William P. Aylett Letter to W. Winston Fontaine
Manuscript Collection: MC192
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.
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.
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[Identification of Item], William P. Aylett Letter to W. Winston Fontaine, MC192, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.
Eugene Digges, February 1940.
Processed by Lisa M. Lomas, 2012.