By Michael Patrick Leahy
After researching her story, it is obvious that her "family lore" is just fiction.
As I pointed out in my article here on Sunday, no evidence supports this claim. O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford had no Cherokee heritage, was listed as "white" in the Census of 1860, and was most likely half Swedish and half English, Scottish, or German, or some combination thereof. (Note, the actual 1894 marriage license makes no claim of Cherokee ancestry.)
But the most stunning discovery about the life of O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford is that her husband, Ms. Warren's great-great-great grandfather, was apparently a member of the Tennessee Militia who rounded up Cherokees from their family homes in the Southeastern United States and herded them into government-built stockades in what was then called Ross’s Landing (now Chattanooga), Tennessee—the point of origin for the horrific Trail of Tears, which began in January, 1837.
I agree the marriage license is a little thin as documentation. I'd call it evidence, not proof.
But having ancestors on both sides of the conflict isn't "stunning" or even surprising. Thirty-one of her 32 ancestors presumably weren't Cherokees. I'd be surprised if those living through the Trail of Tears didn't take sides against the Indians.
Elizabeth Warren brushes off ‘Trail of Tears’ report
By Hillary Chabot
“I think what this is about is Scott Brown trying to change the subject,” said Warren at a Brighton event last night. “He just wants to find a way to talk about something else, and I think it’s wrong. I think this is why people are turned off on Washington politics.”