Lee County Biographies

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ANDREW GEHANT
Son of Laurent and Julia (Tonilian) Gehant

Andrew Gehant owns a farm of one hundred and twenty-two acres on section 5, Brooklyn township, and is numbered among the substantial and progressive agriculturists of the community, having by his sound business judgment and practical methods surrounded himself with a gratifying degree of prosperity. He was born in Lee county on the farm which he now owns in 1869 and is a son of Laurent and Julia (Tonllian) Gehant, the former of whom came from France in 1854, settling at Lee Center, where he worked in a stone quarry. He afterward moved to Shelby county, where he purchased land, engaging in agricultural pursuits there for ten years. In 1866 he returned to Lee county and bought a farm in West Brooklyn, whereon he made his home until his death in 1897. His wife survived him two years and passed away at the age of seventy-two.

Andrew Gehant acquired his education in the public schools of West Brooklyn, laying aside his books at the age of sixteen. He then assisted his father with the work of the farm until the latter's death, after which he came into possession of the homestead which he still owns. Upon it he has erected an excellent residence and substantial farm buildings and has carried forward the work of cultivation along modern lines, making the property one of the finest in his locality. He keeps twenty-two head of cattle, fifty swine and seven horses, and his stock-raising interests form one of the important sources of his income.

In West Brooklyn, July 10, 1899, Mr. Gehant married Miss Pauline Jeanguenat, a daughter of Peter and Rose Jeanguenat, the latter of whom passed away in 1896 and is buried in Portsmouth, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Gehant have four children: Agnes, Anthony, Lucille and Carl A.

Mr. Gehant is a member of the Roman Catholic church and is connected fraternally with the Catholic Order of Foresters. His political allegiance is given to the democratic party. A representative of one of the best known families of his locality, he has by his honorable principles and straightforward dealing added greatly to the high esteem in which his name is held.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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AUGUST GEHANT
Son of Modest and Olympia (Chaon) Gehant

August F. Gehant is the owner of two hundred acres of fine land on section 31, Viola township, and upon this property is living a retired life after many years of close connection with agricultural interests of the locality. He is a native son of Lee county, born in 1866, his parents being Modest and Olympia (Chaon) Gehant, the former of whom passed away in 1904 and is buried in West Brooklyn. His wife survives him and makes her home in Brooklyn township, having reached the age of sixty-nine.

August F. Gehant acquired his education in the public schools of Brooklyn township and laid aside his books at the age of fifteen, afterward assisting his father with the work of the farm until he was twenty-three. When he began his independent career he rented land, upon which he resided for three years, after which he bought the farm which he now owns, remaining active in its cultivation for many years. He has erected an excellent residence upon it and a number of farm buildings and, although he has now given up the active work of the fields on account of ill health, he yet gives careful supervision to the operation of the property.

In West Brooklyn, on the 29th of August, 1899, Mr. Gehant was united in marriage to Miss Mary Bresson, a daughter of Delphin and Clarice (Antoine) Bresson, the former of whom passed away in 1900 and is buried in West Brooklyn. His wife survives him and makes her home with the subject of this review. Mr. and Mrs. Gehant have become the parents of a daughter, Stella.

Mr. Gehant is a republican in his political beliefs and for the past six years has served as road commissioner, discharging his duties in a capable and able way. He is well and favorably known in his native community, for his life has been honorable, upright and straightforward in all its relations.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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F.D. GEHANT

No history of West Brooklyn would be complete without mention of the Gehant family, for representatives of the name have been most active and prominent in the development, agricultural and commercial, of this part of the county. Through all his business career F.D. Gehant has borne an untarnished name, and it has been through close application and unfaltering perseverance that he has won the success that now enables him to live retired. His birth occurred near Ashton, January 30, 1870, his parents being Claude and Mary (Antoine) Gehant. The father's residence in Lee county dated from 1835, only three years after the Black Hawk war, when settlers in this part of the county were very few. Everything was yet in a primitive condition, and the work of progress and improvement seemed scarcely begun. In fact wild game of all kinds was to be had and there were still many traces of the Indian to be found in this part of the state. In June the prairies were starred with a million wild flowers and in December were covered with a dazzling unbroken sheet of snow. The father became the owner of forty acres of wild land and began the development of a farm.

