Charles Edward Boyer was born in Reading, PA on January 15, 1815 and came west to Chicago in 1836 to work in the mercantile business. In 1838 he became an employee of the Chicago office of the company in charge of building the I&M Canal. In 1839 he came to Lockport, IL and took on a contract for the deepening of the I&M Canal. Boyer married Elizabeth Runyon (who was born February 22, 1823 and was the daughter of Lockport area pioneer Armstead Runyon) on April 14, 1840.
In 1852 he was appointed assistant superintendent of the I&M Canal. In addition, the Jacksonville Division of the Alton & St. Louis Railroad (from Bloomington to Jacksonville) was built under his supervision. In 1864 he represented the Illinois State Legislature and was a candidate for the Illinois State Senate when he died on September 21, 1868. After his death his wife completed all of his contracts for his business.
Charles & Elizabeth Boyer had 5 children.
The building that came to be known as the “Boyer house” was located at the Southeast corner of 8th & State Streets (about where the drive-through lanes of First Midwest Bank are now located) was built by Edward B. Talcott, an engineer for the layout of the I&M Canal, in 1851 and sold to Charles E. Boyer in 1856.
The rear of the home had a large garden surrounded by a two foot thick stone wall which stood 8 to 10 feet high. On top of the wall was a stone pillar extending above the wall with the date 1861. This pillar still sits at the Southwest corner of Hamilton & 8th Streets next to what is now the White Oak Library District Lockport Branch. The front of the home had an iron fence similar to the I&M Canal Office on the West Side of State Street. During the fire of 1895, which leveled a square block of downtown Lockport and destroyed the original Central School, the house came close to catching on fire when a wooden barn at in the rear was destroyed by the fire. Rev J. J. McGovern, pastor of St. Dennis Church, along with other volunteer firemen, was able to save the home from the fire.