GILLETTE, CHARLES (1813–1869). Charles Gillette, Episcopal clergyman, was born in Connecticut on February 5, 1813. He attended Trinity College at Hartford and taught at Episcopal High School before entering the Virginia Episcopal Seminary. He was ordained to the ministry in 1842 and became rector of Christ Church, Houston, Texas, on February 8, 1843. He first conducted his services in the Presbyterian church at Houston and served the Presbyterian congregation on occasion. In the summer of 1844 he made a trip to the United States to raise funds for building his church in Houston.
He first visited Austin in 1845. In 1847 Austin Episcopalians asked him to found a parish, Christ Church, but he did not stay in town. He made missionary tours through Central Texas and in December 1848 was secretary of the convention that formed the first Episcopal diocese in Texas. In 1850 he was a delegate to the general convention of the church in Cincinnati. Gillette married Marianne Wharton in May 1852, and they had six children. From 1852 to 1856 he was principal of St. Paul's College at Anderson in Grimes County. When that school closed for lack of funds, he was called to Austin to be pastor for Christ Church, beginning on December 20, 1856. The congregation was composed of Episcopalians of Union sympathies who had split from the Church of the Epiphany. The two congregations were reunited on July 19, 1859, as St. David's Episcopal Church, with Gillette as rector. During the Civil War he had considerable difficulty with his bishop, Alexander Gregg, an ardent Confederate. Gillette resigned as rector in August 1864, but he remained in Austin and served as principal of Wharton College from 1863 until 1865. He was recalled as rector between July and October 1865, when he was sent as delegate to the general convention of the church in Philadelphia.
He did not return to Texas but served temporarily at St. Paul's Church in Steubenville, Ohio. In 1865 he published A Few Historic Records of the Church in the Diocese of Texas. In the fall of 1867 Gillette moved to Brooklyn, New York, and accepted the position of secretary to the Commission of Home Missions for the Colored People. Shortly afterward he received an honorary D.D. degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He died on March 6, 1869, in Baltimore, Maryland. See also PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
DuBose Murphy, "Early Days of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 34 (April 1931). Daisy Barrett Tanner, The History and Treasures of St. David's Church (Austin, 1976). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. WPA Writers' Program, St. David's through the Years (Austin: St. David's Episcopal Church, 1942).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, "GILLETTE, CHARLES," accessed June 02, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgi28.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on December 5, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.