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Written by Marie Darrow
Compositor - Ben Penkivich, for the Gillett Public Library
Scanned and contributed by Jennifer Bumann
Family Site  Researching Oconto County surnames


    This book, published in America's Bicentennial year, 1976, is dedicated to all the courageous, hard-working women and men who settled in Gillett and started the community growing and to those who followed through the years as the city expanded.


    In 1962 a series of articles dealing with the history of Gillett and written by Mrs. Wesley Darrow, were published in the Oconto County Times- Herald. The Gillett Library Board would like to acknowledge the great debt we owe to Mrs. Darrow for allowing us to use these articles as a basis for this book. We are also grateful to the many people of the community who donated their time, loaned pictures, and provided us with additional information.

    As Mrs. Darrow says in her first column, "History is not merely a chronology of events; it is composed of the people and the color of the past. We hope that this book pictures some of the color and the spirit of Gil-lett 's past to newcomers and to old-timers who read it.

The Gillett Public Library Board


   One evening about a year ago, Charlie Darrow was reminiscing about Gillett as he first knew it. The thought occurred to me that already we had lost many oldtimers and that each year that passes takes us farther from our earliest settlers. I was prompted to talk to many who are still with us and to organize and compile a history of our community, composed more of people and color of the past than a chronology of events. Perhaps I have missed some-thing that should be included. If so, please, anyone, feel free to add to what I have already written.

    This could not have been done without a great deal of cooperation from a great many people. I should like to acknowledge indebtedness to Charles Darrow, Eva Shier. Reverend Leslie Simon, Mrs. Eunice John, Emery Ansorge, and William Ehlers.

    The history of a community is constructed event by event until recollection of the earliest event is lost and posterity sees-only the obvious, Just as we see the facades of a building but do not know the shape of the beams and walls that support it unless we have watched its construction. Much that is good and much that is interesting is hidden from us, yet these things determined the destiny of the community and shaped it as it is today.

    Because we have among us a few old-timers who can remember much of the past of Gillett, I was prompted to get their stories before it is too late. This is the story of a settlement which became a village, and later a city, and because a city is what people make it, those who influenced its course must be included.

History of Gillett Table of Contents Page

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