Henriette Chardon


 Henriette Idaline Olivia Balluet d’Estournelles de Constant de Rebecque Chardon

“Madam Chardon” 

Cellist, music teacher 

Wyndfield, 1541 Main Rd, Westport Point 


(With thanks to Marc Chardon for sharing this information about his grandmother) 


Henriette Idaline Olivia Balluet d’Estournelles de Constant de Rebecque was born at home in Paris, France in November 1902.  She was a student at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, where she met my grandfather, Yves Henri Chardon.  They were both cellists and family lore says that they were “first cello” at the Conservatoire in successive years.  

They married in Paris on 2 January 1924, and emigrated to the US in 1928 or 1929, where they lived in Brookline, Mass.  Yves was a cellist at the Boston Symphony.  At that time, there were apparently no women in the BSO, so Henriette taught cello and had three children (1929, 1932 and 1933).  Yves was naturalized in 1943, and Henriette in 1944.  

Henriette’s son, Alain Chardon, recalled life on the farm at 1541 Main Rd (aka Wynfield) and the Ring camp: 

“I ended up attending the Ring’s Music Camp, run by Lyle and Polly Ring, in Westport, MA in 1942. There, much time was spent on music, but singing was part of the program and I liked that, although now thinking back I can’t see how I was any good. But the camp did introduce the family to Westport. The camp did bring country dancing into my life. English dances, squares, contras, etc. I really enjoyed them. It was on one of our trips to Westport that my parents learned about Wyndfield. In stopping at the Swartz gas station on Main Road just south of Central Village to gas up, Mother went into the store to purchase a watermelon and asked if there were any houses for sale. She was told about Wyndfield and shortly thereafter they bought the property. It is located on the east side of the West Branch of the Westport River. Forty-five acres in an L shape bordering on the river at Hicks Cove. The laneway in is about three quarters of a mile long, and at the end is pure solitude and beauty. The house was an old farmhouse originally located in Fall River, MA, but then taken apart and put back together at Wyndfield in the mid 1800’s. It had no electricity, the water system was a hand pump one, putting the shallow well water into the copper storage tank located in the attic, and the fields were delightful. We grew our own vegetable garden, had flower beds galore, and enjoyed the river for oysters and other shellfish. For me it was nice to have gone to the Ring Camp for I already knew a number of people — the Rings, Moores, Fitches, Yeomans, Mortons, Lorings, Thomases, Wicks, Halls, Prestons, Deknatels, and many more.” 

Henriette had students that would board with her at Wynfield in the summer. 

The Chardons moved to Minneapolis in 1944 to join the Minneapolis Orchestra.  Dimitri Mitropoulos was the conductor (they had played for him in Greece in the 20s) and he had brought four women to the orchestra’s new line up for the 1944-45 season.   Yves was assistant conductor and first cellist; Henriette was first cellist when Yves was conducting.    

Yves resigned from the Minneapolis Orchestra in 1949 and conducted in Europe for a while; Henriette stayed in Minneapolis with the children for a while.  

Throughout this whole time, Henriette and her children continued to summer at Wynfield in Westport.  There my father (Alain Chardon) and my mother (Phoebe Ashley) met in 1948 (the year after Clifford Ashley died).  The Ring Family came into their courtship, with this memory from dad:  “The folk dancing in Westport was being shepherded by Lyle Ring who called the dances while playing the music up at the old Yeoman’s barn.” 

Henriette continued to teach music, and later in her life, French language.