adopted the English way of life to a great extent, including keeping slaves. They were as civilized as any white settler in the area at that time and cannot be differentiated based on occupation or residence.

UPDATE 5/1/2012 10:19 pm: Child is correct in his research. Neoma or Sarah Smith, born 1794 in North Carolina, seems to be Warren’s Cherokee ancestor. Two caveats. The family is not enrolled with the tribe. The sole reason to believe that she was Cherokee was her son, William’s statement upon his marriage. Clearly it would seem that Warren can claim to be 1/32 Cherokee.

I can find no support for the story that Warren told to the Boston Globe about her pioneering grandmother. While she was the oldest child at the time of the Oklahoma land rush, research appears to show that her mother was still alive.

UPDATE 5/1/2012 7:38 pm: A good Boston Globe article titled Document ties Warren kin to Cherokees. It reports the Chris Child finds but points out that it is not the end of the story. I continue to explore my findings, which are based on a 1880 Census report. Which John H. Crawford married Palina Bowen?

UPDATE 5/1/2012 noon: I sent this link to Hillary Chabot from the Boston Herald. She passed it on to Chris Child. Genealogist of the Newbury Street Press, New England Historic Genealogical Society, who believes that he has discovered the Cherokee link. He believes that I have the parents of John Huston Crawford (1858-1924) incorrect. Child feels that Crawford’s paternal grandmother was Cherokee.

Elizabeth Warren is the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat from Massachusetts currently held by Republican Scott Brown. During her career, she was identified repeatedly as a member of a minority. She is currently claiming that family lore says that her ancestry includes Delaware and Cherokee blood, making her part Native American.

Her life story is compelling. Small town Oklahoma girl rises from poverty to make good. However, has any part of her success resulted from affirmative action programs and policies designed to assist minorities? The record is clear. Employers and colleagues considered her a minority.

Elizabeth Herring Warren is the daughter of Donald Herring and Pauline Reed. The claim is that her Native American heritage comes through her mother. The tribes involved are the Delaware and the Cherokee.

Pauline Reed was the daughter of Harry Gunn Reed and Hannie Elvira Crawford.

Harry Gunn Reed married Hannie Crawford on June 2, 1893, in Sebastian, Arkansas. Reed was born in 1873, in Illinois or possibly Ohio. Crawford was born in Missouri in 1875 or 1876, according to Warren in a February 2012 Boston Globe interview.

Warren’s family came to Oklahoma at the end the 19th century, part of the land rush that preceded statehood.

Her grandmother, Hannie Crawford Reed, who had already lost her own mother, drove a horse-drawn wagon from Missouri to the territory at the age of 13, according to family lore. Hannie’s father rode ahead on a horse.

“Her little brothers and sisters were bouncing around in the back of a wagon,” Warren said of her grandmother, who lived to age 94. “That woman made life happen.”

Harry Reed’s parents were Joseph Reed, born in Ohio, and Charity Gorman, born in Illinois.

Hannie Crawford’s given name was, apparently, Bethanie Elvina. Her parents were John Huston Crawford, born in Missouri, and Palina Ann Bowen, also born in Missouri.

Warren’s story falls apart. Grandmother did not lose her mother at an early age. Palina Crawford died in 1905, in Arkansas. Hannie was born in Missouri. She had siblings that were born after her, in Texas 1883, Arkansas in 1889 and finally Oklahoma 1894, 1896 and 1897.

Incorrect: John Houston Crawford was a druggist in Missouri. His father was a physician, born in Kentucky. His mother came from England.

Palina Bowen’s father was born in Indiana. Her mother was born in Kentucky. Both outlived Palina and both died in Clarksville, Arkansas, where Palina also died.

Incorrect: Nothing in Warren’s maternal ancestry leaps out as Native American. Her mother’s family was raised in the Indian Territory, and that is the most that can be said about Warren’s minority status.

The story in the Boston Globe just is not possible given the other records that seem to exist.

Here is the current report on Elizabeth Warren’s maternal ancestry.

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