Charles D’Autremont

Charles d’Autremont (Image: Duluth Public Library)

Born in Angelica, New York, and educated at Cornell University, Columbia University, and the Academy at Lausanne, Switzerland, attorney Charles D’Autremont first came to Duluth in 1882 to specialize in land office practice. His attention soon turned to civic service; he won the race for St. Louis County Attorney in 1884 and two years later was the Democratic nominee for state’s attorney general. In 1892 he defeated fellow Democrat and incumbent M. J. Davis in Duluth’s mayoral race. (The Republican-leaning Duluth News Tribune called for the Republican party to endorse Davis, saying Davis “Stands for…morality and good” while d’Autremont wanted “wide-openness”.) Like his predecessors, d’Autremont’s administration was described as “efficient and progressive” and for the rest of his life he was considered one of the leading Democrats of the region. After leaving office, d’Autremont turned his interests to mining and he opened several locations on the Mesabi Range. During this time he struck up a friendship with Chester Congdon, and together the two were among the original promoters of the Calumet & Arizona Mining Company. At one point d’Autremont held mining interests in Minnesota, Arizona, British Columbia, and Mexico. His partnership with Congdon was symbolized by the marriage of d’Autremont’s son Hubert to Congdon’s daughter Helen in January 1919. The elder d’Autremont died in his home town just six months later. One obituary said he was “a man of strong personality, his integrity was unimpeachable, his honesty beyond question. Sympathetic, extremely generous, patriotic and democratic, he was utterly devoid of fear of any kind.”

Story by Tony Dierckins. Originally published on Zenith City Online (2012–2017). Click here for more stories by Tony Dierckins.