John E. Ayres was the son of William L. Ayres (b. ca. 1820), a farmer in Rockbridge County, Virginia, and his first wife, Margaretta McLaughlin (b. ca. 1821-d. before 10 Mar. 1858). In his 1917 request for a Confederate pension, John Ayres stated that he entered Confederate service on 1 Sep. 1863 at Bath Co., VA; he served as a private in Company A, the 47th Virginia Cavalry Battalion. After the Civil War, he attended the University of Virginia in session 45 (1868-1869), studying Chemistry, Medicine, Physiology & Surgery, and Anatomy & Materia Medica.
In 1870 John E. Ayres and William C. Ayres sought permission from the Chancery Court of Rockbridge County to sell lands that they inherited from their grandfather, Edward J. McLaughlin, through their mother’s share, because they intended “removing soon to seek their fortunes in the Western States of the Union & and desire to obtain possession of the value of their shares as soon as possible.” (Rockbridge County Chancery Causes) However, there is no evidence that John E. Ayres went West, because he is located in Rockbridge County in 1880, living with his father’s family. He is listed in the 1880 U.S. Census as a physician. In the 1930 U.S. Census, he is 84, single (never married), and listed as living with his sister, Minnie S. Condon, in Rockbridge County.
Ayres is buried in Goshen Baptist Church Cemetery, in Rockbridge County, VA.
[Note: Birth date is take from the U.Va. Matriculation Books. Death date is taken from Application for headstone, 2 Aug. 1933.–JLC]
- Ancestry.com. 1850-1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.
- Ancestry.com. U.S., Confederate Pensions, 1884-1958 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
- “Application for headstone of John E. Ayres, 2 Aug. 1933.” National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Applications for Headstones for U.S. military veterans, 1925-1941; National Archives Microfilm Publication: A1, 2110-C; Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General; Record Group Number: 92.
- John E. Ayres tombstones, Goshen Baptist Church Cemetery, Rockbridge County, VA. Findagrave.com (accessed 8/31/2012).
- Rockbridge County (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1791-1958. John E. Ayres, et al. v. Executor of Edward J. McLaughlin, 1873-041. Local Government Records Collection, Rockbridge Court Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. <http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=163-1873-041> (accessed 8/31/2012).
- Schele de Vere, Maximilian. Students of the University of Virginia; a semi-centennial catalogue. Baltimore, MD, 1878.
- University of Virginia. Catalog of the University of Virginia, forty-fifth session, 1868-1869. Baltimore, MD, 1869, p.8.
- University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.