Report Disputes Pastor Rob Lee’s Ties to Robert E. Lee

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A North Carolina pastor who says he is related to Confederate general Robert E. Lee has no evidence to prove his lineage, according to the Washington Post fact checker.

Rev. Rob W. Lee IV, who goes by Rob according to his website, has wagered since 2016 that Confederate statues be removed out of responsibility for bearing the family name. Last June he stood with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in the heat of the George Floyd protests calling for the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond. 

“There are members in my family who are shaking in their boots. I’m sure my ancestor Robert E. Lee is rolling in his grave, and I say, let him roll,” he said at the time. 

There is a known living descendant of the confederate general, Robert E. Lee V, a great-great-grandson of Lee. He works at the Potomac School in McLean, Va., and rarely comments on Confederate statues, but Rob W. Lee IV has made numerous appearances. He has appeared on the likes of “The View,” and the MTV Music Video Awards.

In a House committee hearing, Rob referred to himself as a “nephew” of the general. 

In a statement from a lawsuit calling for the removal of a confederate statue in Iredell County, Robert W. Lee listed this statement: “Plaintiff Reverend Robert Wright Lee IV (“Lee”) is a white resident of Iredell County. Lee is the fourth great-nephew of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.”

Chris Hollinger, an attorney at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, in an email to the Post said: “We are able to note that Reverend Lee has been identified as a descendant of Robert E. Lee by the Washington Post itself and the Post has published at least two essays by Rev. Lee wherein he discusses his lineage.

“Accordingly, we have no reason at this time to doubt the accuracy of the allegation in the Iredell County Complaint regarding Reverend Lee’s heritage or to doubt the sincerity of Reverend Lee’s public representations regarding his lineage.”

Shani George, vice president for communications at The Washington Post, said Hollinger’s information was incorrect.

“We do our best to verify a contributor’s credentials. This was clearly a more complicated case, though at the time, our research gave us no reason to doubt his lineage claims.”

Instead, sources point to Robert W. Lee being a descendent of Robert S. Lee, who served in the Confederate forces but was not a general. 

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