Submitted by by Jean Griesan
3138 West Platte Ave
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
Last updated January 21, 2004
Columbus Gillett was born about 1815 to 1816 in Ohio. He was the son of Joel Gillett and Cloa (Griswold) Gillett, the seventh child born to this union. The Gillett family was moving around during these years, so Columbus was probably born in Marietta, Washington County, Ohio, or in Lawrence County, Ohio. He lived with his family in Lawrence County, Ohio. His mother died in 1820, and his father remarried to a widow, Azuba (Pingrey) Risley. She and Joel had two children together in 1821 and 1823. Columbus’ father, Joel, died in October of 1823, when Columbus was about 8. It is unknown what happened to the Gillett children after their parents died, but it is believed that Azuba Gillett, Columbus’ stepmother, did not take over as the head of the family. The children, even Azuba’s own children with Joel Gillett, mostly stayed in Lawrence County, Ohio, while Azuba moved south to Louisiana. It is possible that the oldest of the Gillett children took in their brothers and sisters until they were old enough to live on their own.
Columbus moved south at some point and married Anna Marie Bilbo. They were married on May 20, 1840 in Opelousas, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. At this time, there was no regular priest that was available in Calcasieu Parish, so couples had to travel 75 miles to Opelousas to get married. Anna Bilbo and her family were living in Lake Charles at the time. Anna was born on June 12, 1820 in Jackson County, Mississippi (now George County, Mississippi). She was the daughter of Thomas and Anna Marie (Lawrence) Bilbo. Thomas was a prominent member of society in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Anna had several streets in Lake Charles named after her: Anna Street and Bilbo Street. The family lived in west Louisiana, and must have seen numerous settlers fleeing their Texas settlements when Santa Anna and his Mexican army came to claim Texas as their own. It is said that Santa Anna himself stayed at the home of Thomas Bilbo after his capture, when he and his captors were on their way to Washington D.C. Anna’s father, Thomas, died on September 20, 1846 leaving Columbus Gillett as one of the executors of his will. It is assumed that Columbus and Anna settled there in the Lake Charles area, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, in 1840, as they are there in the 1850 census as well. Columbus was listed as a Planter in the 1850 census.
Sometime between 1851 and 1854, the Gillett family moved to Circleville, Williamson County, Texas. Texas had become a state in 1845 after several wars with Mexico. The Gillett family shows up there in Circleville in the 1860 census. Columbus was listed as being a Mill Owner and Keeper. In May of 1866, the family planned to move west to find a better place.
By January of 1870 (and probably much before) the Gillett family is in the community of Los Nietos, Los Nietos Township, Los Angeles County, California. Many of the farmers of the area were eager to sell their property as they had just come out of drought times. It is likely that he was able to buy an existing farm. By 1867, the community of Los Nietos was sufficiently settled to have its own post office. They are in the 1870 census there in California. Columbus is listed in the census as a Farmer. He was also doing carpentry for the railroad company there in California. In several places, there were references of him being a Methodist Minister as well. He was listed as a Methodist Minister in the First United Methodist Church on Fort Street in Los Angeles County, California for part of 1869.
Columbus and Anna, sometimes known as “Ann”, had the following children:
1. Winchester was born in 1841 in Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana (assumed). He was a farmer. It is unknown if he ever married, but he appears in the 1880 census as single at the age of 39. He died on May 5, 1900 in Los Angeles County, California, and was buried in Artesia Cemetery, Los Angeles County, California.
2. Chloe was born in November of 1843 in Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana (assumed). She married Jasper Brimer (Brymer?) on March 17, 1868 in Los Angeles County, California. Jasper was born in March of 1841 in Tennessee. In the 1900 census, he appears as a farmer. The 1900 census shows that Chloe is the mother of 4 children, all of which are living. The following children are living with them in the 1900 census: John Brymer, born April 1873 in California, a barber in 1900; and Mattie Brymer, born July 1879 in California.
3. Thomas was born on October 25, 1846 or 1847 in Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana (assumed). He married Mary Jane Farris on February 11, 1870 in Los Angeles County, California. He appears with his family as a farmer in the Glendale Precinct, Los Angeles County, California in the 1900 census. Mary Jane, his wife, was born in Illinois in November 1850. She is the mother of three children: Clara C. Gillett, born about 1872 in California; Laura (Laurie) E. Gillett, born about 1874 in California, with married name Laurie Thaxter, died in December 1932, buried at Grand View Memorial Park, Glendale, California; and Thomas Columbus Gillett, born in October 5, 1880 in Arizona, died May 20, 1944, buried at Grand View Memorial Park, Glendale, California. Thomas Gillett, the father, died August 13, 1922 in Glendale, Los Angeles County, California. His death certificate lists him as a retired rancher. Thomas was buried in Grand View Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Thomas’s wife, Mary Jane, died on January 11, 1907 in Los Angeles County, California, and she is also buried in Grand View Memorial Park.
