Monday, September 17, 2012

Elizabeth Warren - Genealogy Vs. Mythology

**September 15, 2012, a story came out in the Boston Globe that had a picture of Harry Reed and a caption that said, "Harry Reed was part Indian, say descendants." The article that followed was very long, full of misconceptions about Cherokee history and based on nothing but family lore. The article is so long, I will write a series of posts dealing with one topic at a time so my readers don't get lost in the information.**

In the article by the Globe, Ina Mapes says her grandmother, Laura Crawford, said her grandfather, Everett Reed, "had one-quarter tribal blood." Everett was the brother of Elizabeth Warren's grandfather, Harry Reed. Later in the article, Warren's brother says Harry Reed was "part Delaware, a little bitty bit, way back." Everett and Harry had the same parents, Joseph H. Reed and Charity Gorman. So how could one be a quarter Indian blood and the other be a little bitty bit?

If they were truly Indian, whatever parent that blood came through would most likely be identified as an Indian. The grandparent definitely would have. No matter what people like to claim today, full bloods and half bloods did not pass for white. It was not how one identified themselves, but how the community they lived in viewed them.

Indians did not exist in a vacuum. The blood would come through a continuous line of Indians, not just one. And at some time, those Indians that blood came through would have to be found living among their people. They would not be found in genealogical records listed as white going back to at least 1760, as the Reeds are. You can find their genealogy by going to Elizabeth Warren, who do you think you are? and Elizabeth Warren, Who Do You Think You Are - Part 2. Notice in Part 2, the aunt of Harry and Everett Reed writes a letter to her son, cousin to Harry and Everett, telling him his pa is afraid he will be exposed to the Indians. 

Because Ina Mapes and Warren share two lines of ancestry, it is also important to mention the differences the two families claim about the Crawford family. While Elizabeth Warren and her brothers say they were told Hannie Crawford was Cherokee, Ina Mapes indicates her grandma, Laura Crawford, sister to Hannie, was not Indian. 
Born and raised in Arizona, Ina Mapes visited her grandmother and other Reed relatives in Okmulgee, Okla., every summer. Her grandmother, by then widowed, often talked about her son’s Indian blood, which she said he inherited from his father, Everett Reed.
Hannie and Laura had the same parents, John H. Crawford and Plinia Bowen. You can find the Crawford genealogy by going to Elizabeth Warren's Ancestry - Part 1, Elizabeth Warren's Ancestry - Part 2 and Elizabeth Warren's Ancestry - Part 3. Notice in Part 3, the aunt, America Crawford, of Hannie and Laura is clearly stated to be white by both her husband and her daughter.

In both lines, we have several stories to consider. Some claim Delaware Indian blood. Some claim Cherokee Indian blood. Both families are documented as white in all historical documents. Are we supposed to believe that there huge conspiracies in both families to cover up Indian blood and record themselves as white for as long as records have been kept in the United States? Or is it more likely someone along the way either got confused or made up stories about each of the families and now some descendants accept the stories as true?

Though the Globe says, "Both the Reeds and the Crawfords are identified as “white” on federal Census forms in the early 20th century that rely upon self-identification." That isn't telling the whole story. Enumerators did not have to accept answers they felt were untruthful. See the post titled, Indians on the US Census, for more information. Both the Reeds and Crawfords are ALWAYS found on federal census forms as white, going back as far as they can be traced on the federal census. They are white in EVERY other record they are found on as well. They are also found in NO Cherokee records, ever. Because the Delaware were adopted by the Cherokee Nation, from that time forward, they should be found in the Cherokee historical records if they were truly Cherokee or Delaware. They are not. 

What's that old saying? Genealogy without documentation is mythology.  I have shared the genealogy of this family. The Boston Globe has shared the mythology of the family. Both of us are reporting. You decide which story to believe.

Next, The Crawford/Boraker families - Are they really related?

Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.

copyright 2012, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB


  1. "In the article by the Globe, Ina Mapes says her grandmother, Laura Crawford, said her grandfather, Everett Reed, "had one-quarter tribal blood."

    Which confirms Warren's statement that family lore was an Indian connection. Now, Mapes may have been mistaken, but it was undoubtedly her belief. Most people don't research their genealogy in detail. If Grandma says Grandpa's mother was Irish, then they usually accept that.

    1. Even if there was this family lore, if she truly believed it and it was such an important part of who she is, she would never have breaks of time in embracing it. She instead, picks and chooses when to use that story and when not to use it. Apparently when trying to get a job, she used it, never thinking it would come out. Once it did, she had no choice but to defend her use of that claim. But now that she has won the election, she thinks it can no longer hurt her to drop it.

      She knew she wasn't Indian and she has more than enough money to have done the research. She is a user. She used us, the Cherokee, to get what she wanted and now she will use the middle class, if she can ever figure out who they are. Stop making excuses for her.


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