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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Gillett

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 1463-1466 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

Gillett is the surname from Guillot, the French diminutive for William. The family may have come with William the Conqueror into England from Gillette, a town in Piedmont, France. Gillette, the son of Giles. (Arthur's "Dictionary of Family and Christian Names," 1857, p. 140.) [i.e., William Arthur, An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names.] Another authority says Gillet (in pronunciation Jillet). The name is supposed to be derived from Gilleste, a town on the borders of France and Piedmont. When the "g" is hard, the name is probably a derivation of Gillaume, William. (Lower's "Patronymica Britannica," 1860, p. 128.) According to Guppy, in his "Homes of Family Names, 1890," [i.e., Henry Brougham Guppy, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain] the name Gillett is now found chiefly in Oxfordshire, with a small representation in Kent and Somersetshire. In Lincolnshire it is found changed to Gilliart and Gillyett. In the thirteenth century the name took the forms in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire of Gillot, Gillote and Gilot. Gillett, French, Gillot, French Huguenot. ("British Family Names," [Henry] Barber, 1894, p. 131.)

"Burke's General Armory," 1878, p. 400, noted the following grants of arms, omitting the date except in one instance: Gillet, alias Chandler (Ipswich, county Suffolk). Arms: Ermine on a bend engrailed sable, three lucies heads erased or, collared with a bar genel gu. Crest: A lucy's head erased and erect, gu. Gillet, or Gillot (Broadfield, county Norfolk). Arms, same as above, lucies, heads or. Crest: A lucy's head erased and erect or, collared as in arms. Gillett (Halvergate, county Norfolk). Arms: Same. Crest: A lucy's head erased and erect or, collared gu. Motto: "Spes mea in Deo." Gillett (Visitation of Nottinghamshire, 1614). Arms: Erin on a bend sable, three lucies; heads erased or. Crest: A lion ramp., holding in the dexter paw a battle axe ppr. The first of these grants is probably explained by "A Roll of Arms, 1673," contributed by Arthur Schomberg to "The Genealogist," new series, 24:261. On this roll appears "Gillett, Phillip, alias Chandler, of Woodbridge, gent." Arms: Ermine, on a bend engrailed three lucies' heads erased, collared with a bar gemel.

Sir John Gyllot, K. B., is mentioned (1001) in "Musgrave's Obituary," published as volume 46, Harleian Society Publications (p. 109). John Gyllot, Knight of the Bath, 14 Nov. 1501, mentioned in "The Knights of England," by William A. Shaw, 1; 147.

The will of Sir John Gilliot, "knight and alderman of the citie of York," made December 28, 1509, proved March 4, 1509-10 (printed in Surtees Society Publications, 79:12) mentions three sons, Lawrence, William and Peter; and two daughters, Maude and Margaret; both daughters and Peter are under tutors. He had two wives, Katherine and "Dame Mawde," who survived him. The second wife, Maude, was a daughter of Sir Henry Vavasor, of York (Harleian Society Publications, 16:330).

Peter Gilliott, citizen and merchant of the city of York, made his will in July, 1525, mentioning his wife Alicia and daughter Matilda; his brother's children, Robert and Maude, and other people not so nearly connected. (As the foregoing is published as a footnote to Sir John's will, it is to be supposed they were father and son. The inference is that Peter had no son. The male lines then have been continued, if at all, by Lawrence or William, one of whom was the father of Robert, alive in 1525.)

Maude Gilliott, daughter and heir of Sir John Gilliott, Knight, mayor of the city of York, married John Langholme. (Langholme pedigree from Visitation of Lincolnshire, published in the "Genealogist," old series, 4:187.)

Sir Thomas Gilliott, of York, Knight, 1460, who married Martha, daughter of Sir Henry Vavasor, of Haselwood, high sheriff of Yorkshire (10 Ed. IV), may have been an ancestor of Sir John, previously mentioned. Sir Henry Vavasor died 1460. (Betham's Baronetage, 1:356. This work is not, however, responsible for the suggestion of kinship between Sir Thomas and Sir John.)