The machinery and implements were comparatively crude at that day and much of the work had to be done by hand, but as the years passed on the labors of Mr. Gehant wrought a marvelous change in the appearance of his place, and as his financial resources increased he kept adding to his property until he was the owner of three hundred and twenty acres, although he later sold forty acres of this. He brought his fields to a high state of cultivation and added many modern improvements to his farm. His life's labors were ended in death in 1901, when he had reached the age of seventy-two years. He had long survived his wife, who died in 1883, at the age of thirty-three years. They were worthy people highly esteemed by all who knew them, and they left behind many friends. They had four children, of whom one died in infancy, while Euphemia, who became the wife of A.T. Jeauguenat, die January 25, 1900, at the age of thirty-three years. Arthur, the only surviving member of the family beside F.D. Gehant, is a farmer residing on the old homestead.

At the usual age F.D. Gehant entered the district schools and therein mastered the common branches of learning before putting aside his text-books at the age of seventeen years. The succeeding five years were devoted to work upon the home farm, and when twenty-two years of age he purchased a tract of land of one hundred and sixty acres near Thornton, Iowa. He spent three years upon that farm, after which he sold the property and returned to his native county. At West Brooklyn he purchased a general store, which he conducted for several years, meeting with good success in the undertaking. He next entered the banking business of the Henry F. Gehant Banking Company, being associated therewith for more than a decade, at the end of which time he purchased a hardware store at Viola, Mercer county. This he conducted successfully for eighteen months and then sold at a good profit, although he is still the owner of the building. Returning to his native county he bought seven acres of land near West Brooklyn, which he is now laying out as an addition to the town. He is a very progressive man readily recognizing and utilizing opportunities, and whatever he undertakes he carries forward to successful completion. In addition to his other business activities he was one of the promoters of the West Brooklyn Farmers Elevator Company, of which he was treasurer for four years and is still one of the stockholders.

It was at West Brooklyn on the 7th of June, 1893, that Mr. Gehant was united in marriage to Miss Mary Henry, a daughter of Leopold and Delphine Henry, the former one of the pioneer agriculturists of the county, now residing in West Brooklyn. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Gehant have been born six children: Leafy, who is a student in the Notre Dame University of Indiana; Claude, a high school pupil; Veronica, Cyril and Fintan, all of whom are attending school; and Melvin, two years of age.

Mr. Gehant is an earnest republican in his political views, and his position upon any vital question is never an equivocal one. He has held the office of mayor of West Brooklyn for eleven years and was secretary of the board of education for an equal period. In both positions he made a splendid record of fidelity, loyalty and capability, and his worth is uniformly acknowledged throughout the community in which almost his entire life has been passed.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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F.J. GEHANT

F.J. Gehant, a representative of a well known pioneer family of Lee county, who now lives retired in West Brooklyn, is a native of Lee Center township, born there in 1858. He is a son of Laurent and Julia (Toullian) Gehant, the former of whom came from France in 1854 and settled at Lee Center, where he worked in a stone quarry. He afterward purchased a farm in Shelby county, whereon he remained for ten years, returning to Lee county in 1866, at which time he purchased a tract of land in Brooklyn township, making his home thereon until his death, which occurred in 1897, when he had reached the age of seventy-eight. His wife survived him until 1899, passing away at the age of seventy-two. They were laid to rest in the West Brooklyn cemetery.

F. J. Gehant acquired his education in the district schools, attending until he was seventeen years of age. He then assisted his father until he was twenty-four, after which he purchased eighty acres of land in Viola township and began farming independently. This formed the nucleus of his present large holdings, for he added to it from time to time, finally acquiring five hundred and forty acres. This is divided into several farms, upon which Mr. Gehant erected substantial buildings, and it is operated by his sons, to whom he rented the property when he retired from active life. He has built a modern cement block residence in West Brooklyn and in this now makes his home.

In Scioto county, Ohio, in 1882, Mr. Gehant married Miss Victoria Henry, a daughter of Alexander and Margaret (Jungunet) Henry, residents of West Brooklyn. Mr. and Mrs. Gehant have become the parents of ten children: Henry L.; Alexander, a farmer in Viola township; Annie, the wife of Johns Bernardin, a hardware merchant of West Brooklyn; August, a farmer in Viola township; Isabella; Frank; William; Walter; Mabel; and Alice.

