Categories: House of Burgesses, Virginia Colony.
William Aylett lived the later part of his life at Fairfield Plantation in St John's Parish in what became King William County, Virginia. A traditional source reported by W.W. Fontaine states that he was the son of Phillip Aylett and had a son Phillip, but no primary sources have been found to support the existence of an elder Phillip Aylett, and other sources reported by Fontaine are suspected of being forgeries. An alternative theory by P.N. Clarke makes William the son of William Aylett of York Co. VA (d. 1678/9).
William Aylett was likely born in the part of New Kent County, Virginia that eventually became King William County, though this is merely surmised. The 1744 will of his son William gives us the names of two other sons, John and Benjamin. A later court case shows that he also had at least four daughters. These daughters do not appear to be named collectively anywhere, though several of them have been identified. Anne Aylett was probably the eldest, and she married first Benjamin Walker and second Rice Curtis. Three of them appear to have married Buckners, Jane, Elizabeth, and Judith. The first two are securely established by primary sources. Judith is attested in a Buckner family tradition, but contemporary support is lacking. However, the name "Aylett" does appear among Judith's grandchildren.
A 1755 lawsuit in the Caroline County order books shows that William must have had at least 6 heirs who had heirs themselves, since this part of his estate (a group of slaves) was divided six ways. The six parties were:
This confirms that all of William's sons were dead by 1755 and that his daughters married the two Buckners, Rice Curtis, and Joseph Herring. Ann Curtis must also have been dead by then. Sons John and Benjamin probably died without issue, as they had no heirs alive in 1755 and clearly died young (prior to 1744).
Between this and his son William's will, we can construct the following list of children:
We do know that he was at least somewhat active in the business of importing immigrants for headrights, since he received a 1000 acre patent in Essex County in 1704. The same year, he purchased land in King William County (King and Queen County prior to 1702; New Kent before 1691) from John Yarbrough.
Col. William Aylett was appointed the first Clerk of Court in King William County when it was formed in 1702. Since he was a clerk of court, it's probably safe to assume he was a mature man by this time, so he was certainly older than 30 and probably more like 40 years old. He had been a deputy clerk of James City County earlier in the same year, which may be a clue about his origins. The clerkship was apparently heavily contested, with Justice John Waller having petitioned for it and William Aylette eventually defeating Orlando Jones in a ballot. William was still clerk and also listed as one of the county's tobacco agents in 1714. In 1729, he was still listed as the county clerk, while his son William was one of the Justices of Westmoreland.
The Encylopedia of Virginia Biography states that he was a Burgess for King William in the 1723-6 assembly and was armigerous.
It is often asserted by tradition that the present William Aylett married Ann Taylor or Tayloe. There is wide agreement that her first name was Ann/e, but some sources also have Woodward as her maiden name, and a few also confuse her with the wife of her son William, who married Anne Ashton. No primary sources seem to have been offered for these assertions, so this should be taken as an open question.
He wrote his will in 1730 and it was probated in King William on 17 Mar 1733, so he certainly died sometime in 1733 or early 1734 (NS).
The 1744 Westmoreland County will of William Aylett refers to his deceased father William (the present William Aylett), his deceased brother John Aylett, and brothers Benjamin Aylett and Philip Aylett. This younger William married Ann Ashton, probably sometime around 1724, and somehow people get confused about this and try to make Ann Ashton his father's wife.
Internet sources sometimes invent a middle name "Phillip" for the present William Aylett, but middle names were not usually encountered in this historical period and there is no primary evidence for this middle name.
William's will is attested in a number of secondary sources and occasionally transcribed partially (it definitely names sons John and Phillip), though no full transcriptions are known. Its current location is unclear, though presumably it's held in the manuscript collections of the Library of Virginia. Unfortunately, none of the known secondary sources are very clear about where it's located. There do seem to be transcript copies held by the King and Queen Historical Society. Presumably anyone who's really serious about researching the Ayletts would make getting this a priority, since most internet genealogies seem to be entirely unaware that it even exists.
Clarke in Old King William Homes and Families (1897) made William Aylett (high sheriff of York Co., d. 1678/9), a vestryman of Bruton Parish, the immigrant father of the present William Buckner and (again) married him off to his son's wife, Ann Ashton; an anonymous reviewer for The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography pointed out that Clarke seems to have transposed two different sequences of names. Clarke also seems to have been under the impression that King William County was created from York, but in fact King William was created from King and Queen County (1702), which had been created from New Kent County in 1691. New Kent was created from York in 1654, so the York County of the 1670s did not evolve into King William and by that time, the location of Fairfield was a fair ways from York County. Land records and William's will suggest that most of the land in King William county was actually purchased by him, so it's possible that William grew up in a different county and moved to King William around the time of its formation.
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On 29 Aug 2018 at 12:50 GMT DK Clews wrote:
On 11 Jul 2018 at 16:08 GMT Ben Buckner wrote:
On 11 Jul 2018 at 12:12 GMT DK Clews wrote:
On 10 Jul 2018 at 19:33 GMT Ben Buckner wrote:
On 10 Jul 2018 at 18:16 GMT Ben Buckner wrote:
On 10 Jul 2018 at 17:42 GMT Ben Buckner wrote:
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