Gillet, Ransom H.

Born: 1800-01-27 Columbia County, New York

Died: 1876-10-24 Washington, D.C.

Ransom H. Gillet was an attorney, postmaster, U.S. Representative, and federal government official. Born in New Lebanon, New York, Gillet, at age two, moved with his family to Saratoga County, New York, where he lived until 1819, working on his father's farm in the summers and lumbering in the winters. At the age of nineteen, Gillet moved to St. Lawrence County, New York, teaching school to support himself while attending St. Lawrence Academy. After reading law with Silas Wright in Canton, New York, he earned admission to the New York bar, commencing a law practice in Ogdensburg, New York. In 1825, Gillet married Eleanor C. Barhydt of Ogdensburg. Gravitating to politics, Gillet became a supporter of Andrew Jackson and the Democratic-Republican Party. From 1830 to 1833, Gillet was postmaster of Ogdensburg. In 1832, he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. That same year, he won election as a Jacksonian to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from March 1833 to March 1837. He was not a candidate for reelection in 1836. Returning to New York after his stint in Congress, he was among the commissioners appointed by President Martin Van Buren to negotiate with Indian tribes in New York, continuing in this role from 1837 to March 1839. In 1840, he again was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. He resumed his law practice until April 1845, when President James K. Polk appointed him register of the Treasury, a position he held until May 1847, when Polk named him solicitor of the Treasury. He remained solicitor until October 1849. Gillet again returned to his law practice, practicing until 1855, when he became assistant attorney general, holding that post until 1858, when he resigned to become solicitor of the Court of Claims. In 1860, Gillet was living in Washington, DC's Ward 2 and owned real estate valued at $45,000 and had a personal estate of $30,000. He remained solicitor of the Court of Claims until 1861. In 1864, Gillet retired from public life to take up literary pursuits.

U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 2, Washington, District of Columbia, 207; History of Columbia County, New York (Philadelphia: Everts & Ensign, 1878), 305; Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 1092.