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Lee County Biography
August Chaon
Viola Twp.


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August Chaon owns and is occupying the homestead on section 31, Viola Township that formerly belonged to his father, the late Xavier Chaon, a practical, successful­ farmer and a valuable citizen of this county until death terminated his useful career.

Our subject was born in France, September 8, 1841, and that was also the native land of his father who was born January 6, 1814. He spent the early part of his life in that country, but ambitioustous to try his fortunes on American soil, in 1848 he started with his wife and three children on the long and momentous journey hither. A stage conveyed the little family to Havre in three weeks time, and from that point they set sail in February in a ship bound for New Orleans, where they landed after a voyage of sixty-eight days. From the Crescent City they went on the waters of the Mississippi and Ohio, Rivers to Portsmouth, Ohio, and upon their arriva1 Mr. Chaon was en­tirely out of money. He first rented a.house near that town, and after borrowing money of his brother-in-law for his family to subsist on while he was away went forth in search of employment. He walked to an iron furnace twenty-four miles distant, and there secured work at fifty cents a day. He returned to his family, in six weeks with the money , thus earned, but only to make them a short visit, as he continued to work at the furnace for two or three years. He was extremely industrious and economical and finally had enongh money accumulated to buy a tract of twenty acres of land eight miles from Portsmouth, ten acres of whicb were cleared and the remainder was heavily timbered. He built a log house on the place for a dwelling for his family, and his wife and children tilled the soil and cleared the land while for sometime he continued to work out. He bought other land at different times until he had one hundrE'd acres in his possession.

In 1865 the father of our subject sold his property in Ohio, and coming to Lee County, bought the quarter section in Viola Township, which now belongs to his son of whom we write, and upon which he makes his home. He had but ten dollars in ready money to make a cash payment, as he had used the rest of his money to buy a team, farming machinery, etc. But he went to work with characteristic energy and good courage, and so successful was he in his agricultural operations that in four years time he had his farm entirely paid for, and afterward accumulated an extensive and valuable property, including four hundred and thirty acres of land, the greater part of which was tillable. Both he and his wife died on the home farm. Her maiden name was Josephine Debeau, and she was likewise a native of France. They reared five children - August, Mattie, Olamp, .Joseph and Charles.

A bright lad of seven years when he left the fair land of his birth, our subject still retains pleasant recollections of his old home, and can recall incidents of that ever memorable ocean voy­age that brought the family to a strange country. His parents being in such limited circumstances, he had not the advantages afforded the children of the present day for obtaining a good education, for his services were early needed on the farm that he helped to hew from the forests of 'Ohio. Coming of a people noted for their industrious and frugal habits, he inherited those traits so essential oftentimes to prosperity, and these have given him success in his chosen calling. He has always devoted himself to agricultural pursuits, and on the old homestead, which is now his, he obtains a good yearly income from his fine harvests and from the sale of his sleek, well kept stock. Everything about his place shows that he is an excellent farmer, and here he and his wife have a cozy home, wherein they enjoy true comfort.

Mrs. Chaon's name in her maiden days was Mary Venson. She was born in Alsace, before the the war, which then belonged to France, and there her parents still reside. her marriage with our subject wsa solemnized August 27, 1882 and has been blessed to them by these six children - Xavier, Josephine, Emma, AUgust, Mary and Ella. The family are all members of the Catholic Church, and our subject and his wife are greatly esteemed in their community for their personal worth.

Source: History Of Lee County Pg 436

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