President Biden’s Great-Great Grandfather Was Pardoned By Abraham Lincoln

By Victor Winston, updated on February 19, 2024

A recent uncovering in the National Archives has shed light on an intriguing piece of history involving President Joe Biden's ancestor.

Newly found documents reveal that Abraham Lincoln pardoned President Biden's great-great-grandfather, Moses J. Robinette, after he was involved in an altercation during the Civil War.

The National Archives recently revealed a fascinating incident from March 12, 1864, near Beverly Ford, Virginia. It involved Moses J. Robinette, a civilian employee of the Union Army and President Biden's great-great-grandfather. Robinette was embroiled in a conflict with another civilian employee, John J. Alexander, that escalated to violence. Alexander suffered knife wounds.

Robinette was charged with attempted murder and faced incarceration in Florida. The altercation could have marred his future without a higher power's intervention. Robinette reportedly defended himself with just a penknife against a much stronger opponent during the fight.

A Plea for Clemency Amidst Civil War Turbulence

The plea for Robinette’s pardon paints a picture of a man who, despite his circumstances, remained a staunch supporter of the Union. His friends' appeal to President Lincoln underscored his loyalty to the Union and highlighted the undue hardship his incarceration would bring to his children, who were left without a mother.

Think of his motherless Daughters and sons at home! … [Praying for] your interposition on behalf of the unfortunate Father … and distressed family of loved Children, Union Daughters & Union Sons,

The petition for clemency, facilitated by West Virginia Senator Waitman T. Willey, eventually reached President Lincoln. In a compassionate response to the plea, President Lincoln decided to grant Moses J. Robinette a pardon on September 1, 1864. This act of mercy allowed Robinette to return to his family and continue his life until he died in 1903.

The documents detailing this pardon showcase Lincoln's well-documented empathy and his judicious approach to justice during one of the most tumultuous periods in American history. They also reveal the social networks and personal advocacies that could reach the ears of the highest office in the land, even amid the Civil War.

A Connection Spanning Centuries

This discovery illuminates a fascinating episode from the Civil War and adds a personal historical footnote to President Joe Biden's family story. The fact that such a pivotal event in his ancestor's life was connected to one of the most revered figures in American history, Abraham Lincoln, is of significant interest.

The White House has yet to issue remarks regarding whether President Biden was previously aware of this incident within his family's history. Nonetheless, this revelation underscores the interconnectedness of American families with the broader narrative of the nation's past.

In conclusion, the pardoning of Moses J. Robinette by Abraham Lincoln adds a unique layer to the rich tapestry of American history, unexpectedly connecting the past with the present. This story, emerging from the dense archives of history, offers insights into the personal struggles and redemption of individuals during the Civil War and illustrates the enduring influence of these historical narratives on the descendants who come to learn of them.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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