William Roane Aylett [son of Colonel William Roane Aylett & Alice Brockenborough], of Newport News, descends from one of the pioneer settlers of Virginia, and from a very old family in England. The name originally appeared in the latter county as Ayloffe, and is found in Braxted Magna, in Essex. In 1612, Sir William Aylcffe, of Braxted Magna, was knighted by King James I., and later created a baronet. He married Catherine Sterne, had three sons and four daughters, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir Benjamin Ayloffe. About this time the spelling of the name is found in many forms, including: Ayliffe, Ailett, Aylett and Ayloff. Sir Benjamin Ayloffe was a "high minded, grand old English gentleman, of great nobilitie of soul, tenderness of heart in all things and times, an unswerved Royalist to the last." He married three times, and had issue only by the second wife. Margaret Fanshame, who died in 1662. They were: William, Benjamin, Henry, Captain John and Catherine.
The youngest son, Captain John Aylett, came to Virginia in 1656. He had a wife Anne, and had three sons: Philip, mentioned below; Benjamin, born 1660; William, 1662; and two daughters. Philip Aylett, son of Captain John and Anne Aylett, moved to King William county, Virginia,
in 1686, and founded the family seat at Fairfield. His only known child, Colonel William Aylett, of Fairfield, who bore the arms of Aylett of Braxted Magna, England, was clerk of the county court from 1702 to 1714, member of the house of burgesses, 1723 to 1726, and a vestryman of St. John's parish in 1731. He married Sibylla Hubard, and they had children: Philip, William, Benjamin, John, Elizabeth, Judith and Anne. The second son, Captain William Aylett, born 1700, died 1744; his will proved August 28; his executors were: Major Lawrence Washington, Augustine Washington, Philip Aylett. Anne, youngest daughter of Colonel William Aylett, married Augustine Washington, brother of George Washington. Their portraits are now in the possession of William Roane Aylett. The eldest son, Philip Aylett, resided at Fairfield, married Martha Dandridge, and had children: Unity, William, Anne, and John. Colonel William Aylett, senior son of Philip and Martha (Dandridge) Aylett, was born 1743, and was a very prominent man of King William county, vestryman of St. John's parish; a member of the house of burgesses; member of the Virginia conventions of 1775-76, and a warm personal friend of General Washington. He resigned his seat in the legislature, May 22, 1776, to accept a commission from the American congress as deputy commissary general of the forces in Virginia. He died at Yorktown in 1781. He married, in 1766, Mary Macon, and their son, Colonel Philip Aylett married Elizabeth Henry, daughter of Patrick Henry. Colonel Philip Aylett held a general's commission in the war of 1812, and possessed a very large plantation at Montville, the ancestral home in King William county, on which multitudes of slaves were employed in the cultivation of cotton, corn and tobacco. Like all of his family, he adhered to the Episcopal church, and was a stanch Democrat in political principle. Colonel Philip Aylett married Judith Page Waller, and had children: Patrick Henry, William Roane, Patty Waller and Rosalie.
William Roane Aylett, junior son of General Philip and Judith P. (Waller) Aylett, was born in 1832, on the paternal plantation in Montville, and was educated under private tutors and at Rumford Academy and the University of Virginia, graduating from the latter institution in both academic and law courses. He engaged in the practice of law in his native county, in which he was very busily occupied until the outbreak of the war between the states. As soon as war appeared inevitable, he organized a company of men, which was attached to the Fifty-third Virginia Regiment of Volunteers, and was elected its first captain. He was soon promoted lieutenant-colonel, and at the time of his retirement was in command of the regiment as colonel, the organization forming a part of Pickett's division, Armistead's brigade. At the battle of Gettysburg, he received a severe wound, and suffered minor injuries on various other occasions. At Sailor's Creek he was made prisoner' and was subsequently paroled, after which he returned to his law practice, and made himself famous. For sixteen years he was commonwealth's attorney. For many years he was a vestryman of the Episcopal church, was a member of Pickett's Camp, Confederate Veterans, and in politics a sound Democrat. He died in 1900. In 1858 he married Alice Brockenborough, born 1838, died 1895. Children: 1. Sallie, married Richard T. Goodwin, and had children: Richard and Sallie. 2. Pattie Waller, wife of Dr. George Carrington Callaway, had children: Alice, Carrington, Henry, Edward, Pattie, Aylett. 3. Philip, married Christianna Fernquest, and had a daughter, Elsie. 4. Alice Page, married Dr. Moses T. Hoge, Jr., and became the mother of Alice. Bessie, William A., and Susan. 5. William Roane, of further mention below [omitted]. 6. Bessie B., wife of Austin B. Mitchell, and mother of Austin and Pattie Mitchell. 7. Patrick Henry, single.
SOURCE: Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Editor, Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Volume 5, p. 1089
For chart of William Roane Aylett’s line of descent from Patrick Henry see HERE.