Camille Poirier

Camille Poirer stands next to his sledge, which holds a hogshead of Lake Superior Water, some time in the 1870s. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

Camille Poirier who died at his home in the city of Duluth on the 17th of October, 1919, was one of the pioneers and representative business men of that city and left upon the community the gracious impress of a gentle, gracious and benignant personality. He was a resident of Duluth for nearly half a century, and contributed his quota to its civic and material development and progress, the while his unqualified popularity was based upon his sterling character and his kindliness and courtesy in all of the relations of life.

Well may this history perpetuate the generous tribute and estimate which appeared as an editorial in the Duluth News-Tribune under date of October 18, 1919:

“Always kindly, scrupulously honest in his dealings and thought, never unjust, never unfair, with a heart that denied itself to no one and to no right cause, Camille Poirier has closed a life lived in an Arcadia of his own making. To know him was to respect and admire him and almost to envy the serene peacefulness that rose above physical ailment or outward misfortune. He was, too, a man of force of character, of decided opinions and independence, and, like so many of his blood, he had a passionate love of the out-of-doors, of the house of nature, and all the people who live in it. He was one of Duluth’s genuine pioneers. He had lived here for forty-nine years. In the earlier days he had much to do in public affairs and always on the side of what was right and fair and progressive. He was the inventor of a number of conveniences, and here his love of the woods showed, as they were all for the woodman, the traveler and the camper. As a business man, as a friend, as a citizen, as one who always helped, he has left everything he touched and everyone he met the better and happier. Such a man can hardly be said to have died.”

Camille Poirier, a scion of the fine old French stock that early settled in Eastern Canada, was born near the city of Montreal in 1837, a son of Joseph and Martha Poirier. In his youth he passed much time in the wilds of Canada and the northwestern part of the United States, and in this connection had made numerous trips to Duluth prior to establishing his permanent home there in 1870. The present vigorous and beautiful city was but a village when he became numbered among its pioneer business men, and here he was for many years engaged in the boot and shoe business, in which he developed a large and substantial enterprise and at one time gave employment to many men. He also gave attention to the real estate business and to contract logging enterprise, and in later years was engaged in the tent and awning business. He was one of the most liberal and progressive business men of Duluth, held the unqualified confidence and esteem of the community in which he so long lived and so worthily wrought, and his influence was wide and beneficent. He was the inventor of the Poirier Pack Sacks, now in general use, and invented also several other valuable devices for the use of travelers, campers and others who were, like himself, devotees of sports afield and afloat, Mr. Poirier was a staunch supporter of the cause of the Republican party, and in addition to divers other services in behalf of the community he was for several terms a member of the Board of County 806Commissioners of St. Louis county. He and his wife, who is yet living, were earnest and consistent communicants of the Catholic Church, and for many years he was president of the St. John the Baptist Society in the city of Duluth. As a young man Mr. Poirier wedded Miss Margaret Lytle, and they became the parents of eight children, all of whom are living.



  • Van Brunt, Walter, ed. Duluth and St. Louis County, Minnesota Vols. 1 – 3. The American Historical Society. Chicago: 1922.
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