Ransom H. Gillet Papers
SC11329

Quantity: 2 boxes (0.50 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research.
Acquisition: Purchase; Frank Thomas, 1944
Processed by: Jill Tominosky, Student Assistant, Manuscripts and Special Collections, March, 2020

Biographical Note:

The son of Capt. John Gillet and wife, Lucy, Ransom H. Gillet was born in New Lebanon, Columbia County, New York, January 27, 1800. When Ransom was five, his father died; his mother’s second husband was Archelous Wood. Ransom studied law with Silas Wright in Canton, St. Lawrence County, New York. After being admitted to the bar, he commenced practice in Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County. In 1825 he married Eleanor C. Barhaydt. He served as brigade major and inspector of the local brigade of militia between 1827 and 1837 and as postmaster of Ogdensburg from 1830 to 1833.

Gillet was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1832 and 1840,  and was elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth Congresses (March 4, 1833-March 3, 1837) but was not a candidate for re-nomination in 1836. President Martin Van Buren appointed him commissioner to treat with the New York Indians (1837-1839). He was appointed Register of the Treasury and served from April 1, 1845, to May 27, 1847, when he was appointed Solicitor of the Treasury; he continued in that office until October 31, 1849. He also served as assistant attorney general (1855-1858) and as solicitor of the U.S. Court of Claims (1858-1861). Gillet retired from public life in 1867. He died in Washington, D.C., October 24, 1876; he is interred in Glenwood Cemetery in Washington.

Scope and Content Note

Box 1 contains autobiographical material: 45 hand-written chapters of “R.H. Gillet and His Times,” including an introduction and table of contents; the pages include his corrections/annotations. Also included in this box are envelopes of editorials, newspaper clippings concerning abolition; local history; the Supreme Court; and the moving the Federal Capital westward. Also in this box is a typed transcript of the first few chapters of Gillet’s autobiography, and correspondence (1945-1946) between Edna Jacobson, head of the Manuscripts and History of the New York State Library, and Phillip Auchampaugh concerning the Gillet collection as it may relate to Auchampaugh’s research on President James Buchanan.

Box 2 contains over 300 short, hand-written biographical sketches of notable figures, such as John Quincy Adams, Benedict Arnold, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and Abraham Lincoln. While a few of the sketches reach four to five pages (10 in. x 8 in.) in length, most are two pages long.  The sketches are edited in the same hand. Also included in this box (Folders 40-43) are sundry papers: the 1813 will of Joseph Sheldon (Shelden), as well as papers from his estate; a stock certificate and correspondence regarding the Manhattan Quartz Mining Company in California; correspondence and clippings regarding Columbia and Dutchess counties; and papers relating to an 1851 case of Ransom H. Gillet vs. the United States Comptroller concerning a dispute over Gillet's salary as Register of the U.S. Treasury.

Box and Folder List:

Box

Folder

Description

 

 

(Handwritten) Autobiography: R.H. Gillet & His Times

1

1

Introduction

1

2

Table of Contents

1

3

Section 1: Birthplace & early days, A year at Lake George

1

4

Section 2: My mother and stepfather

1

5

Section 3: A year in Chautauqua County

1

6

Section 4: The acquisition of knowledge

1

7

Section 5: My early employments at St. Lawrence

1

8

Section 6: Brigade major & Inspector, Postmaster at Ogdensburg[h], First Baltimore Convention in 1832, Election to Congress, Service in the first session of Congress, re-election to Congress, Second session of the 22nd Congress, and My moral principles

1

9

Section 7: My first speech in Congress

1

10

Section 8: Commissioner to treat with the New York Indians, Baltimore Convention of 1840 & Democratic Platform

1

11

Section 9: Caucuses

1

12

Section 10: Letter from Henry Barber to R.H. Gillet, dated July 26, 1874; four pages re: “The St. Lawrence County Banner”

1

13

Section 11: Register of the Treasury

1

14

Section 12: Solicitor of the Treasury

1

15

Section 13: Resolutions prepared for the Syracuse Convention

1

16

Sections 14 & 15: U.S. Solicitor for Court of Claims, Practicing my Profession

1

17

Sections 16 & 17: Habeas Corpus

1

18

Section 18: Remarks before the Jackson Association of Washington, D.C.; Oct. 1860

