William P. Gillette, one of the progressive business men of Osborne; Kan., is a native son of Osborne county, where he was born August 4, 1876. He is a son of William P. and Mary E. (Botefuhr) Gillette. The father was one of the pioneer merchants of Osborne. He was born in Orleans county, New York, March 14, 1840, and followed farming as a vocation in that county until 1871, when he came to Kansas and located at Osborne and engaged in the mercantile business as a member of the firm of Watson, Gillette & Co. This was the second general mercantile business established in the town of Osborne. William P. Gillette, Sr., remained in the mercantile business in Osborne until his death, which occurred December 28, 1899. He had a very successful business career and was one of the substantial men of central Kansas. He was a member of the first city council of Osborne. He was public spirited and took an active part in the development of the new country with which he cast his lot in its infancy. He married Mary E. Botefuhr at Cawker City, Kan., in 1873. She was a daughter of Jacob Botefuhr and a native of Boston, Mass., where she was born October 19, 1844. She now resides on the old homestead in Osborne county.
William P. Gillette, the subject of this review, is the only son in a family of three children. He received his education in the public schools and graduated from the Osborne High School in the class of 1894, and after leaving school he worked in the capacity of salesman about a year, when he went to Denver, Col., where he was also employed as salesman a year, when he returned to Osborne. He continued to work in the capacity of salesman until 1898, when he, in partnership with Frank B. Denman, purchased a mercantile business in Osborne, which had been founded by his father and an uncle and conducted for years by them under the firm name of Gillette Brothers. The new firm bore the name of Gillette & Denman until 1906, when Mr. Denman retired and the firm became Gillette & Broderack, and in 1908 it was incorporated under the title of the Gillette Mercantile Company, with William P. Gillette as its president. The company conducts an extensive general mercantile business. It is the largest department store in Osborne county. Mr. Gillette is extensively interested in other business enterprises. He owns and conducts a large lumber yard in Osborne under the title of the Gillette Lumber Co., which began business in 1909. He is also a director in the First National Bank of Osborne. On November 5, 1902, Mr. Gillette was united in marriage to Miss Maggie, daughter of Joseph N. and Luella (Miller) Eckler, of Osborne, where the father is engaged in the mercantile business. He is a Kansas pioneer, coming to this State from Iowa in 1870, and for a time was engaged in business at Scandia, where Mrs. Gillette was born, July 19, 1880. She is a graduate of the Scandia High School and is an accomplished musician. Mr. and Mrs. Gillette have one child, Josephine Labelle, born September 5, 1907. Mr. Gillette is a Republican and takes a keen interest in party affairs, but has never sought public office. He is chairman of the Osborne county central committee, also chairman of the Sixth congressional district committee. Fraternally he affiliates with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.Pages 355-356 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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