Jonathan Roberts: The Civil War's Quaker Scout and Sheriff

Jonathan Roberts: The Civil War's Quaker Scout and Sheriff

by Gregory P. Wilson


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When Gregory P. Wilson began researching his family history, he never expected to uncover an ancestor as unique and fascinating as Jonathan Roberts. A devout Quaker, Roberts wore many hats throughout his life. He was a farmer, surveyor, husband, and father. He also was a firm abolitionist, the Civil War's Quaker scout and sheriff in northern Virginia.

Roberts's noncombatant military service began shortly after his secessionist neighbors tried to kill him for his political and antislavery views. Fleeing his Fairfax County home after Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard ordered his arrest, Roberts volunteered his surveying experience to the Union's Army of the Potomac, guiding troops to and from First Manassas (Bull Run). Over the course of the war, he was injured twice, once seriously while chasing John Singleton Mosby, the "Gray Ghost" of the Confederacy.

When not delivering military dispatches, guiding troops, or scouting in the midst of cavalry charges, Roberts served as Fairfax County's twice-elected sheriff, responsible for everything from tax collections to murders.

Wilson, like all who experience Roberts's story, can only marvel at his formidable ancestor's adventures and wonder if the outspoken Quaker appreciated the many ironies and contradictions of his remarkable life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781499289480
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 12/12/2014
Pages: 732
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 1.46(d)

About the Author

A native of Ravenna, Ohio, Gregory P. Wilson graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1974, with a double major in history and in politics and government. Wilson worked in both the legislative and executive branches of the US government, and spent much of his career as a partner and senior adviser with McKinsey & Company.

Now managing his own consulting firm, Wilson provides policy and regulatory advice for the financial sector, and has authored and coauthored two books on financial crises in the United States and around the world. A resident of Fairfax County, he currently lives in Great Falls, Virginia.

An avid Civil War student, Wilson wrote the first biography of his ancestor, Jonathan Roberts, the Civil War's Quaker scout and sheriff. For more information on Jonathan Roberts, visit

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