Catherine, daughter and heiress of Peter Gilliot, of Broughton, married Roger, second son of Sir Richard Tempest. Living temp. Hen. VII. (Betham's Baronetage, 2:346.) [i.e., Rev. William Betham, The Baronetage of England.] In Visitation of Yorkshire, 1584-85, P. 293, it is stated that Roger Tempest, of Broughton, married a daughter of Sir Piers Gilliot, whose wife was the daughter and heiress of ———— Thorpe.

Robert Gillett, of Thorp Arch, had a daughter Isabel who married Matthew Usher, of Featherstone; their son Robert Usher was seventeen years old in 1585. (Yorkshire Visitations, 1584-85 and 1612, p. 350.)

Administration on the estate of Richard Gillott, of Treston, was granted December 17, 1656, to his widow Mary (Yorkshire Archaeological Asso. Rec., ser. 1:166).

Thomas Gillott, of Brighton See, parish of Bradfield, left a wil1, dated May 28, 1640, and proved in August, 1641. (Same 4) Visitation Yorkshire, 1653-54. (Harleian Society Publications, 16:315) show that Roger Tempest, above mentioned, and his wife, daughter and heiress of Pyers Gyllot, Knight, had great-grandchildren then living. (The annalist quaintly remarks that the pedigree does not show whether Roger and his wife were in this world or the next.)

"Memoranda relating to the Gillet and Holcombe Families, copied from an old Bible, printed 1599." Communicated by W. F. Holcombe, Esq., M.D., to "Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica," new series, 2:115.

Records copied from an ancient Bible now in the possession of Deacon Anson Cooley, of North Granby, Connecticut. He received it from his grandmother, Lois Holcombe Cooley, born July 5, 1748, daughter of Deacon Azariah Holcombe, who was born about 1708, son of Jonathan Holcombe, born 1678, who was son of Nathaniel Holcombe, born in Windsor, Connecticut, November 4, 1648, son of Thomas Holcombe, the Puritan, who died in Poynonnock, Windsor, Connecticut, September 7, 1657. Jonathan Holcombe married (second) June 22, 1721, Widow Mary Gillet, who had the Gillet Bible from her husband, who received it from his ancestors.

Page first of Family Records: "June 30th, 1737, Jonathan Holcombe, son of Jonathan Holcombe. Departed this Life ages 35 yrs seven months and five days." "July 29 Day ye year 1737 Jacob Holcombe my son died in the 22nd year of his Life aged." Page 2nd. "There was a flood in Conn. in the year 1661 in June." "My father Gillet came into New England the second time in June in the yeare 1634 and Jonathan his sonne was born about halfe a year after he came to land." Page 3rd. "(My) father Gillet died in 1677" and that "Jonathan Gillet his first maredge Apr. 22, 1661, Mary, b. Oct. 18, 1667." "Jonathan b. Feb. 18, 1670." "William b. Dec. 4, 1673." "My second maredg in Decem. 14, 1676, my sonn Thomas born by second wife in May the last 16, 1678." "Ebenezer born in the year '80 Decem 17 his grandmother dyed in May 14, '81. Anna born September 18, 1682. 'A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds.' Jonathan born to me by my secon wife was born October 10, 1685. Merriam born in 1688 March 14." The history of this branch of the American family is traced through eight generations.

(I) Jonathan Gillet, progenitor of this branch of the family, belonged to the company of about one hundred and forty Puritans which was formed in the counties of Devonshire, Dorsetshire and Somersetshire, England. They sailed with Rev. John Warham and Rev. John Maverick as pastors in the "Mary and John," March 20, 1630, and arrived off Nantasket, May 30 following, settlement being made at Dorchester. He was made a freeman there May 6, 1635, and had various lots of ground granted to him. With the Dorchester church and Rev. Mr. Warham he and Nathan removed about 1636 to Windsor, Connecticut, where he had a lot granted to him near Mr. Warham. He and his wife Mary are included in Matthew Grant's church list, made thirty-seven years after the settlement, of twenty-one "members who were so in Dorchester and cane up with Mr. Warham and are still of us." They were also privileged, having paid six shillings, to sit in the long seats in the church. He gave four shillings six pence to the fund in aid of sufferers by the Indian war at Simsbury and Springfield, and was one of the committee of distribution. He died August 23, 1677, and his wife January 5, 1685. Their children were:

