Melville Gillett(e) Residence about 1916
619 W. Main Street (former Byron D. Hamlin Mansion)

photo credit: Pat & Ernie Long Collection
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Melville Gillett Obituary

Col. Gillette Sees Things
(spelled "Gillette" in this article-ed.)
McKean County Democrat : March 12, 1914

During a recent visit to Ohio finds a Republican who can be elected Govenor.

The Cincinnati Enquirer's New York correspondent writes to his paper concerning Colonel Melville Gillette, of Smethport, Pa., Washington, D.C., and Newark, OH., as follows, which has a local significance, as the Colonel is very popular in Smethport.

Colonel Melville M. Gillette, who counts Newark, OH, his voting residence, caused a stir among Ohio Republicans in New York when he returned this week from a short visit to Columbus. It remained for Colonel Gillette to discern the down deep movement, keep carefully under cover for a month, to nominate William Oxley Thompson as the republican candidate for Govenor. Pains were taken not formally to announce Dr. Thompson as a possible candidate before or during the "get together" meeting of this week in Columbus, but it was planned quietly to urge him upon the thousand or more Republicans from every section of the state and to learn what they thought of the suggestion. Colonel Gillette during his stay in Columbus earlier in the week was taken into several private confrences of old-fashioned Republicans, who insisted that Dr. Thompson would come nearer satisfying every faction to the Republican party and besides give Govenor Cox or any othe Democratic candidate for Govenor much to think about. For years Dr. Thompson has been looed upon as the most popular college president in Ohio, and the fact that he was once a preacher is counted much in his favor during the strong temperance movements of the last few years. He is a native of Ohio, born near Cambridge, Guernsey county, in Eastern Ohio, and grew up a rugged son of the soil, working his way through college and into the ministry by his own efforts.

Colonel Gillette came back much impressed with the possibilities of a republican ticket headed by Dr. Thompson and is no less impressed with the great preliminary campaign Dr. Thompson could make for the nomination against a dozen others already announced including Congressman Willis, of Harden. In fact, the suggestion of Dr. Thompson seems to Colonel Gillette and other Republicans in New York this week as an inspiration, and there is, of course, tearful refrence to the fact that Ohio has not elected a Republican Govenor Since Herrick in 1903. The Gillette comment is that if the Repulicans can not win with Dr. Thompson this year they might as well give up. The fact that Thompson is an ordained preacher of the gospel is counted in his favor with the present sentiment in the state, and his presidency of a big college is also counted as an important factor toward his election. It is remarked that one other college president is doing well in Washington just now, and that college presidents are sometimes remarkably practical in politics. The personal popularity of Dr. Thompson as long been marked in Columbus, and he has been in touch with state officials and legislators from every country of the state for 25 years, so that possibly no other man in or out of politics is so aquainted with leaders of both parties. Col. Gillette looks for a general push of the Thompson campaign following the banquet of last Thursday, and he remarked that some of the Ohio Democratic deligation in congress he met in Washington in east were not so happy to learn that Dr. Thompson might be the nominee opposed to Govenor Cox.

Col. Gillett Dies In Washinton
McKean County Democrat; March 25, 1943

The following item concerning the death of Colonel Melville Gillett, former well known resident and father od Redfield Gillett and Mrs. Phillip Carlson of Smethport, is taken form the New York "Times".

Washington D.C., March 20 - Colonel Melville Gillett, chief purchasing officer in France of the Army Air Service in the first World War, died here yesterday. He had also been a banker, business executive and Republican political figure before his retirement in 1938. He made his home since here and in New York.

Colonel Gillett, a page in the House of Representatives while attending Georgetown University, in the Spanish-American War was a sergeant in the Thid New York Volunteer Infantry and later served two terms on the staff of Govenor Nash of Ohio. He was a delegate to the 1920 Republican National Convention and at one time was Republican nominee for the House from the Seventeenth Ohio District.

His business career included participation in the formation of three banks and several gas companies, one of which, in Augusta, GA., he served as a vice president. He was a former executive of the Great Southern Lumber Company and for ten years before his retirement was assistant to the president of the American Gas and Electric Company.

Colonel Gillett leaves a widow, CatherineEader Gillett, and two children by a former marriage, Redfield Gillett and Mrs. Philip Carlson both of Smethport, PA.

Funeral services will be held in Washington with interment in the National Cemetary at Arlington.