Sunday, May 06, 2012

No Geneological Support For Warren Indian Ancestry Claim

Mr. Child found that Ms. Warren’s great-great-grandfather, Preston Crawford, had a brother, William Crawford. In 1894, when William Crawford was about 57 years old, he submitted a marriage application to the officials of Logan County, in what was then Oklahoma Territory. In that application, William Crawford stated he wished to receive a license to marry Mary Long, and he further stated that his mother, O.C. Sarah Smith, was a Cherokee.

Here's the problem with that evidence: Nowhere do the records of that time support William Crawford's claim.

We know that between 1794 and 1799, Wyatt Smith and Margaret "Peggy" Brackin Smith had a little girl they named O.C. Sarah Smith. There's no evidence that “Peggy,” O.C. Sarah’s mother, was Cherokee, and her father's father—Andreas Smith—was the son of two Swedish immigrants, Hans Jurgen Smidt and his wife Maria Stalcop, who settled in Delaware shortly before Andreas' birth in 1731.

O.C. Sarah Smith—known in some records as "Oma" or "Neoma"—appears to be the mother of both Elizabeth Warren's great-great-grandfather, Preston Crawford, and his brother, William Crawford, who is said to have claimed she was Cherokee on that wedding application. 

It is upon this claim by O.C. Sarah Smith's son that Ms. Warren's assertion of Native American ancestry precariously sits. But under the best case scenario for Ms. Warren, her great-great-great grandmother O.C. Sarah Smith was only half Cherokee and half Swedish, making her not 1/32 Cherokee, as most press reports have stated, but 1/64 Cherokee.  

However, it is more likely that O.C. Sarah Smith had no Cherokee heritage. 

Census records that listed O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford (her married name) as a resident of Tennessee in 1830, 1840, and 1860 classify her as white, not Indian.

So why would Ms. Warren's great-great-grand-uncle make up such a thing? Perhaps he showed the same kind of tendency towards ancestral "embellishment" that she herself seems to exhibit, or perhaps there was some logistical or tactical benefit in the Oklahoma Territory of 1894 to him and his intended bride that encouraged him to make the claim. Or perhaps he believed it to be true, even though in all probability it was not. We will likely never know.

But what makes this story so important?
 It’s important because Elizabeth Warren has just become the poster child for everything that's wrong with the way the left engages in political dialogue. They make assertions that are either simply untrue or cannot be substantiated by any evidence, and they call anyone who would challenge them a racist, a flat-earther, a “bow-tying white boy”, or worse.
 As Ronald Reagan said, “the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.”

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