  1. Cornelius, born at Dorchester, died June 26, 17——; married Priscilla Kelsey.
  2. Jonathan, born at Dorchester; married (first) April 23, 1661, Mary Kelsey, who died April 18, 1676; married (second) December 14, 1676, Miriam Dibble, who died April 18, 1687; eight children.
  3. Mary, married Peter Brown.
  4. Anna, born December 29, 1639; married, October 29, 1663, Samuel Filley.
  5. Joseph, baptized July 25, 1641; married, 1664, Elizabeth Hawks.
  6. Samuel, born January 22, 1642.
  7. John, born October 5, 1644; married, July 8, 1669, Mary Barker.
  8. Abigail, baptized June 28, 1646, died 1648.
  9. Jeremiah, born February 12, 1647; married, October 15, 1685, Deborah Bartlett.
  10. Josiah, see forward.

(II) Josiah, son of Jonathan and Mary Gillet, was born in Windsor, Connecticut, and was baptized July 14, 1650. He died October 29, 1736. He married, June 30, 1676, Joanna Taintor, born April, 1657, daughter of Michael Taintor, of Branford, Connecticut. She died January 23, 1735. He moved to Colchester in 1702, being one of the first settlers. Children: Josiah, Joanna, Elizabeth, Jonathan, Mary, Dorothy, Samuel, Joseph, Mindwell, Aaron and Noah.

(III) General Jonathan, second son of Josiah and Joanna (Taintor) Gillet, was born in Windsor, Conneticut, June 28, 1685, died in Colchester, January 3, 1755. He married, January 3, 1717, Sarah Ely, of Lyme, who died July 4, 1759. Children: Sarah, Jonathan, Mary, Joseph, Nehemiah, Jonah, Aaron and Joanna.

(IV) Aaron, son of General Jonathan and Sarah (Ely) Gillet, was born May 23, 1732, died June 14, 1786. He served in the revolutionary war. He married, March 31, 1757, Anna Pratt, who died January 22, 1827. Children: Aaron, Anna, Joanna, Mary, Aaron, Ely, Russell, Hannah, Solomon, Mercy and Anna.

(V) Ely, son of Aaron and Anna (Pratt) Gillet, was born May 14, 1767, died December 11, 1846. He married, April 8, 1790, Phebe Hall, born April 24, 1773, died March 24, 1859. Children: Ely Hall, Phebe and Sarah Ann.

(VI) Ely Hall, son of Ely and Phebe (Hall) Gillet, was born October 6, 1794, died December 23, 1863. He married, September 30, 1821, Mary Williams, daughter of Frederic W. (5), Ebenezer (4), Park (3), Deacon Samuel (2), Robert (1), who was the progenitor of the Williams line, and a prominent citizen of Roxbury, Massachusetts, whither he came about 1638, probably born in Norrick, England, who was born December 28, 1788, died November 10, 1864. They resided in Colchester, where their children were born. Children:

  1. William Ely, born June 21, 1822; married, in Colchester, May 9, 1848, Bethiah Backus, born in Lebanon, April 22, 1829; four children.
  2. Ezra Hall, born July 15, 1823, died September 2, 1875; graduated at Yale College, 1841, and Union Seminary, 1844; pastor at Harlem, New York, 1845-70; Hamilton College conferred upon him the degree of D.D., 1864; was professor of political economy and ethics at University of the City of New York, 1870-75; a voluminous writer and author; married (first) October 15, 1851, Maria H. Ripley, who died March 28, 1853; married (second) June 19, 1854, Mary J. Kendall, who died September 10, 1881; three children.
  3. Mary Williams, born December 24, 1824, died in Hartford, Connecticut, September 3, 1888; married, May 12, 1846, Hon. Henry Alvord, born February 8, 1819, died May 1, 1877; eight children; he was a member of the Connecticut senate.
  4. Emma Louisa, born May 9, 1826, died April 29, 1856; married, August 10, 1852, Stephen H. Matthews.
  5. John Elbert (see forward).
  6. Salmon Cone, born June 12, 1830, died in his native town, June 5, 1890; he was president of the Colchester Savings Bank; it is due to his painstaking genealogical research that the Gillette family history from which this record is compiled has been so faithfully and accurately preserved. He married (first) November 14, 1852, Adelaide Huntington, who died November 19, 1868; married (second) March 9, 1870, Mary Williard, of Wilton; two children.
  7. Jane, born June 19, 1834; married (first) May 9, 1860, Stephen H. Matthews, born January 18, 1822, died May 14, 1875; married (second) April 13, 1880, Darius M. Linsley, born July 21, 1820; four children by first husband, who was also the husband of her sister, Emma Louisa.

