Aime Van Hee (1863 - 1937)

from History of Lyon County Minnesota
Written by Authur P. Rose, published in 1912

AIME VANHEE (1880) is a dealer in general merchandise of Ghent and a former Postmaster of that viilage. He has taken a most important part in the affairs of his village and with his father formed, the advance guard of the colony of Belgian Catholics who located in Lyon county in the early eighties.

Aime Vanhee was born in Belgium May 12, 1862, the son of Angelus and P. (Vanstechelmon) Vanhee. The father was born March 23, 1839, was married July 29, 1862, came to America in 1880, and died in 1895. The mother died November 6, 1909, at the age of seventy years. There are nine children in the family, named as follows: Aime, Bruno, Mary, Modest, Achille, Charlie, Peter, Emily and Helen.

In 1880 Angelus VanHee and his son Aime left their native land and came to Lyon county to view conditions in this country and report to their neighbors in Belgium. They were pleased with the looks of the country about the little village of Ghent and before their return purchased the east half of section 17, Grandview. They returned to Belgium and through their influence came the colony that settled largely the townships of Grandview and Westerheimand part of Yallers. The VanHees returned to Lyon county and were the first Belgian settlers in Grandview township. They located on the farm they had bought and later purchased other lands and became known as the' fathers of the Catholic colony. From 1881 to 1883 there were many additions to the settlement from the old country.

Aime remained on his father's farm until 1894, assisting with the work. That year he moved to Ghent and rented the Gits building, in which he is still doing business. At the same time he bought the Gits hardware stock, but soon after disposed of that and has since dealt in general merchandise. The bUilding was later bought by Mr. VanHee's mother, in whose name it is still held. Mr. VanHee sells dry goods, groceries, shoes, notions and furnishing goods and buys cream for the Tracy creamery.

When he located in Ghent in 1894 Mr. VanHee was appointed Postmaster and held the office eight years, turning it over at the end of that time to Mrs. Matilda Blodgett, the present incumbent. He has stock in the Farmers Elevator Company of Ghent, in the Ghent Rural Telephone Company, and in the county fair association. For several terms he was village treasurer. Our subject is a member of the Catholic church and of the Catholic Order of Foresters and Modern Woodmen of America lodges.

The marriage of Mr. VanHee to Dora A. Van Emelan was solemnized at Ghent July 16, 1895. She was born in Kinmundy, Marion county, Illinois, August 25, 1875, and is the daughter of Louis and Magdelina (Rapp) Van Emelan, natives, respectively, of Illinois and Germany. Mr. and Mrs. VanHee are the parents of seven children, named as follows: Angelus, Mary, Joseph, Lucy, Agnes, Angeline and Helen. One daughter, Katherine, died August 29, 1903, at the age of three and one-half years.