November 13, 1919: Death of long-time Duluth Police Chief Chauncey Troyer

On this day in Duluth in 1919, long-time police chief Chauncey Troyer died in Duluth’s St. Mary’s Hospital of a pulmonary embolism. He was 58 and was recovering from surgery on an intestinal ulcer he underwent on November 2. Troyer was born in Goshen, Indiana, February 28, 1861 and first moved to Duluth to work as a foreman on the Northern Pacific docks in 1888. Three years later he joined the Duluth Police Department as a patrolman, rising to detective a few years later and, in 1902, was selected as chief of police. His tenure as chief was marked by his efforts to clean up vice in the Zenith City’s notorious “St. Croix District,” a hotbed for prostitution, opium, gambling, and the illegal sale of liquor. He resigned in 1915 to take an offer as Fargo, North Dakota’s police chief, but returned two years later when the U.S. entered the war in Europe. Back in Duluth, Troyer was placed in charge of men guarding the docks of Duluth’s harbor and was later appointed as a local agent for the Secret Service. Prior to his death Troyer had joined the St. Louis County Sheriff’s office as a deputy in charge of criminal investigations. On his passing the Duluth News Tribune wrote a brief tribute that ended with this testimony: “He always worked ‘on the square’ and we know of no one, not even those serving time because of his skill, who bears him a grudge, while those who worked with him, who were his associates and close firends do not try to repress their tears for Chauncey H. Troyer.”

A sketch of the Duluth Police Department’s patrolman badge first issued in 1915. (Image: Zenith City Press)