The fanning interests of Norway Township have a worthy representative in John F. Cheves, who owns and operates a well improved farm on section 35. He has been a lifelong resident of that Township, his birth occurring there on the 4th of March, 1852. His parents, Patrick Gray and Elizabeth (Smith) Chews, were both natives of Aberdeen, Scotland, but were married in Kenosha, Wisconsin, having come to America in early life. The father was born in 1833 and was only eight years of age when he became a resident of Racine County in 1841. A year later he located upon a farm and throughout the remainder of his life devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits. He purchased two hundred acres of government land in Norway Township and erected thereon a log house, in which the family lived for some time. When he located upon his land there were only four or five others residing in the Township and he experienced all the hardships and privations of pioneer life. In starting out for himself he had no capital and he worked for others until able to purchase land and commence farming on his own account. He went in debt for his property, but as time passed he prospered in his undertakings and became quite well-to-do. After a useful and well spent life he died in 1896. He was a stanch supporter of the Republican Party and his fellow citizens, recognizing his worth and ability, called upon him to serve in several important official positions. For three years he was a member of the state legislature, for fourteen years was County clerk and was chairman of the County board for a number of years.
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John F. Cheves is the only survivor in a family of seven children. He began his education in the public schools of Racine and after graduating from the high school spent one year at the Spencerian College of Milwaukee. He has made farming his life work and he aided his father in the operation of the old homestead until 1881, when he purchased the place. It is improved with good, substantial buildings, including a very comfortable residence. He raises a good grade of Holstein cattle and is interested in dairying to sonic extent.
In 1880 Mr. Cheves was united in marriage to Miss Mattie Hankinson, a daughter of Robert Hankinson, who was one of the early settlers of Dover Township. By this union two children have been born: Robert, who married Carrie Peterson and has one son, Robert Eugene; and Hazel K., the wife of Frank Sugden, a farmer of Mukwonago, Waukesha County. Wisconsin. Mrs. Cheves is a member of the Catholic Church.
The Republican Party has always found in Mr. Cheves a stanch supporter of its principles and he has acceptably filled the office of assessor for ten years and town treasurer for three or four terms. He is one of the leading men of his community and wherever known is held in the highest esteem.