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The Family Reunion
(Held on the first Sunday in August annually)

The Aylesworth family reunion had its origin Saturday, October 11, 1902, at a gathering of relatives at the home of Joe Ludington to celebrate the birthday of Rilla Jones; Aurilla or Orrilla (7). Those present, having expressed their enjoyment in renewing old acquaintances, unanimously decided to hold a similar gathering a year later.

On Saturday, September 5, 1903, approximately 150 descendants of Arthur Aylworth met to spend the day in a social way. After dinner a meeting was called for the purpose of the election of officers. The first officers elected were William Sawyer, President; Charles F. Leeka, Secretary; Porter Aylesworth, Treasurer.

A constitution and by-laws were then presented for approval. It was decided that the Aylesworth family reunion should become an annual affair. The reunions were held at the homes of various members until 1931. At that time it was voted that the reunion should be held at the Aylesworth community house at which place it has been held up to the present time.

The constitution sets forth as one of the purposes of the Aylesworth reunion the assembling of information regarding the genealogy of the branches of the Aylesworth family who have at some time lived in Porter County, Indiana. To compile this information Ruth and Carrol Aylesworth were elected Historians at the 1935 reunion. The publication of this book in a large measure is the result of their efforts.

A committee was appointed at the 1944 reunion to gather data to complete the history and to carry on the business necessary to the printing of this book. The committee appointed included Howard Aylesworth, Chairman; Ruth and Carrol Aylesworth, Historians; Florence Leeka, Sadie Aylesworth, Ray Aylesworth and Floyd Aylesworth.

The book by Homer Elhanan Aylsworth, "Arthur Aylsworth and His Descendants in America," referred to in our bibliography has been the most valuable source of information concerning the earlier generations. His book attempts to include all the descendants of Arthur Aylworth, not just one small group. All the branches could be traced throughout the first seven generations, but it was impossible to include every one through the generations that followed without going into several volumes. It is for that reason that our book refers to none but those branches of the family who have at some time resided in Porter County, Indiana.


The committee has been fortunate in purchasing a copy of the original book which is now out of print and upon the publication of our new book the two will be placed in the Hebron Public Library for reference purposes.

The committee gratefully acknowledges its indebtedness to Mr. Edward Lewis of the Lewis and Lewis Publishing Company of New York, for much of the information set forth in the earlier chapters of this book.

Those members of the committee who have given so unselfishly of their time will have felt that their efforts have been appreciated only if future generations complete the information that is missing in this book and carry on the genealogy thus started.



J. N. ARNOLD -- "Vital Records of Rhode Island, 1636-1850" Vol. 1 (East Greenwich) page 96, (West Greenwich) pages 4 and 61, (Coventry) page 61.
Vol. V (North Kingstown) page 7.

JOHN OSBORNE AUSTIN -- "The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island" page 6.

HOMER ELHANAN AYLSWORTH AND JAMES N. ARNOLD _ "Arthur Aylsworth and His Descendants in America" pages 13, 16, 17, 23, 26, 28, 31, 33, 36 to 46, 50 to 57, 67, 70 to 73, 112 to 116, 228 to 231, 369 to 372, 374, 375, 432 and 433.

GERTRUDE A. BARBER -- "Deaths from January, 1841, to September 5, 1862, taken from the Otsego Herald and Western Advertiser and Freeman's Journal" Vol. II, page 91. "Index of Wills of Otsego County, New York, 1850 to 1875" page 3.

J. R. BARTLETT -- "Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England" Vol. III, page 60.

J. H. BEERS -- "Commemorative Biographical Record of the Counties of Wayne and Holmes, Ohio" page 156.


CONNECTICUT HISTORICAL SOCIETY -- "Some Early Records and Documents of and Relating to the Town of Windsor, Connecticut, 16391703" Pages 16 and 35.

A. W. DELLQUEST --"These Names of Ours" page 18.

BEN DOUGLAS -- "History of Wayne County, Ohio" pages 789 to 791.

BERTHOLD FERNOW -- "The Records of New Amsterdam from 1653 to 1674" Vol. III, page 11.

JOHN W. JORDAN -- "Franklin as a Genealogist" Chart "Memo of the Family" facing page 4.



In a twelve page pamphlet issued in 1840 by Sylvester Aylsworth, of Utica, New York, the author "concludes" that "three brothers" came to America:

(1) The eldest, believed to have been Theophilus, fled to Holland in 1664, later emigrated to New York, and spelled his name Elswort, the name later becoming Elsworth.

(2) The second brother fled about 1670, and settled in Connecticut, and his descendants were called Ellsworth.

(3) The third brother, Arthur Aylsworth, remained in Wales. Born about 1656, he emigrated to America in 1681, settling at North Kingston, Rhode Island.

"These three brothers were Welshmen."

Regarding the foregoing, no proof is found as to any relationship between these various immigrants. The name of the first was not Theophilus, but Christoffel Elswaert, and he was in New York as early as 1653. However, one of his grandsons was named Theophilus, born in 1681. The second of the "three brothers," was Josia Elesworth, who married, in 1654, and lived in Windsor, Connecticut.

Corroboration of the foregoing is found in works other than the Aylsworth book: New York Dutch Reformed Church records show the baptism of a child of "Stoffel Elswaerts," January 10, 16545. Court minutes of New Amsterdam show "Stoffel Elswaart" as plaintiff, September 17, 1658, in an action demanding "receipt for the payment of the land."

The "Old Church Record" of Windsor shows: "Josia elesworth and elizabeth Holcom ware married noumr 16, 1654." "Josia eleswort baptised mar. 7, 57."

The third traditional "brother" was Arthur Aylworth, concerning whose brothers, ancestry, or European residence, nothing is definitely known.

However, inasmuch as surnames often originate in local names, it is possible that this may be the case with the Aylworth name.
An English gazetteer, printed in London in 1775, mentions two localities of that name -- Aylworth, in Gloucestershire, and Aylworth, in Sussex.

In Atkyn's History of Gloucestershire there is a description of the parish of Naunton. It speaks of the handsome church, beautiful tower adorned with battlements and pinnacles and says that the church "hath an aile on the north side belonging to the family of Aleworths." It also says, "There are several hamlets in the parish, one being Ayleworth, a mile from the church, where is the seat of the family of that name, who have a good estate in the place, and are of a very ancient descent. They have continued here ever since the Norman Conquest in 1066."




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