Mr. Gehant is a member of the Roman Catholic church and is a democrat in his political beliefs. He served as school director for fifteen years and as road supervisor for four and in both capacities proved a capable and reliable public servant. His life has always conformed to the highest and most upright standards and his record is a credit to a name that has long been an honored one in this community.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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GROVER GEHANT

The student of history cannot carry his investigations far into the records of Lee county without learning how long and prominently the Gehant family have been connected with the material development and substantial upbuilding of this section.

Modest Salastine Gehant, grandfather of Grover W. Gehant, arrived here from France, at an early epoch in the development of the county and his descendants have since been very active in furthering the work of public progress through identification with agricultural, commercial and professional interests.

Grover W. Gehant was born in Brooklyn township, Lee county, Illinois, on August 28, 1885, being the eldest of six children of Xavier F. and Lena M. (Gallisath) Gehant, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work. His early educational opportunities were supplemented by a course in North Dixon high school followed by a complete commercial and stenographic course in Coppins' Commercial College, this city. He then entered the Northern Illinois College of Law at Dixon for a full three years' law course from which institution he graduated with the class of 1911. Shortly after graduation he was admitted to practice and opened a law office in Dixon from which time he has been actively engaged in the practice of the law.

In the spring of 1913 Mr. Gehant was elected justice of the peace and has also acted as deputy clerk to the circuit court of Lee county. He is also a notary public. On July 30, 1913, he was elected secretary of the Northern Illinois College of Law Alumni Association. He became a member of the Dixon Marine Band at the time of its organization in 1905, and remained with same for about seven years. Recently Mr. Gehant became a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Dixon Lodge No. 779, and is now serving a term as trustee of the People's church. His interests are varied, indicating a broad-minded man, and his social qualities render him popular so that the circle of his friends is constantly growing. He is well known in this county, where the greater part of his life has been passed, and his own record bids fair to rival in usefulness and the attainment of prominence the records already made by those in the legal profession of this county.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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HENRY F. GEHANT

Henry F. Gehant, president of the Henry F. Gehant Banking Company of West Brooklyn, has won for himself an enviable reputation in connection with financial interests not more by reason of his enterprise and progressive methods than by his straightforward, honorable dealing. Since 1866 he has made his home in Lee county and has therefore witnessed the growth and development of this section of the state for forty-seven years, taking an active part in bringing about its present prosperity since attaining man's estate. He was born near Mattoon, Illinois, May 4, 1863, and is a son of Laurent and Julia (Toullian) Gehant. The father came from France in 1854 and settled at Lee Center, where he worked in a stone quarry. He afterward purchased a farm in Shelby county, whereon he remained for ten years, returning to Lee county in 1866, at which time he purchased a tract of land in Brooklyn township, making his home thereon until his death, which occurred in 1897, when he had reached the age of seventy-eight years. His wife survived until 1899 and passed away at the age of seventy-two years. They were laid to rest in the West Brooklyn cemetery.

Henry F. Gehant acquired his education in the public schools of West Brooklyn, which he attended to the age of eighteen years, from eight to thirteen weeks in the winter season being devoted to the mastery of his studies. Throughout the remainder of the year, or from the time of the early spring planting until the crops were harvested in the late autumn, he worked upon his father's farm, which he continued to develop and improve until he reached the age of twenty-four years. He purchased his first farm when twenty-two years of age and upon leaving the old homestead took up his abode upon that place, a tract of one hundred and sixty acres, in Viola township. The succeeding six years were devoted to its cultivation and improvement, after which he purchased a general mercantile establishment in West Brooklyn, carrying on that business for three years. He then sold out and established his present business in 1897. From the beginning the Henry F. Gehant Banking Company has enjoyed continuous prosperity. The banking business is carefully organized and conducted along lines of enterprise and progress and the reliability and trustworthiness of its business methods are known to all. In addition Mr. Gehant is president of the Farmers Elevator Company and is also the owner of valuable property in the county, including the old homestead and a tract of seventy acres near the village of West Brooklyn.

On the 17th of October, 1888, at Sublette, Illinois, Mr. Gehant was married to Miss Eliza , a daughter of Sylvan and Mary . The father was a pioneer farmer who came to this county in 1848, settling in East Grove township. Both he and his wife have passed away and are laid to rest in the Catholic cemetery at Amboy. Mr. and Mrs. Gehant have become the parents of six children. Oliver, now cashier in his father's bank, was the first graduate of the West Brooklyn high school and is also a graduate of the Notre Dame University of Indiana, where he received a gold medal for having made the highest percentage in his studies among the graduates of that year. Julian is the wife of Joseph P. Soudgroth, a farmer of Viola township, and is a graduate of the West Brooklyn high school. Henry W., also a graduate of that school, is now a rural mail carrier and also assistant cashier with the Henry F. Gehant Banking Company. Mary and Albert are both high school pupils and Ruth is a student in the public schools.