4. Zachary was born in March of 1849 in Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana (assumed). He was a farmer and was living in Downey, Los Nietos Township, Los Angeles County, California in 1873. By 1900, he shows up in Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, Wyoming as an undertaker. He is single.
5. Ann (Anna, Annie or Addie) was born in August 28, 1851 (or 1852?) in Louisiana. She married John Dolland on January 23, 1870 in Los Angeles County, California. John Dolland was born in August of 1838 in Ireland. In the 1900 census, they are living on a farm in Downey Township, Los Angeles County, California. John is a farmer. Ann is listed as the mother of 8 children, 6 of which were still living in 1900. Their children include the following: Edward, born about 1871; Ella, born about 1872; Grace Dolland, born May 24, 1874 in California, married (first name unknown) Baker, died October 16, 1959; John G. Dolland, born in June of 1878 in California, a farm laborer in 1900; Jessie Dolland, born in July of 1884 in California, attending school in 1900; Marguerite Dolland, born in May 9, 1889 in California, attending school in 1900, married (first name unknown) White, died May 16, 1943; and Emit R. Dolland, born in May of 1893 in California, attending school in 1900. Ann died on November 14, 1911 in Los Angeles County, California of Typhoid Fever.
6. Jane (Jennie) M. was born on February 18, 1854 in Texas. It is believed that she never married as she died with the last name of Gillett. She is single and living with her mother in the 1900 census. She died in Santa Monica, California on February 4, 1928, and was buried in Artesia Cemetery, Los Angeles County, California.
7. Sarah was born about March of 1856 in Texas. She married a man named (first name unknown) Sims before the 1880 census. She is widowed, having never had any children, and living with her mother in the 1900 census.
8. Laura E. was born in August of 1862 in Texas. She never married. She is living with her mother in the 1900 census. She died on January 18, 1905 in Los Angeles County, California, and was buried in Artesia Cemetery, Los Angeles County, California.
9. Theodore Columbus was born on November 16, 1865 in Circleville, Williamson County, Texas. In the 1900 census, he is living in Los Nietos Township, Los Angeles County, California. He is single and is a dairyman. He married Carrie P. Stiffler on April 1, 1905 in Los Angeles County, California. Carrie was born on September 8, 1876. They had at least the following child: Billie G. Gillett, born on February 28, 1912 in California, married (first name unknown) Rauh, died December 18, 1980. Theodore died on December 30, 1933 in Los Angeles, California. Carrie died on August 28, 1958. They are both buried in Artesia Cemetery, Los Angeles County, California.
Columbus and Ann Gillett both appear in the 1870 census in Los Nietos Township, Los Angeles County, California. There is also a reference to Columbus in Los Nietos for the Great Register of Los Angeles for 1873 (a voter’s registration). Columbus does not appear in the 1880 census, but Ann appears, listed as a widow. It appears as though Columbus died between the dates of 1873 and 1880. Ann appears in the 1900 census, so it appears that she died after June of 1900. It is unknown as to exactly when either Columbus or Ann died or where either of them is buried.
1. Federal census information from 1850, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.
2. Federal census information from 1860, Williamson County, Texas.
3. Federal census information from 1870, Los Angeles County, California.
4. Federal census information from 1880, Los Angeles County, California.
5. Federal census information from 1900, Los Angeles County, California.
6. Federal census information from 1900, Sweetwater County, Wyoming.
7. Louisiana birth information from the Latter Day Saints (LDS) website.
8. Information on the Bilbo family from “Mallen” at the website:
9. Information on the Bilbo family from Kathy Earley at the website:
10. Death certificates of Theodore C. Gillett, Thomas Gillett, Jennie (Jane) Gillett and Annie (Gillett) Dolland, Los Angeles County, California.
11. Marriage information from Los Angeles County, California.
12. Gillett research done by Bob and Kathy Lewis.
13. “The Tales of a Great-Grandfather, Part 3” by Thomas A. Walton, published in the Ironton Register, Lawrence County, Ohio, 15 October 1874
14. Research on Columbus Gillett by Robert Gillette of the Gillette Historical Society.
15. Letters written by Columbus Gillett to his brother, Alanson Gillett, dated March 1866 and January 1870, transcribed by Margaret P. Scott.
16. “Louisiana Marriages, Early to 1850“, Liahona Research by Heritage Quest, Bountiful Utah, 1999.
17. Los Nietos, California research done by Lester M. Powers.
18. Great Register of Los Angeles County (Voter’s Registration) for 1873 provided by the Los Angeles Public Library at website:
19. Rootsweb California Death Index at website:
20. “Los Angeles County Marriages” (August 1851 – May 1877) published by the Southern California Genealogical Society.
21. “Reid’s Scrapbook” from the archives at McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Louisiana.
22. Article on Fort Street M.E. Church, “History of Los Angeles County California…”, Thompson and West, publishers, Oakland, California, 1880, page 120.