Person:William Ryland (1)

William Semple Ryland
  1. William Semple Ryland1798 - 1861
m. 1821
  • HWilliam Semple Ryland1798 - 1861
  • WSusan Fleet1806 - 1887
m. 11 Mar 1830
Facts and Events
Name William Semple Ryland
Gender Male
Birth? 01 Jan 1798 King William, Virginia, United States
Marriage 1821 King and Queen, Virginia, United Statesto Elizabeth Garlick
Marriage 11 Mar 1830 to Susan Fleet
Death? 15 Jan 1861 King William, Virginia, United States

William Semple Ryland

Rev. Robert Baylor Semple, Sr. had a sister, Elizabeth Baylor Semple, who was married to a Josiah Ryland of "Farmington" in King and Queen County. Elizabeth Baylor Semple was his first wife, and they were married only briefly, as she died the day after giving birth to their only child, William Semple Ryland. William Semple Ryland settled at "Roseville" in neighboring King William County. Joseph Ryland, one of Josiah Ryland's sons by a subsequent wife and William Semple Ryland's half brothers, married a Priscilla Courtney Bagby. They lived at "Marlborough" which was a tract parcelled off of "Farmington."
  1.   Harris, Malcolm Hart. Old New Kent County: some account of the planters, plantations, and places in ... (West Point, Virginia: M.H. Harris, c1977).
  2.   Harris, Malcolm. (Old) New Kent County, Virginia.
  3.   Find A Grave
    William Semple Ryland.

    William Semple Ryland was a master carpenter, magistrate for the county, a farmer and ran several businesses including grist mills and toll bridges. In 39 years, he almost tripled his real estate holdings. In addition to farming his own property, he managed the farming operation of neighboring plantations "Gooseponds" and "Hays". He owned and operated 2 gristmills in the area - Dublin's Mill and Lower Mill (latter known as Mitchell's Mill).

    William was a trustee and on the Board of Managers for Richmond College (later to become University of Richmond) where his father had served as a trustee and his brother was President from1841 to1868. William Semple was very active at Beulah Baptist church on River Road. It is believed that William designed and helped built the church in 1846. He was a deacon for many years and Superintendent of Sunday Schools.

  4.   RootsWeb
    18 Nov 2000[1].

    William Semple Ryland of 'Roseville' by Elizabeth Hawes Ryland

    William Semple Ryland, my grandfather, was the oldest child of Josiah Ryland, and the only child by his first marriage to Elizabeth Baylor Semple, only daughter of his friend John Semple, of the neighboring plantation - 'Rose Mount.'

    When my grandfather was considering the momentous step of taking unto himself a wife, his father began the no less important one of selecting a homestead upon which to establish his oldest son. Many sites were considered, among them a place in the vicinity of King William Court House. This, however, was rejected on account of the "ungodliness" of the neighbor, the wisdom of which decision the family never had occasion to question. The final choice fell upon a farm in the extreme upper end of King William County which had been owned by the Fox family -- a place then strangely and unaccountably known as 'Floyds.' This name was in time changed, possibly by a flower-loving wife or daughter, to the more poetic and appropriate one of 'Roseville.'

    Here, at old 'Roseville' of beloved memory, my grandfather reared his large and healthy family of eleven children, consisting of ten daughters and one son. (Boys did not run in this particular branch of the Ryland family.) Here he died, just as the black clouds of civil war were about to burst over the country. The distressing news of Virginia's secession were brought to him only a few days before his death, and my father has often told me that when he brought him the news, the sick man turned his face away, and exclaimed with a sigh, "Oh, for a Clay!"

    William Semple Ryland was twice married. His first wife was Elizabeth Garlick, by whom he had two daughters: Catherine, who married Josiah Burruss; Mary, who married Albert Hill, and a little son, Josiah, who died in early childhood. On March 11, 1830, he was married by his brother, Rev. Robert Ryland, to Susan Fleet, his second cousin, a daughter of Captain William Fleet of 'Goshen' in King and Queen County. She survived him twenty-five years.

    Of the nine children of this second marriage, only three had the courage to embark upon the treacherous sea of matrimony. These were the daughters Susan and Willie and my father, Robert Semple Ryland. Susan Ryland married the Rev. Joseph Hervey Fox, and Willie Ryland married Alfred Brooke Gwathmey of 'Canterbury.' Their families are represented here today.

    My father, after four years in the Confederate Army -- first as a second lieutenant in "Carter's Battery," King William Artillery, later as a private in Company H ("Lee's Rangers") of the 9th Virginia Cavalry, Rooney Lee's Division -- was married September 24, 1862, to my mother, nee Mary Hawes Johnson, but at that time the widow of Gen. William S. H. Baylor, who had been killed while commanding his brigade at the second battle of Manassas, leaving my mother with an infant child, Lettie Baylor.

    The Civil War brought dark days to the family at 'Roseville.' A kind and indulgent father had gone to his eternal reward. The only son had followed the call of his country. Susan Fleet Ryland and her young daughters were left to follow the struggle alone. It must have been a prospect to dismay the stoutest heart, but if their courage once failed, no one ever knew
    it. The memory of the brave fight against well-nigh overwhelming odds put up by this family of strong, self-reliant women is green in the hearts of most of us here today, and need not be dwelt on, even if there were time to do so. We honor their memories and commend their dauntless courage and unfailing faith to a younger generation. They have left us a heritage that time cannot take away.