In his political views Mr. Gehant is a democrat and upon the party ticket was elected to the office of township clerk, in which he served for two years. He has also been president of the village board for eight consecutive terms and has been supervisor of Brooklyn township for seven years. He has likewise been a member of the general assembly for two years and in all of these offices has been most faithful and loyal. The religious faith of the family is that of the Catholic church and Mr. Gehant belongs to the Catholic Order of Foresters. Laudable ambition has actuated him in all of his business career and he finds his greatest happiness in providing well for his family. What he undertakes he carries forward to successful completion, allowing no obstacles or difficulties to bar his path if they can be overcome by persistent and determined effort.

History of Lee County - Frank E. Stevens 1914

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HENRY L. GEHANT

Henry L. Gehant, the tenant of a valuable tract of land comprising two hundred and twenty acres on section 31, Viola township, devotes his attention to mixed farming with excellent success and is well known as one of the enterprising young citizens of his native county. He was here born in the year 1883 and is a son of Frank J. and Victoria (Henry) Gehant, who make their home in West Brooklyn and are highly esteemed residents of the community.

Henry L. Gehant attended school in Lee county until eighteen years of age and subsequently assisted his father in the work of the home farm for three years. On the expiration of that period he embarked in the hardware business as the junior member of the firm of Bernardin & Gehant, being thus engaged for six years. He then disposed of his interest in the concern and again turned his attention to general agricultural pursuits, having since devoted his time and energies to the operation of a farm of two hundred and twenty acres on section 31, Viola township. In addition to the cultivation of cereals he gives considerable attention to stock, keeping about fourteen horses, thirty-five cattle and fifteen hogs. He operates two threshing outfits and also acts as agent for the Studebaker automobile in Viola, Sublette, Lee Center and Brooklyn townships.

On the 7th of January, 1908, in Amboy, Mr. Gehant was united in marriage to Miss Theresa Stiel, her parents being Valentine and Anna (Lauer) Stiel, the former a farmer of Amboy township. Mr. Gehant gives his political allegiance to the democracy and has fraternal relations with the Modern Woodmen of America. He has spent his entire life in Lee county and is widely recognized as one of its prosperous, progressive and representative citizens.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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LAURENT GEHANT

Laurent E. Gehant has been a resident of Lee county since 1865 and has been connected with agricultural interests of Viola township for thirty-one years. He has therefore witnessed a great deal of the growth and development of this locality, which numbers him among its most representative and valued citizens. He was born in Shelby county, Illinois, in 1860 and is a son of Laurent and Julia (Toullian) Gehant, of whom further mention is made elsewhere in this work.

Laurent E. Gehant came to Lee county with his parents when he was five years of age and acquired his education in the public schools. At the age of twenty he laid aside his books and after assisting his father with the work of the farm until he was twenty two began his independent career, buying the property which he now owns. He has five hundred and fifteen acres of improved land on section 30, Viola township, and upon this has erected a comfortable residence and substantial outbuildings. Mixed farming engages his attention and his stock-raising interests are important, for he keeps on an average fifty head of cattle, forty hogs and twenty horses. His business interests are carefully and conservatively conducted and have brought him a gratifying measure of success.

In Ohio, in 1882, Mr. Gehant married Miss Mary Henry, a daughter of August and Mary (Venier) Henry, the former of whom has passed away and is buried in Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Gehant have become the parents of eight children: Louis and George, farmers in Lee county; Mary, the wife of George Montavon, also engaged in farming in this county; Louise, at home; Frances, the wife of Lewis Choan, a farmer of Lee county; Albert, deceased; and Edna and Pauline, at home.

