|GEORGE WILLIAM (BILL) GILLETT FAMILY HISTORY||
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The Rome Beauty Apple
JOEL GILLETT was born May 28, 1778, in Milford, New Haven, Connecticut, the sixth child of John and Comfort (Plumb) Gillett. Joel married Chloe Griswold in 1799 probably in Burlington, Connecticut. She was born October 11, 1779, in Burlington, Hartford County, Connecticut, the sixth child of Jeremiah and Phebe (Case) Griswold.
Shortly after being married, they left Connecticut -- first going to Senaca, New York, where most of their children were born. Then they traveled to Marietta, Ohio, around 1816 where they stayed one year. Marietta is on the Ohio River in the central part of the state.
From there they traveled down the Ohio river to Lawrence County, Ohio, where Joel remained the rest of his life. Lawrence County is the southern most county in Ohio, at the intersection of West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. Joel was about 39 years old at the time.
Joel was considered to be one of the first white man to settle in the level bottom land which was called Rome Township. The land was Quaker Bottoms. In charting the Ohio River, there is a listing of a Gillet's Landing a few miles upstream from Huntington Beach, West Virginia.
It is a well-known fact that the developers of the Rome Beauty Apple were Joel Gillett and his son, Alanson, as told in all histories of the county. In fact, Lawrence County has a statue to that effect, and the farm where the apple was first produced is on the counties historical map.
As the story goes, Joel Gillett was a strong Federalist. He brought with him from Marietta some 100 apple tree sprouts from which he could get an orchard started. He gave a "wryby runt" to his son, Alanson, saying "Here, you may have this Democrat." From this sprout Alanson started a new variety of apples, initially called "Gillett's Seedlings".
For over 100 years it was known as "Gillett's Seedlings" but in 1935 the name was changed to the "Rome Beauty" after the Township where it was originated.
Joel and Alanson were not actually full time farmers. In addition to farming:
Chloe (Griswold) Gillett died before 1820 less than 41 years old; Joel married Juba Risley June 18, 1820.
Joel Gillett died October 6, 1823, at the age of 45.