California State Military Department
The California State Military Museum
Preserving California's Military Heritage
Californians and the Military
James Norris Gillett
22nd Governor of California 1907-1911
By Captain George Albert
California Center for Military History

James Norris Gillett was born September 20, 1860 in Viroqua, Wisconsin and died April 20, 1937 in Oakland. He studied to be a lawyer and established a successful practice in Eureka, California. Gillett won the Republican party's nomination for Governor over incumbent George Pardee, whose refusal to side with the railroad monopoly in his political decisions had soured the party against him. During his term as Governor automobiles were becoming more and more common in California, and Gillett pioneered the state highway system. He also worked to develop parole guidelines that would help prisoners reform themselves and return as productive members of society. Like many other governors, Gillett suffered financially while in office, and therefore felt compelled to return to private practice after only one term. It is thought that his wife Isabella, a socialite originally from San Francisco, was influential in this decision.
 
Gillett had also been elected a member of The Eureka Guard Company (unattached) in 1885. He served with the Company at the State Encampment at Camp Stoneman, Santa Cruz, CA in Aug. 1885 (he is in a photo of that event). It was during this year that the Eureka Guard Company was called upon to perform military service for the only time in their existence. They assisted the Sheriff in guarding the jail during the height of the anti-Chinese riots in Eureka, and remained on call for some time afterwards.


Private J. N. Gillett is number 11. State Encampment at Camp Stoneman, Santa Cruz, August of 1885


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