Mr. Gehant is a member of the Catholic church and is connected fraternally with the Catholic Order of Foresters. He is a democrat in his political beliefs and while not active as an office seeker takes a commendable interest in public affairs. He has proved capable and reliable in the conduct of his personal affairs, and his contributions to general agricultural development have been many and substantial.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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LOUIS GEHANT

The agricultural interests of Lee county find a worthy representative in Louis Gehant, who owns and operates an excellent farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 30, Viola township. His birth occurred in this county on the 26th of September, 1883, his parents being Laurent E. and Mary (Henry) Gehant. A sketch of the father, who is a prominent agriculturist of Viola township, appears on another page of this work. Louis Gehant attended school in this county until fifteen years of age and subsequently assisted his father in the work of the home farm for about nine years. On the expiration of that period he came into possession of a tract of one hundred and sixty acres on section 30, Viola township, the operation of which has claimed his time and energies continuously since. He raises the cereals best adapted to soil and climate and also devotes considerable attention to live stock, keeping about twelve horses, five cattle and twenty hogs. He erected the residence and other buildings which stand on his property and is widely recognized as an enterprising, up-to-date and progressive agriculturist.

In 1908, in Janesville, Wisconsin, Mr. Gehant was united in marriage to Miss Eva Henry, a daughter of Joseph and Sarah Henry. The father, who passed away in 1900, lies buried in Kansas, but the mother survives and makes her home at Steward, Illinois. Our subject and his wife have two children, Paul and Julius.

In his political views Mr. Gehant is a democrat, loyally supporting the men and measures of that party at the polls. He is a devout communicant of the Catholic church and also belongs to the Catholic Order of Foresters. In the county where his entire life has been spent he is well known and highly esteemed as a substantial agriculturist and representative young citizen.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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MODESTE GEHANT
Brooklyn Township
Born 23 April 1826 son of Claude Gehant

But few of the farmers of Lee County have met with more substantial success in their calling than Mr. Gehant, whose push, determination and practical ability have placed him among the foremost agriculturists of this section of the State. He has extensive landed interests in Brooklyn Township, and his large farm, with its broad, well-tilled fields and fine improvements, is classed among the most valuable in the locality.

Our subject was born in Haute Saone, France. April 23, 1826. his father, whose name was Claude Gehant, was a native of the same place and was a son of John Claude Gehant, who was a life-long resident of France. The father of our subject was reared on a farm, and farming was his life work. He had five children, and three of his sons came to America, namely: Lauran, Claude and Modeste.

The latter, of whom we write, attended school until he was fifteen years old, and acquired a good education. He then worked on the farm with his father until he was sixteen, and at that age began life on his own account, working as a farm laborer in his native country, France; until 1855, when he came to the United States, where life seemed to him to hold greater promise than the land of his birth. He set sail from Havre on the 15th of March on the sailing vessel "Trumbull," and thirty-seven days after he embarkation arrived in New York harbor. He came directly to Illinois, traveling by rail to Chicago, whence he made his way to Franklin Grove, in this county, and thence proceeded to Bradford Township, where be found employment on a farm by the month, and was thus engaged one year. At the end of that time he bought a tract of land on section 15, Bradford Township, paying $1O an acre for it, and he farmed there with his brother Claude for eight years. Then, selling him his share of the place, he came to Brooklyn Township and bought the farm that he now occupies. He devoted his energies to its improvement, and has been handsomely rewarded for his outlay of time, labor and money, as he has not only developed his first purchase into a choice farm, but has bought other land at different times until he now has upwards of twelve hundred acres of valuable land, and he is accounted one of the most successful farmers in the county.

Mr. Geliant was married in 1862 to Miss Olimphy Choan who is also a native of the fair land of France. She has truly been to her husband a helpmate; assisting him in the accumulation of his property by her ready co-operation in his work, by her skill, thrift and frugality in the management of household affairs, and by her watchful care of the interests of her large family. To her and our subject have been born fourteen children, to whom they have given the following names: Xavier, Josephine, August, Laona, Margaret, Joseph, Mary, Susan, Modeste, Phamia, Frank, Adolph, Zedol and Louis. The family are all members of the Roman Catholic Church and are highly regarded by the people among whom our subject came to make his home more than a quarter of a century ago, and whom he has helped to make this one of the richest farming regions in this part of the country.

