Edwin Johnson Gillette was in Waterbury, CT born to parents Charles W Gillette and Katherine Vaughn Gillette on March 18, 1864. He grew up in Waterbury and studied at the Waterbury English and Classical School. Edwin became interested in pursuing a career in the medical profession and attended Williams College in Williamstown, MA. After graduating in 1888 he attended the University of Pennsylvania in order to further his medical studies. In 1893, two years after he graduated, Edwin moved to Canandaigua, NY. There he became a doctor at Brigham Hall, a psychiatric hospital. After more than a decade of successful practice, Edwin moved to Arizona where he resided for the next several years of his life. Whether Edwin became disenchanted with the warm climate or simply desired to live closer to where he spent the early years of his life is unknown, but sometime around 1920 Edwin moved to West Windham.
The Gillette family resided near Beaver Brook and spent many years in Windham. Edwin and his wife, Frances, were well known in West Windham and were active in their community. Frances was a part owner of Union Hall, owning 94 of the original shares issued at $5 per share in 1880; the shares having been purchased from the Anderson family. Edwin was a founding member of the Men's Community Club of West Windham, which was formed in Union Hall in 1920. He served as president of the club that year and it was not difficult to attract members; 50 men paid the $2.00 fee to join the club that year. Meetings were held on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, with official business being reserved for the second Thursday, and entertainment scheduled for the fourth Thursday. The club was successful for several years but did not meet for 6 years in a row, and eventually closed in 1940. Edwin Gillette passed away sometime in the 1930s.
Derek Saffie is an avid Windham historian who enjoys researching and sharing his collection with all those interested in the history of the New England town.