    Of my grandfather's personal character, it is fitting that something further be added before this sketch is brought to a close. He was a man of strict moral integrity, living by a code that might seem stern and narrow to many of us today, but genial, sympathetic, and benevolent withal, the soul of neighborly generosity and kindness. Law-breakers stood in awe of him, but
    it might be added, little children loved him. Although he did not profess conversion until after his second marriage, he was from that time until his death diligent in the service of his church, and superintendent of the Sunday School at Beulah throughout practically the whole of his active Christian life. In our childhood we were often regaled with the story of his unique method of arousing his household on Sunday mornings. In the gray dawn he would stand at the foot of the stairs in the old "back passage" and sing in his strong, resonant voice the carried to every room in the house the quaint old Sunday-School hymn:

    "I'll awake at dawn on the Sabbath morn,
    For 'tis wrong to doze holy time away;
    With my lessons learned, this shall be my rule,
    Never to be late at the Sunday-school."

    And he never was! In spite of the eight-mile drive from 'Roseville' to Beulah, often over the worst of roads, he was always the first to arrive, for punctuality was to him one of the cardinal virtues.

    He was a builder in a material, as well as a spiritual, sense. The word carpenter has an unpleasant sound to our modern ears, accustomed as we are to associate the word and the trade with those of inferior mental and social status. It was, nevertheless, an honest and honorable old English craft, and in early America the man who constructed well-built homes and public edifices felt that he had contributed in a very real sense to the building of the nation.

    In my grandfather's early manhood, he engaged in much work of this sort, as had his father before him. He was never ashamed of it, and it is needless to add that whatever he did in this line, as in every other work of his hand and his heart, was done to the very best of his powers, since halfway performance was abhorrent to him.

    Among the papers found in his old secretary desk at 'Roseville' after his death were specifications for the erection of many a building that stands foursquare today. Whether he had a hand in the actual building of these, or acted in the capacity of consulting architect, I do not know. I do know, however, that it was a matter of pride with him in later years, the part
    he played as a young man in the building of Upper King and Queen Church, referring to which, I am told, that he often boasted of "standing half a leg deep" in the snow while assisting in the hewing of the great sills and beams.

    In politics he was an ardent Whig, as were most of the gentry of eastern Virginia in antebellum days. The then so-called Democrats, popularly known as "Loco-focos," were regarded by their Whig opponents as the unintelligent rabble, which explains the outburst of the old gentleman quoted in the early part of this paper.

    My grandfather, like all the country gentlemen of his day, held intelligent and decided views regarding the political questions that occupied current thought. He was a magistrate of his county for years, and his clear, judicial mind, with its peculiar ability to see things whole and without personal bias, admirably fitted him for the role of trusted advisor to the neighborhood, which he filled throughout his useful life.

    As a farmer he held theories far in advance of his time. His ideas on the rotation of crops, and the building up of exhausted soils were equal to those of today. He had ample opportunities to try out his theories, for in addition to his 'Roseville' acreage he was for many years manager of the neighboring plantations of 'Goose Pond' and 'Hay's,' whose owners lived in distant counties.

    In other ways he was a dissenter from the popular notions of his time. An instance of this was his stern disapproval of the then universal custom of putting on black at the death of a loved one. This, he maintained, as happily most of us do today, was a relict of barbarism, a practice inconsistent with the Christian faith, and a menace to health. I have been told that he earnestly tried to dissuade my grandmother from following the custom, but was firmly overruled by that gentle but strong-minded lady.

    To the day of his death, he believed in and practiced the gospel of hard work. So much so, indeed, that his useful life may have been shortened thereby. That he had no patience with pampering luxury, nor indulgence in indolent ease, is evidenced by the fact that rocking chairs never made their appearance at 'Roseville' until after his death. An irreverent descendant
    has suggested that in this fact may be found at least one explanation of the prevalence of old maids in the family, but upon this point I do not venture an opinion.

    One would like, did time permit, to indulge in a few reminiscences of the dear old homestead where so many of childhood's happy days flew by in a golden dream. To describe the quaint old dormer-windowed house, the brick-pillared, brick-floored front porch, and the brick walk, flanked on either side by whitewashed stones and ivy-grown mounds, leading down to the front gate. To offer a tribute to the somewhat bedraggled old peacock, resplendent to our eyes, who set up his angry screaming long before the Vermont rockaway, filled to overflowing with children of assorted sizes all jubilant at spending the day at Grandma's, had turned in at the big gate.

    Of the old garret high up in the dormer-windowed roof -- the children's paradise -- sweet with odors of drying fruit and of hot sunshine on the low, sloping roofs. Of the spring-branch where we were not allowed to play, but did every time we got a chance. Of the wide back porch shaded by the great elm that had grown from Grandpa's riding switch, where broad solid benches were just right for the playing of dominoes. Of Miss Patsy's and Miss Judy's house, and the two queer old sisters who lived therein for many years, pensioners upon the family bounty. Of the garden and its roses, its crepe myrtles and its snowberries. Of the cape jasmine and the yellow

    One must, simply must, say a word in loving memory of the numerous aunts who came forth to greet us with outstretched arms and whose love and loyalty never failed, although sorely vexed at times by our tomboyish ways and our refusal to wear sunbonnets. Don't you hear, even now across the chasm of the vanished years, you Roseville grandchildren: "You are just too sweet
    to live a minute." "My darling, precious child, you'll ruin your complexion! I am am afraid I shall have to TACK that bonnet on!"

    Back, too, over the years, comes Aunt Jo's high, soft voice calling at dusk from the side porch:
    "Kitty-kitty-kit-e-e-e." And at the sound innumerable cats, mostly of the
    white and yellow variety, come scurrying on soft little paws from the direction
    of the barnyard, and out of the dim depth of the twilit garden to receive
    with grateful mewings the tidbits she has saved for them.

    Dear old 'Roseville,' of happy, happy memories!