Sarah Carlyle bore seven children. Unfortunately, five of these children died young. The family Bible lists a progression of births and quick deaths. John wrote to his brother George of his beloved Sally’s depression and physical ailments and his own disappointment. He wrote “The Loss hangs Very heavy On My Wife & makes her Illness much worse...”
John then married the daughter of fellow town trustee, Hugh West. There is little personal information known about Sybil West. In ten years together, Sybil and John had four children. Only one of these children, George William, survived his mother. Although wealthy Virginians typically remarried several times, John Carlyle did not remarry after Sybil’s death in 1769. Again, John was left without a wife and now had three young children to raise. He worried about the welfare of his children as he traveled on business and left the children alone with the servants. He also worried about providing a good education for them. Wealthy young ladies typically learned reading, writing, music and household accomplishments. As a boy, and John’s heir, George William’s education was more extensive. Initially, John Carlyle had planned to send his sons to England to be educated. When George William was old enough to be sent abroad, the war between England and the colonies made this plan impossible. John’s will left provisions for George William’s education.