October 20, 1882: One Duluth brownstone quarryman assaults another

On this day in Duluth in 1882, the Duluth News Tribune reported that brownstone quarryman Martin Boyle assaulted brownstone quarry owner Michael Chambers while aboard a Northern Pacific train between Duluth and Fond du Lac. While the inspiration for the attack was not given, the report stated that, “Boyle grabbed Chambers by the beard and struck him several times, and it is said drew a revolver and threatened to shoot him. Several of the passengers interfered before much of the harm was done.” Boyle plead not guilty to the charge, was found guilty, and was fined $25 plus court charges for a total of $48.20—just over $1,100 in today’s dollars. Boyle was a shifty character. Earlier that month a number of Fond du Lac citizens wrote a letter to the News Tribune reporting that Boyle shirked employees out of due wages and had made bargains to garner local votes for a candidate he supported. He was the business partner of Charles Krause, and together the leased nehemiah Hulett’s brownstone quarry, known as Krause Quarry. Krause and Boyle’s relationship was described as “turbulent,” and when he was accused of skipping town in 1883 to avoid creditors, the paper’s headline asked “Where is Martin Boyle.” What was his issue with Chambers? Micheal Chambers owned Chamber’s Quarry, located at the site of today’s Chamber’s Grove Park in Fond du Lac. When Chambers himself apparently skipped town in 1879, Boyle operated the quarry in his absence. We can only speculate their differences arose from some issue related to Boyle’s management of Chamber’s quarry. read about the history of Duluth’s brownstone industry here.

Workers pose at an unnamed quarry in Fond du Lac, ca. 1888. (Image: University of Minnesota Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library Archives and Special Collections)rry