1

19

Section 19: Dred Scott decision

1

20

Section 20: General Jackson on Marshall Law, habeas corpus

1

21

Section 21: Anti-secession Address

1

22

Section 22: Oration on the adoption of the Constitution

 1

23

Sections 23 & 24: A faithful description of James Buchanan, a faithful description of Silas Wright

1

24

Section 25: The American Union prior to the Constitution

1

25

Section 26: Essays on improving Rivers and Harbors

1

26

Section 27: Election expenses in St. Lawrence County

1

27

Section 28: Rules for the preservation of health

1

28

Section 29: New Lebanon Address, 1856

1

29

Section 30: Address on public affairs at Canton; October 7, 1858

1

30

Section 31: Address at Chatham; September 24, 1868

1

31

Section 32: Commemoration Address at Hudson; May 30, 1871 (newspaper clipping)

1

32

Section 33: Remarks before the Teachers Association of Columbia County; January 14, 1871 (newspaper clipping)

1

33

Section 34: Address before the Teachers Association of Columbia County; October 14, 1870 (newspaper clipping)

1

34

Section 35: Remarks before the Teachers Association of Lebanon Springs; October 13, 1871 (newspaper clipping)

1

35

Section 36: Fourth of July Oration at New Lebanon Springs; July 4, 1870 (newspaper clipping)

1

36

Section 37: Fourth of July Oration at Lebanon Springs; July 4, 1874 (newspaper clipping)

1

37

Sections 38-43:

  1. Speech on Rivers & Harbors
  2. Speech on accepting service of volunteers
  3. Speech on New York resolutions on the militia
  4. Committee Duties
  5. Speech on Gold Coinage
  6. Speech on Gold Coinage

1

38

Sections 44 & 45: [Empty envelope] Editorial Articles I

1

39

Section 46: Editorial Articles II, 1858, 1867, 1871, n.d. (newspaper clippings). Includes an article entitled "How a Retired Lawyer [R.H. Gillet] Spends His Time"

1

40

Section 47: Editorial Articles III, 1863, 1867, n.d. (newspaper clippings)

1

41

Section 48: Editorial Articles IV, 1867 (newspaper clipping(s))

1

42

Typed transcript of Autobiography (first few sections)

1

43

News clippings:

  1. Concerning Abolition and Anti-Abolition
  2. Local History
  3. Supreme Court
  4. Removal of Federal Capital westward

1

44

Correspondence between Edna Jacobson, head of the Manuscripts and History of the New York State Library, and Phillip Auchampaugh concerning the Gillet collection as it may relate to Auchampaugh’s research on President James Buchanan, 1945-1946

2

0

Short Biographies: Listing of Names (handwritten booklet)

 

 

One- to five-page hand-written biographies in mostly alphabetical order

2

1

  1. Adams, John
  2. Adams, John Quincy
  3. Adams, Samuel
  4. Allen, Ethan
  5. Ames, Fisher
  6. Armstrong, John
  7. Arnold, Benedict
  8. Astor, John Jacob
  9. Austin, Stephen F.

2

2

  1. Bainbridge, William
  2. Baldwin, Abraham
  3. Baldwin, Henry
  4. Barber, Francis
  5. Barbour, Philip
  6. Barlow, Joel
  7. Barney, Joshua
  8. Barry, John
  9. Bartlet, Josiah
  10. Bayand, James A.

2

3

  1. Beck, Theodrick
  2. Bell, John
  3. Benton, Thomas H.
  4. Berrien, J. McPherson
  5. Bibb, George M.
  6. Biddle, Nicholas
  7. Blair, John
  8. Blount, William
  9. Boone, Daniel
  10. Boudinot, Elias

2

4

  1. Boudich, Nathaniel
  2. Bradford, William
  3. Bradley, William C.
  4. Brandt, Joseph
  5. Braxton, Carter
  6. Brooks, John
  7. Brown, Aaron V.
  8. Brown, Charles Brockton
  9. Brown, Jacob

2

5

(Missing) Items 39-43

2

6

  1. Carson, Christopher
  2. Calvert, Leonard
  3. Calhoun, John C.
  4. Cambreleng, Churchill C.
  5. Carroll, Charles
  6. Cass, Lewis
  7. Catron, John
  8. Chase, Samuel
  9. Chancy, Isaac
  10. Chittenden, Martin