(VII) Hon. John Elbert Gillette, son of Ely Hall and Mary (Williams) Gillette, was born October 4, 1828. He was a member of the New York Assembly, 1880-81. He married, June 19, 1854, Sarah Amanda Westfield. Children:

  1. Fannie Westfield, born April 3, 1855, died February 21, 1856;
  2. John Westfield (see forward);
  3. Grace Gatzmer, born June 21, 1865, died September 23, 1868;
  4. Ernest Simpson, born September 18, 1873, died August 13, 1874.

(VIII) John Westfield, eldest son and second child of Hon. John Elbert and Sarah Amanda (Westfield) Gillette, was born March 9, 1860. He married, October 31, 1888, Grace Fidelia, daughter of Lyman D. and Helen (Field) James. Children:

  1. Helen Field, born December 19, 1889;
  2. John Westfield, August 26, 1892.
h2>(The James Line)

(I) Grace Fidelia (James) Gillette descends through paternal lines from Philip James, who came to New England in 1638 with wife, four children and two servants, from Hingham, England. They settled in Hingham, Massachusetts, where Philip "dyed soon after." He married Jane ————.

(II) Francis, son of Philip James, married Elizabeth ————.

(III) Thomas, son of Francis James, married a widow, Patience (Tower) Farrow.

(IV) John, son of Thomas James, married a widow, Deborah (Bates) Stodder.

(V) John (2), son of John (1) James, was in Captain Christopher Bannister's company, Colonel John Dickman's regiment, and marched to Bennington in August, 1777. He engaged in the battles of Stillwater and Saratoga in the same company, with Colonel Ezra May. He married, April 4, 1765, Lois Beal.

(VI) Malachi, son of John (2) and Lois (Beal) James, married Elizabeth Lyman.

(VII) Enoch, son of Malachi and Elizabeth (Lyman) James, was a merchant and manufacturer of Goshen, Massachusetts. He married Armanilla Dwight.

(VIII) Henry Lyman, son of Enoch and Armanilla (Dwight) James, was a merchant, manufacturer, and one of the industrial leaders of the Connecticut Valley. He was for twenty-five years postmaster of Williamsburg, Massachusetts. He was an extensive traveler, and wrote much for the press under the nom-de-plume of "Peter." He married Maria Louise, daughter of Dr. Eldridge Timpson, of Hudson, New York.

(VIII) Lyman Dwight, son of Enoch and Armanilla (Dwight) James, was born in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, January 21, 1836, died there May 30, 1902. He was well educated, and was first a clerk for his brother, Henry Lyman James, in the Williamsburg store, then a partner, and finally sole owner, retiring in 1898. He was a director of the First National Bank of Northampton for twenty-five years, and at the time of his death vice-president; also trustee of the Nonolusk Savings Bank, and trustee of the Northampton Insane Asylum, serving until his death. A beautiful club house erected on the asylum grounds has been constructed by his widow as a memorial. He was most kind-hearted, and at the age of seventy his warmest friends were the young men. He stood the test of close acquaintance, and his death was universally regretted. He married, September 10, 1857, Helen Eliza, daughter of John and Fidelia (Nash) Field, and sister of Marshall Field, the greatest of merchants and princely philanthropists, and a lineal descendant of Zechariah Field, who arrived in Boston from Bristol, England in 1629. (For complete Field and James genealogy see "Massachusetts Genealogical and Personal Memoirs," by William Richard Cutter and William Frederick Adams, vol. I, pp. 312-319.) [i.e., Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts.] Children of Lyman Dwight and Helen Eliza (Field) James Henry Dwight, of Haydenville, Massachusetts:

  1. Howard, of St. Paul, Minnesota;
  2. Grace Fidelia, married John W. Gillette, of Hudson, New York (see Gillette VIII);
  3. Philip Lyman, of Chicago, Illinois.

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