Great-Grandparents    (Father's Father's Parents)

Benson Owen Gillett

Born: June 15, 1850, in Lawrence County, Ohio, the
   fourth child of Joel G. and Nancy Ann (Radford)

Died: August 20, 1911, probaby in Rogers County,
   Oklahoma at the age of 61. He was buried
   in the Chelsea Cemetery there.

Susan Elizabeth Waltrip

Born: Born August 26, 1853 in Barry County,
   Missouri, the first child of Elijah and Delila
   (Haynes) Waltrip

Died: March 1, 1902, in Tiff City, McDonald County,
   Missouri, at age 48 - buried in the Cummings
   Cemetery just east of Tiff City, Missouri - her
   19-year-old son (W.C.), who died 14 days later on
   March 15, 1902, is buried next to her

Married: November 9, 1871, in Barry County, Missouri
(They were married by Alanson R. Gillett, brother of Benson O. Gillett - Alanson was blind)

Occupation: Benson was a farmer, blacksmith, owned a hardware store
and was a traveling machine agent               

Benson was named after the Rev. Joseph Benson. Rev. Benson was born January 25, 1748, in Cumberland County, England. He was raised in the Church of England but became a Methodist minister in America. A book on the Life of Rev. Benson was presented by Ann (Radford) Gillett (Benson's mother) to one of her grandchildren in 1892.

Before 1860, when he was about 11 years old, Benson traveled with his family, first to Texas and Louisiana, and finally to Barry County, Missouri, arriving sometime before 1870. They were not listed in the 1860 census for Ohio but were listed in the 1870 census for Barry County, Missouri. A few years after arriving in Barry County, Missouri, Benson Owen Gillett married Susan Elizabeth Waltrip on November 9, 1871.

Their certificate of marriage was recorded on January 31, 1872, and read as follows:

"This is to certify that Benson O. Gillett and Miss Susan E. Waltrip both of Barry County and State of Missouri were united by me in Holy Matrimony on the 9th day of November 1871".
        Signed A.R. Gillett, Minister of the Gospel.
It was Benson's brother that performed the marriage.

At the time of their marriage, B.O. (as he was listed in most of the records and history) was about 22 years old and his wife, Susan, was 18 years old.

On December 21, 1881, B.O. Gillett purchased a lot in the town of Winslow (Purdy), Missouri for $50. The 1880 census for Barry County listed Benson Owen (B.O.) Gillett as being a blacksmith and farmer. About 1883 he went into the hardware business with M. W. Brown.

B. O. Gillett was chairman of the committee incorporating Purdy as a town. Purdy, formerly known as Winslow, is a small town about 40 miles southwest of Springfield, Missouri - about halfway between Monett and Cassville, Missouri, near the Arkansas / Missouri border.

In 1884-1885 a town meeting was called to discuss the question of annulling the incorporation of Purdy. B.O. Gillett was chairman. In 1885 on the birth certificate for George Gillett, Benson Owen Gillett's occupation was listed as being a traveling machine agent. It also indicated that he and Susan were the parents of eight children.

Generally the surname listed in most of the records was "Gillet" (only one "t") in Connecticut and Ohio; "Gillett" or "Gillette" in Missouri. In the early Connecticut records there were a number of different odd spellings but this was the first listing with an "e" in the actual records although it appears that in the Rome Cemetery in Lawrence County, Ohio , some of the head stones were changed, adding the "e".

A number of land and business transactions are listed in the records of Barry County for both B.O. Gillett and his mother, Ann (Radford) Gillett. B.O. Gillett was involved with deeds or court transactions on the following dates:

January 22, 1876Warranty Deed Book S-57
February 4, 1876WillBook S-85
March 5, 1877Mortgage DeedBook C-429
January 31, 1880Warranty Deed Book T-566
February 5, 1881Warranty DeedBook X-194
March 28, 1881Mortgage DeedBook E-69
September 7, 1881Warranty DeedBook Z-125
October 10, 1881Mortgage DeedBook E-123
October 10, 1881Warranty DeedBook Z-37
December 22, 1881Warranty DeedBook Z-87
January 13, 1882Warranty DeedBook Z-131
January 13, 1882Warranty DeedBook Z-88
September 15, 1882Mortgage DeedBook C-2
August 21, 1883Warranty DeedBook 28-636

On March 6, 1891, Ann Gillett (B.O. Gillett's mother) sold land in Purdy to B.O. and Susan Gillett. On April 3, 1897, there was an S.E. Gillett that purchased land in Monnet, Missiouri, for $900. This could have been Susan Elizabeth Gillett.

B.O. and Susan moved to Tiff City, Missouri, sometime before 1897 as their daughter, Emma, was married in 1897 in Tiff City. Also there was a Barry County record of B.O. and his wife, Susan, of Tiff City, Missouri, selling land in Purdy for $200 on October 10, 1899. Tiff City is located in McDonald County, on the border of Oklahoma and Missouri.