2

7

  1. Clay, Henry
  2. Claiborne, William C.C.
  3. Clark, Abraham
  4. Clark, George
  5. Clark, William
  6. Clayton, John M.
  7. Clinton, DeWitt
  8. Clinton, George
  9. Clymer, George

2

8

  1. Cobb, Howell
  2. Cranch, William
  3. Crawford, William H.
  4. Crittendon, John J.
  5. Crockett, David
  6. Cushing, William
  7. Custis, George Washington Parke

2

9

  1. Dale, Richard
  2. Dallas, Alexander J.
  3. Dallas, George M.
  4. Daniel, Peter V.
  5. Deane, Silas
  6. Decatur, Stephen
  7. Dickerson, Mahlon
  8. Dekalb, John
  9. Dearborn, Henry
  10. Dodge, Henry

2

10

  1. Dickerson, John
  2. Douglas, Stephen A.
  3. Dromgoole, George

2

11

  1. Eaton, William
  2. Ellery, William
  3. Ellsworth, Oliver
  4. Everett, Edward
  5. Erving, Charles
  6. Ewing, Thomas

2

12

  1. Fillmore, William
  2. Floyd, William
  3. Forsyth, John
  4. Franklin, Benjamin
  5. Fulton, Robert

2

13

  1.   [Missing]
  2. Gates, Horatio
  3. Gaines, Edmund P.
  4. Gansevoort, Peter
  5. Gaston, William
  6. Girard, Stephen
  7. Gerry, Elbridge
  8. Giddings, Joshua
  9. Gist, Mordecai
  10. Granger, Gideon

2

14

  1. Green, Nathanie
  2. Grier, Robert C.
  3. Griswold, Roger
  4. Grundy, Felix
  5. Gwinnett, Button

2

15

  1. Habursham, Joseph
  2. Hall, Lyman
  3. Hamilton, Alexander
  4. Hampton, Wade
  5. Hancock, John
  6. Harrison, Benjamin
  7. Harrison, William H.
  8. Hart, John
  9. Hassler, Ferdinand R.
  10. Hayne, Robert Y.

2

16

  1. Hendricks, William
  2. Henry, Patrick
  3. Hennepin, Louis
  4. Herkimer, Nicholas
  5. Harris, Joseph
  6. Heyward, Joseph J.
  7. Hoffman, Michael
  8. Hopkins, Stephen
  9. Hopkinson, Francis
  10. Hooper, William

2

17

  1. Houston, Samuel
  2. Howard, John E.
  3. Hudson, Henry
  4. Hull, Isaac
  5. Humphreys, David
  6. Huntington, Samuel

2

18

  1. Iredell, James
  2. Irving, Washington

2

19

  1. Jackson, Andrew
  2. Jay, John
  3. Jefferson, Thomas
  4. Jones, John Paul
  5. [Missing] Johnson, Andrew
  6. Johnson, Cave
  7. Johnson, Richard W.
  8. Johnson, Sir William
  9. Johnson, William
  10. Johnston, Josiah S.

2

20

[Missing] 147-155

2

21

  1. Lafayette, Gilbert M.
  2. [Missing]
  3. Langdon, John
  4. Lansing, Gerrit Y.
  5. Lansing, John
  6. LaSalle, Robert Cavalier
  7. Lawrence, James
  8. Laurens, Henry
  9. Ledyard, John
  10. Lee, Henry
  11. Lee, Richard Henry

2

22

  1. Lewis, Francis
  2. Lewis, Merriwether
  3. Lewis, Morgan
  4. Lincoln, Abraham
  5. Lincoln, Benjamin
  6. Lincoln, Levi
  7. Linn, Lewis F.
  8. Livingston, Brockholst
  9. Livingston, Edward
  10. Livingston, Philip
  11. Livingston, Robert R.

