With it being 100 years since the beginning of World War I, I’m reminded of the story my Dad told me about how Grandpa Roberts was saved at the last minute from having to go to Europe. The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.  It enacted the Selective Service Act on May 18, 1917.  This required all men ages 21 to 30 to register for military service.  It also allowed the US to draft 2.8 million men for the war.  My grandfather was one of those men.  Below is his registration card.

Fred Roberts Registration

Grandpa was drafted and sent to Fort Meade, Maryland for basic training.  While there, Grandma Roberts had a dream that if he went to Europe, he would not return.  Grandpa also wrote home that he believed that if he went overseas, he would die there.  Grandma went to Great Grandpa Wallen and begged him to do something.  They went to their congressman and asked if he could do something.  This was humbling for them since they were staunch republicans and the congressman was a democrat.

For some reason, Grandpa Roberts replied “No” on his registration card when asked if there was anyone dependent on him for their livelihood.  Since this was untrue, the congressman was able to get Grandpa exempted on a hardship basis.  He was pulled out of line while waiting to board the ship that would have taken him to Europe and likely his death.  If that had happened, my Father would have never been born.

american troops boarding a ship tofrance USS President Lincoln


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5 Responses to “WWI-How Grandpa Roberts was Saved From Going to Europe”

  1. Elizabeth Wells says:

    Lovely website! Check your dates above- need to change 1997 to 1917! 😀

  2. Lance Osbourn says:

    Hello Jeff ,,I’m working on my mother’s Roberts genealogy I’m stuck at
    Thomas Roberts born in England died in
    Perquimans, Carolina, British Colonial America ,,he was babtised in Kent England ,, wondering if you have the information of his father thanks, Lance

    • Jeff Roberts says:

      Hi Lance. Unfortunately, I don’t. I don’t think he’s part of my line. My Roberts ancestors came over @1740 and were in Virginia.

  3. Patricia Roberts Williams says:

    CommentHello Jeff,
    My fourth great grandfather was William H. Roberts who married Margaret Ann Wilhite in Culpepper Tenn. 1800’s. Do you have any records on them. They came through Alabama e route to Ridley. Ms were some of the Wilhites also settled in around 1840. Do you have any information on these Roberts?

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