So, I figured it out, just thought I would come back and post what I did in case anyone searches with the same problem and finds this thread.
I didn't have any Aspell dictionaries installed, so gtkspell was working fine, but when it called aspell to check the spelling, it came back blank.
So I went to ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/aspell/dict
and downloaded the English dictionary, decompressed it, configured it and now everything works fine.
I also fooled around with my locale settings, using both "export LC_AL=en_US" but it wouldn't stick, so I actually edited /etc/default/locale to make en_US my default language.
So, I figured it out, hope anyone that has the same problem does too.