2

23

  1. Livingston, William
  2. Logan, the Mingo or Cayuga chief
  3. Lowndes, William
  4. Lynch, Thomas J.
  5. Lyon, Matthew

2

24

  1. Macomb, Alexander
  2. Macon, Nathaniel
  3. Madison, James
  4. Marion, Francis
  5. Marcy, William L.
  6. Marquette, Jacques
  7. Marshall, John
  8. Martin, Luther
  9. Meech, Ezra
  10. Meigs, Return

2

25

  1. Middleton, Arthur
  2. Mifflin, Thomas
  3. Mitchell, Samuel L.
  4. McArthur, Duncan
  5. McDonough, Thomas
  6. McDuffin, George
  7. McLean, John
  8. McKeon, Thomas
  9. Monroe, James
  10. Montgomery, Richard

2

26

  1. (202a) Moris, Charles
  2. Morris, Gouverneur
  3. Morris, Lewis
  4. Morris, Robert
  5. Morton, John
  6. Muhlenberg, Frederick A.
  7. Murray, Lindley

2

27

  1. Nelson, Hugh
  2. Nicholas, William C.
  3. Niles, John M.

2

28

  1. Oakley, Thomas J.
  2. Osceola, a Seminole chief
  3. Ogden, Aaron
  4. Oglethorpe, James
  5. Otis, Harrison Gray

2

29

  1. Paca, William
  2. Paine, Robert
  3. Patterson, William
  4. Paulding, James K.
  5. Pendleton, Edmund
  6. Penn, John
  7. Perry, Oliver H.
  8. Pierce, Franklin
  9. Pickens, Andres
  10. Pike, Zebulon M.

2

30

  1. Pickering, Timothy
  2. Pinckney, Charles C.
  3. Pinckney, William
  4. Poinsett, Joel R.
  5. Polk, James K.
  6. Porter, David
  7. Porter, Peter B.
  8. Preble, Edward
  9. Pulaski, Casimir
  10. Putnam, Isrod

2

31

  1. Randolph, John
  2. Reid, Joseph
  3. Red Jacket
  4. Rittenhouse, David
  5. Rives, William C.
  6. Rodney, Caesar
  7. Rodney, Caesar A.
  8. Rogers, John
  9. Rumford, Count
  10. Ross, George

2

32

  1. Root, Erastus
  2. Rush, Benjamin
  3. Rusk, Thomas J.
  4. Rutledge, John

2

33

  1. Schuyler, Philip
  2. Scott, Winfield
  3. Sedgwick, Theodore
  4. Sevier, Ambrose H.
  5. Seward, William H.
  6. Sherman, Roger
  7. Shelby, Isaac
  8. Smith, James

2

34-37

[Missing] 259-299

2

38

  1. Whipple, William
  2. White, Hugh L.
  3. Whitney, Eli
  4. Whittlesey, Eilsha
  5. Wickliffe, Charles A.
  6. [Missing]
  7. Wilson, James
  8. Williams, Otho
  9. Williams, Jonathan
  10. Williams, Roger
  11. Williams, William

2

39

  1. Wirt, William
  2. Witherspoon, John
  3. Wolf, George
  4. Woodbury, Levi
  5. Wool, John E.
  6. Wolcott, Oliver
  7. Wooster, David
  8. Worth, William J.
  9. Wright, Silas
  10. Wythe, George
  11. Yates, Robert

2

40

Will of Joseph Sheldon (Shelden), August 30, 1813, who died in September (?), 1813

Receipts of Joseph Sheldon (Shelden), of Stephentown, Rensselaer County, New York, of his estate, and of Arvin Wood, executor of his estate. 1798-1837 (ca. 60 items)

2

41

Manhattan Quartz Mining Company, located in Grass Valley Township, Nevada County, California: stock certificate made out to H.R. Wood; correspondence between Wood and John A. Collins, president of the company; letter from Horace Greeley to Wood re: the company. 1851-1855. (7 items)

2

42

Letter, dated May 8, 1875, from H.C. Bull, Lebanon Springs, [Columbia County], New York, to Ransom H. Gillet defending his argument that Columbia County, particularly Kings District, was never part of Dutchess County; also an 1886 (?) news clipping from the Hudson Daily Register and a page of notes on the subject

2

43

Case of Ransom H. Gillet vs. U.S. Comptroller, January 30, 1851. Comptroller Elisha Whittlesey ruled that Gillet was not entitled to salary as Register of the treasury before April 1, 1845 (“true copy” of Whittlesey’s decision) 4p.

 

 

Last Updated: March 10, 2020