They were listed in the 1900 census as living in the Seneca Nation of Oklahoma. Seneca is an Indian Nation in Oklahoma, just west of Tiff City, Missouri. Tiff City was the closest city at the time. They were living in Township 25 of Range 24.

The 1900 census showed the following Gillett family members (note: the Gillett name was spelled "Gilett" in the census record):
         Benson O. Gillett - June 1850 - 50 - Ohio - Farmer
         Susan Gillett - August 1853 - 46 - Missouri
         Charles Gillett - December 1876 - 23 - Missouri - Railroad station agent
         Clarence W. Gillett - March 1884 - 16 - Missouri - Farmer
         Ira Gillett - September 1885 - 14 - Missouri
         Clyde Gillett - July 1894 - 5 - Missouri
         Lillie Wallace - November 1881 - Missouri - Servant

Susan Elizabeth (Waltrip) Gillett died March 1, 1902, in Tiff City, Missouri, at the age of 48. She was buried in the Cummings Cemetery just east of Tiff City. Buried next to her was their 19-year-old son, W.C. Gillett, who died just 15 days later on March 15, 1902.

The following appeared in the March 19, 1902 issue of the Anderson Argosy:

"B.O. Gillett, of Tiff City, seams to be having his share of trouble. Little over two weeks ago he lost his wife, a very kind and highly esteemed lady, and last Sunday his oldest son, Clarence, about 15 or 16 years old, was buried. We deeply sympathize with Mr. Gillett and the surviving members of the family in their sad bereavement."
Actually Clarence was 19 years old, their seventh child and third oldest son. He probably was the oldest son still at home at the time.

B.O. Gillett then married Laura E. (Caulk) Davis on November 16, 1902, in Tiff City, McDonald County, Missouri. They were married by Amos Davis, Minister of the Gospel. Laura was living in Tiff City, the widow of Benjamin Davis. Benjamin was probably born about 1859 in Missouri with his parents born in Kentucky. The 1880 census had a Benjamin Davis living in McMillon Township of McDonald County

B.O. and Laura (Davis) Gillett sold a tract of land in Tiff City on April 6, 1903. It consisted of six acres in the town that edged the Missouri / Oklahoma state line. They sold the property for $300. I could not determine if this property was initially owned by B.O. or Laura.

Laura Emerine Caulk was the daughter of Elwin Caulk and Roda Scrimsure. Census records indicate she was born about 1868 or 1869 while her California death certificate indicated it was January 2, 1871. The birth dates on death certificates are the same as census records, one person's opinion at the moment. At the time of their marriage B.O. was 52 years old while Laura was about 34 years old. Laura was living in Tiff City, McDonald County, Missouri, the widow of Benjamin Davis. He was born about 1859 and probably died about 1901 about 42 years old. Benjamin and Laura (Caulk) Davis were the parents of two daughters:
         Ruby Davs - born about 1898 or 1899
         Flossie Davis - born about 1901

The first recording of the new Benson Owen Gillett family was the 1910 census which indicated that they were living in Granby, Newton County, Missouri. Newton County is the county just north of McDonald County in the extreme southwest corner of the state. Neosho, Newton County would later become one of major resting places for the Gillett descendants. The census listed Benson as Venson which created problems in tracing the 1910 census record down.

Shortly thereafter the new Benson Gillett family (Benson, Laura and her two daughters, Ruby and Flossie) moved to Rogers County, Oklahoma -- or were just passing thru -- when Benson Owen died August 20, 1911, at the age of 61. He was buried in the Chelsea Cemetery in Chelsea, Rogers County, Oklahoma. Chelsea, Rogers County, is located northeast of Tulsa about 35 miles south of the Kansas border and 42 miles west of the Missouri border.

                         Grave Marker                    Cemetery Entrance                    Grave Engravings

                B.O.Gillett Grave Marker                        Entrance to Chelsea Cemetery                         Engravings on Grave Marker

The 1920 census indicates that Laura and her two daughters were living in Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma and provided the following info.
         Laura E. Gillett - 51 years old - born in Missouri - her father born in Kentucky - her mother born in Georgia
         Ruby Gillett - 20 years old - born in Missouri
         Flossie Gillett - 19 years old - born in Missouri

         Note: The two children were now using their mother's married name 'Gillett' instead of 'Davis' their birth name.

The 1930 census had Laura E. (Caulk) (Davis) Gillett living with her youngest daughter, Flossie in Bakersfield, Kern County, California. Bakersfield is about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. Why Bakersfield? - family? - friends?

The 1930 census differed from the 1920 census as to the place of birth for Laura's father. The 1920 census indicated he was born in Kentucky while the 1930 census indicated he was born in North Carolina.

While living in Kern County, California, Laura (Caulk) (Davis) Gillett died December 28, 1944, about 75 years old.


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