A Narrative History of The People of Iowa


CHESTER JACKSON GILLETT, who is now living retired in his beautiful home at University Park, Mahaska County, has been a resident of Iowa since his boyhood, and here he was a progressive and successful exponent of farm industry during a period of more than forty years prior to his retirement.

Mr. Gillett was born at Ripley, Chautauqua County, New York, September 8, 1854, and is a son of Andrew J. and Caroline E. (Stoddard) Gillett, both likewise natives of the old Empire State, where were born their seven children, of whom the subject of this review was the fourth.  Andrew J. Gillett was one of the substantial and honored citizens of Chautauqua County, New York, at the time of his death, in 1866, and within a short time thereafter his widow came with her children to Iowa and established residence in Benton County.  Chester J. Gillett gained his more rudimentary education in the schools of his native state, and after coming to Iowa he continued his studies under favorable conditions.  By reading and study he has acquired a really liberal education, and he has had much of leadership in community affairs.  He was actively engaged in diversified farm enterprise during a period of forty-two years, and his activities along this line were staged in Wright County.  He has ever been loyal and progressive as a citizen, is a Republican of public trust, including those of county commissioner and justice of the peace.  He and his family hold the faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  By his own ability and well ordered efforts.  Mr. Gillett has won independence and prosperity, and he is now enjoying the merited rewards for former years of earnest endeavor.

At Vinton, Benton County, on the 13th of October, 1873, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Gillett to Miss Phena D. Livermore, and her death occurred at the family home in University Park April 10, 1923.  Of the children of this union the eldest is Alpha G., who is the wife of Rev. William Figge, a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church, their home being at Archer, O'Brien County, and their children being Margaret and Elizabeth.  Herbert A. married Miss Sarah Espe, and they now reside in California, their children being Gladys and Curtis.  Dr. Francis A., next younger of the children, is a successful physician and surgeon in the City of Oskaloosa, and in the World war period he was a member of the Medical Corps of the United States Army, he having been at the training camp near Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and having not been called to overseas service.  He married Miss Maude Hamlin, and they have two daughters, Phyliss and Frances.  Edith C. is the wife of Albert H. Wilcox, of Eagle Grove, Wright County, and they have four children - Eva, Milton, Roger and Marjory. Dr. Roy, who was next in order of birth, is a dentist by profession and is established in successful practice in the City of Oskaloosa.  He was in his senior year in the dental department of the University of Iowa when he was called to World war service, he having been assigned to the Dental Corps and having thus served at Camp Dodge, this state, until the armistice brought the war to a close.  Doctor Gillett married Miss Sarah Verla Giles, and they have one son, Roy Giles, one adopted child, Robert F., and are guardians of Elizabeth Ellen.  Dr. Robert Milton Gillett was graduated in the medical department of the University of Iowa, and in the World war period he served as examining physician at the army training camp at Iowa City, he being now in professional service in the United States Navy, with the rank of lieutenant, senior grade, and with headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.  He married Miss Margaret Hodges, of Oskaloosa, and they have one child, Dorothy.

In the year 1923 was solemnized the marriage of Chester J. Gillett to Mrs.  Elizabeth Ellen Crookham, widow of William Crookham, of Oskaloosa, where she was for some time interested in mission work.  She had three children by her first marriage:  Gertrude, who is deceased; D. H., who resides in California; and Ben A. L., who remains in Oskaloosa, Mr. Gillett purchased his present fine home at University Park in the year 1910, and it is a center of gracious hospitality, with Mrs. Gillett as its popular chatelaine.


~ source: A Narrative History of The People of Iowa with SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY, BUSINESS, ETC., by EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M. Curator of the Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa Volume IV THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc. Chicago and New York. 1931
~ transcribe by Debbie Clough Gerischer for the Great War