King William County was organized in 1702 from territory that once belonged to King and Queen County. In 1720 Spotsylvania County was formed from parts of King William, King and Queen, and Essex counties, and in 1727 Caroline County was organized from its territory. Hence the history of King William, a Virginia county noted for the prominence of its old families, is inseparable from that of all of these counties.
The main section of the work consists of genealogical sketches of some seventy-five early families and their descendants, including a lengthy history of the Edwards family, the descendants of Ambrose Edwards of Cherry Grove. Carter Braxton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, also lived here, and the kin of Patrick Henry, John Randolph, Lee, Custis, and others peopled her shores. All told, more than 3,000 names are listed in the index, including the families of Atkinson, Aylett, Baylor, Bolling, Braxton, Brecknock, Butler, Byrd, Claiborne, Cole, Coleman, Conway, Corr, Dandridge, Dickey, Ellett, Fontaine, Fowke, Freeman, Gregory, Griswold, Henry, Hill, Hundley, Johnson, King, Kinkead, Lewis, Lipscomb, Littlepage, Lynn, McElwee, Moncure, Morancy, Neale, Newman, Pemberton, Peyton, Pollard, Quarles, Robins, Robinson, Shawhan, Taliaferro, Tatum, Teackle, Thornton, Walker, Waller, and West.