Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History

William P. Aylett Letter to W. Winston Fontaine

Manuscript Collection: MC192

Collection Summary

Creator: Aylett, William P.
Title: William P. Aylett letter to W. Winston Fontaine
Dates: 1853
Abstract: This 1853 letter is written by William P. Aylett to his younger cousin providing him with anecdotes and advice regarding his recent and rash engagement.
Identification: MC192
Quantity: 3 items
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History, La Porte, Texas

Creator Sketch

William Winston Fontaine was born on November 27, 1834, in Montville, Virginia, son of Willliam Spotswood and Sarah Aylett Fontaine. Fontaine was the great-grandson of Patrick Henry. William W. Fontaine graduated from the University of Virginia in 1859 and taught mathematics and Latin at Pegram School in Richmond. In 1861, Fontaine married Mary Burroughs; they had six children.

Fontaine enlisted in the Henrico Artillery before the start of the Civil War and in 1862 was commissioned colonel to raise a regiment of a state unit: the Virginia State Line. However, he was unsuccessful at this and returned to the army as captain and drillmaster of the Forty-sixth Battalion, Virginia Cavalry. He was captured scouting behind enemy lines in 1864 and was not paroled until 1865.

After the war, Fontaine relocated to Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he established Spotswood Female institute. He was president of Baylor Female Institute from 1871 to 1875, when he organized the Texas Female Institute at Austin. Fontaine helped to organize William Carey Crane College, at Independence, Texas, where he taught until 1889. Fontaine died in Jackson, Mississippi, on November 2, 1917, and is buried in Cedar Lawn Cemetery, Jackson.

Scope and Content Note

The William P. Aylett Letter to W. Winston Fontaine is a 20 page hand-written letter dated in 1853 between cousins; Aylett seeks to dissuade an 18-year-old Fontaine from marrying their older cousin, Pattie Redd, age 20, by providing his own experience and reasons why he should end the "faux pas." Also included are two typed copies of a transcription.


Arrangement is chronological.


Restrictions on Access


Terms Governing Use

Open for research by appointment.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the San Jacinto Museum of History. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Jacinto Museum of History as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Index Terms

Aylett, William P.
Fontaine, W. Winston
Redd, Pattie

Administrative Information


[Identification of Item], William P. Aylett Letter to W. Winston Fontaine, MC192, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.


Eugene Digges, February 1940.

Processing Information

Processed by Lisa M. Lomas, 2012.


"Fontaine, William Winston." The Handbook of Texas Online.


box folder
170.3 1 Correspondence, 1853 August 23

box folder
170.3 2 Correspondence, undated