Warren Caught Telling Another Tall Tale About Composite Grandmother

On Friday, Breitbart News caught Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren in one of her many tall tales of family lore, forcing her to walk back her September 2011 story about her maternal grandmother, Bethanie (Hannie) Crawford Reed, through whose ancestral line she falsely claims Native American heritage. Today, we’re reporting yet another tall tale Ms. Warren told about her maternal grandmother. We look forward to seeing how Ms. Warren will walk back this most recently discovered tall tale.

As we reported on Friday:

A recently discovered video shows Elizabeth Warren telling another tall tale about her family. The day after she announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate, Democrat Elizabeth Warren told the convocation at the University of Massachusetts-Boston: "My grandmother drove a wagon in the land rush to settle territory out west. It was 1889, she was 15 years old…She lived to be 94, to see her youngest grandchild--that's me--graduate from college…". The only problem with this story is that it’s not true.

Warren's maternal grandmother died in 1969, the year before Warren graduated from college, and her paternal grandmother was only 2 years old in 1889.

Later that day, Ms. Warren was forced to “correct the record.” In an interview with the Boston Herald, she told a new and different story about her grandmother Bethanie (Hannie) Crawford Reed: “My grandmother lived to know that I would graduate from college and that I had a teaching job."

Having corrected one tall tale from that September 2011 speech to the convocation at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, Breitbart News would like to give Ms. Warren an opportunity to “correct the record” once more on another tall tale told that day. In the speech, she stated that her grandmother’s mother had died before the 1889 land rush story took place. 

My grandmother drove a wagon in the land rush to settle Oklahoma Territory out west.. It was 1889, she was 15 years old, and she had her little brothers and sisters in the back of the wagon. Her mother had died, and her father had ridden ahead on horseback to try to find land near water. [emphasis added]

The only problem with that claim is, once more, it isn’t true. 

Bethanie (Hannie) Crawford Reed’s mother, Paulina (Pliny) Ann Bowen Crawford, was born in Missouri in April 1860. Her father, John H. Crawford, was born in Missouri in March 1858. When Bethanie (Hannie) Crawford Reed was born in Missouri in October, 1875, her mother “Pliny” was 15 years old, and her father John H. Crawford was 17 years old.

Shortly after Bethanie (Hannie) Crawford’s birth, the family moved to Texas, where sister Louisa was born in 1877. The family, with daughters Bethanie (Hannie) Crawford, age 5, Louisa, age 3, mother Paulina (Pliny) Ann Bowen Crawford, age 20, and father John H. Crawford, age 23, were living in Arkansas as shown in this 1880 census document posted on the website Pollysgranddaughter. Information for the children shows that both parents were born in Missouri. (The family’s surname is spelled “Crofford” in both the 1880 census and the 1900 census, but subsequent to  910 records of the family revert to the original “Crawford” spelling. It is not unusual to see spelling variations on surnames in records during this period.)

Bethanie (Hannie) Crawford Reed’s mother, Paulina (Pliny) Ann Bowen Crawford, and her father, John H. Crawford (Crofford) had three children born in Oklahoma Indian Territory after 1889, as another 1900 census document from Oklahoma Indian Territory posted on the website Pollysgranddaughter shows.

Son Edie Crawford was born in 1894, son Rosco Crawford was born in 1896, and daughter Bessie Crawford was born in 1897. When Rosco Crawford died in San Joaquin County, California in 1984, the California Death Index listed his mother’s maiden name as Bowen.

Note that neither mother Paulina (Pliny) Ann Bowen Crawford (presumed deceased between 1897 and 1900) nor daughter Bethanie (Hannie) Crawford Reed (married to Harry G. Reed in 1893) were living with father John H. Crawford and the younger siblings, according to the 1900 census document. 

A careful viewing of the 1900 census document reveals that John H. Crawford’s marital status was listed as “Wd”—widower. 

Paulina (Pliny) Ann Bowen Crawford’s whereabouts between the birth of her last child with John H. Crawford in Oklahoma Territory in 1897 and the 1900 census that lists her husband as a widower are unknown. Her ultimate resting place appears to be the Oakland Cemetery, 402 Cemetery St, Clarksville, Arkansas, where she was interred in January 1905. This detailed and documented genealogical study of Elizabeth Warren’s maternal side of the family listed at the North Shore Journal website states that her parents, George Washington Bowen and Bethania Clark Bowen, were living there at the time. George Washington Bowen died there in 1907, and Bethania Clark died there in 1924. Records indicate that both were buried at the Oakland Cemetery where their daughter is buried.

The burial headstone of Ms. Warren’s great-grandmother, Paulina (Pliny) Ann Bowen Crawford, reads as follows:

Pliny Ann Crawford

Dau of George and Bethanie Bowen

Born April 7 1860

Died January 1905

Gone from our Home but not from our memory

The specific date of Paula (Pliny) Ann Bowen Crawford’s death is uncertain. Whether she was first buried in Oklahoma at the presumed time of her death between 1897 and 1900, then re-interred in the Clarksville, Arkansas cemetery in January 1905 after her widower husband John H. Crawford moved to Missouri and married Sarah E. Smith in September 1904, documented here in this marriage certificate posted on the website Pollysgranddaughter, is not known. Alternatively, she died and was buried in Clarksville, Arkansas in January 1905, having lived apart from her husband and family subsequent to 1899.

This much, however, is certain: Bethanie (Hannie) Crawford Reed’s mother, Paulina (Pliny) Ann Bowen Crawford, was not dead in 1889 as Ms. Warren claimed, and the three children she subsequently bore her husband John H. Crawford absolutely prove that fact.

Breitbart News has sent this information to Ms. Warren’s campaign. We will report her response when we learn of it.

Michael Patrick Leahy is a Breitbart News contributor, Editor of Broadside Books’ Voices of the Tea Party e-book series, and author of Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement.