Lee County Biography

CHARLES A. GUYOT


Charles A. Guyot, who owns and operates one hundred and sixty-nine acres of valuable land on section 9, Palmyra Township, where he has made his home continuously sinee 1861, was born in the West Indies in Guadeloupe August 11, 1820. The family is of French origin The paternal grandfather, John Frauds B. O Guyot, was born in Normandy, in the city of Rouen, and came of good French stock. He was educated for a military life and assumed the duties of an officer in Normandy, where for years his family had figured prominently in "public affairs, but his eye-sight failing him, he was sent to Guadeloupe, West Indies, where he married the daughter of a prominent planter, Miss Desbonns, whose parents had gone from Turenne, France, to the West Indies in the early part of the seventeenth century. John Francis B. O. Guyot, on leaving France, gave up his title for he believed in Republican principles. He died in Guadeloupe in 1798, at the age of forty-eight years after a thirteen years' residence in the West Indies. While yet a young man in his native land he had organized n French company, of which he was made Captain, to aid the American Colonies in their struggle for Independence and fought in many battles, including the one at Yorktown. After his death his widow came to the United States with her two children, one of whom died soon afterward and located in Philadelphia, Pa., hoping to secure a pension in recognition of her husband's services. This was granted her and she continued to reside in Philadelphia until her death, which occurred at an advanced age.

John F. O. Guyot, the father of our subject, was one of the two children above mentioned. He was born in Guadeloupe, West Indies in 1790,and when a boy was sent to Madison, N. J., to be educated. He afterward returned to the West Indies, where he carried on a large sugar plantation, having under his control from one hundred and seventy-five to two hundred and thirty slaves. At the time of his death he owned a large property and about one hundred and seventy negro slaves. He married a lady of the West Indies, Augustine Lyon, who was born and reared in the French possessions of those islands and came of French Huguenot ancestry. Her father was born in the south of France and was a French merchant, who at the beginning of the present century emigrated to Guadeloupe. His political views were Republican and,in 1815,he had a quarrel with one of the supporters of monarchy, which ended in a duel in which both he and hib antagonist were killed He was then in the prime of life. Mrs. Guyot survived her husband some years and died in 1857, at the age of fifty-five.

We now take up the personal history of our subject, in whom the people of Lee County are most interested. When a lad of nine years he was sent to France to be educated and remained in the schools of Paris until eighteen years of age. He was educated in French, Latin, Greek and classics, after which he returned to his father's plantation in the West Indies, managing the same until the slaves on those islands were emancipated in May, 1848, when in consequence all business relations were materially changed. Soon afterward he came to this country and the following year made an overland trip to California, where he engaged in mining on the Yuba and Feather Rivers,until 1852. He experienced many of the hardships and dangers of such a life, on one occasion was lost in the mountains and at an other time engaged in fighting Indians in New Mexico. Returning to Illinois, he purchased his farm in Palmyra Township, which he operated until 1856.

Soon after his return from California Mr. Guyot married Miss Sarah Graham who was born and reared in New York City but was educated in Troy, N. Y. Her father, Capt. Graham, now deceased, was for many years captain of a ship and was prominent in marine circle. He died in New York. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Guyot were born seven children, five of whom are yet living: M. Blanche, at home; Charles L. who wedded Elizabeth Lawrence and resides on a farm in Palmyra Township; Eroil O., Hugh L. and Edward J, The deceased are Mary L. and Charles A.

When Mr. Guyot left his farm in 1856 he returned to the West Indies and carried on his sugar plantation until 1861, when he again came to his farm in Illinois and has since devoted his energies to its cultivation. He owns one hundred and sixty-nine and a half acres, the greater part of which is under the plow and in return for his care and labor yields to him a golden tribute. He has made a success in this, his life work. A well educated man, he keeps himself informed on all the question of the day and is ranked among the best citizens of the community.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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