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record - Lee County Pg 652

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OLIVER GEHANT

Oliver L. Gehant, cashier of the Henry F. Gehant Banking Company at West Brooklyn, is a wide-awake, alert and enterprising young business man and the record which he has made adds further laurels to a family name that has long been a synonym for enterprise and reliability in the business circles of this part of the county. He was born in Viola township, Lee county, December 25, 1889, and is a son of Henry F. and Eliza (Py) Gehant, of whom mention is made on another page of this volume. He acquired his primary education in the schools of West Brooklyn, completing a high-school course at the age of fourteen years, and he has the honor of being its first graduate. He afterward continued his studies in the University of Notre Dame of South Bend, Indiana, from which he was also graduated, receiving a gold medal because of the record which he made in his school work being superior to that of any other member of the class of 1908. Returning to his home, Oliver L. Gehant entered his father's bank as assistant cashier, thoroughly acquainting himself with every phase of the business and continuing to serve in his original capacity until 1912, when he was appointed to his present position as cashier. He is also a representative of various insurance companies and writes many policies every year, this contributing not a little to his success in a business way. At Harmon, Illinois, on the 4th of October, 1911, Mr. Gehant was married to Miss Josephine Blackburn, a daughter of Peter and Nell (Morrissey) Blackburn, natives of Lee county, now residing in Harmon township. The father is a farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Gehant are members of the Catholic church and he is financial secretary of the Catholic Order of Foresters. His political allegiance is given to the democratic party and in its support he edits and publishes the West Brooklyn News, an enterprising country journal.

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XAVIER GEHANT

Xavier F. Gehant has lived the life of the successful farmer. With thorough and comprehensive recognition of the demands placed upon the agriculturist, willingness to perform the difficult and arduous work of the fields, he has so directed his efforts and his energies that splendid results have been accomplished, yet the attainment of success has not been the whole aim of his life. He has done important public service in local offices and has in many ways manifested a public-spirited devotion to the general good. Lee county numbers him among her native sons, his birth having occurred in Bradford township January 29, 1863. His parents were Modest Salastine and Olympia Frances (Chaon) Gehant, both of whom were natives of France. The former was born April 23, 1826, in the commune of Beulotte, canton of Faucogney, department of Haute-Saone. He emigrated to America on March 15, 1855, sailing on the vessel, Trumbull. Landing at New York, he made his way westward to Franklin Grove, Illinois, where he arrived May 7, 1855. He immediately began farming, first as a wage earner and later on his own account. Subsequently he and his brother, Claude, purchased eighty acres and operated their farm with oxen. He continued active in agricultural pursuits to the time of his death on the 4th of February, 1904. He owned more than fourteen hundred acres of fine land at the time of his demise. His wife, born November 8, 1845, in Commune St. Souvere, Canton Luxeuil, department of Haute-Saone, accompanied her parents to America in 1858, arriving at New Orleans and thence proceeding by river and stage to Portsmouth, Ohio. She was married April 1, 1862, to Modest Salastine Gehant and then came to Lee county. They had a family of eight sons and six daughters and with the exception of two daughters all are yet living.

Xavier F. Gehant acquired a limited country school education but has become possessed of wide general information. He has been a close student of books along lines of Research work, of social development and of political and religious history. The occupation to which he was reared he has always followed and has been a successful farmer, becoming well-to-do by reason of his thrift, industry and close application. In politics he is independent, voting as his judgment dictates. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity, having attained the Knight Templar degree in the commandery at Dixon. At various times he has filled public offices. In early life he served as school director for nine years, was town tax collector for two years and town clerk for seven years in Viola township. He was also made a member of the board of drainage commissioners of the inlet swamp drainage district, having served for nine years with a three years term yet to serve, having recently been reappointed.

Mr. Gehant was married in Dixon, February 12, 1885, to Miss Lena Mary Gallisath, a daughter of Francis and Mary Ann Gallisath, who are of German descent. His father was born in the village of Ageshime, department of Haut-Rhin, or upper Alsace. Germany, August 20, 1828. He came to America in 1835, settling at Centerville, Pennsylvania, and in early life he worked on the farm and in the fields. In 1853 he married and afterward conducted a general store at Summithill, Pennsylvania, for three years. In 1861 he became private secretary to Governor Girton to draft soldiers for the Civil war from Cambria county, Pennsylvania. He was mayor of the city of Cambria from 1862 until 1864 and later was on the relief committee which organized nine bouroughs into a city known today as Johnstown, Pennsylvania. In 1864 he came to Illinois, settling in Lee Center township, Lee county, where he became a prosperous farmer. He died in December, 1910, when more than eighty-two years of age.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. X.F. Gehant were born six children: Grover W., George M., Rosalie F., Evelyn E., Edmund W. and Mary O., but the last named died in infancy.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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