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A small mining settlement, was named in honor of a Chinese man who, with his Native American wife, lived here in the early days. Their hospitable house welcomed the few white and Native American travelers on trips through the north country. Agriculture supports the scattered population.

It was one of many towns in the county that started as mining camps in the 1890s. A post office was established there January 13, 1898.

Today, the annual Fourth of July rodeo draws people to Chesaw.