In 1895, Elmore and Page Boyles invested $5,000 in a single diamond drill and began a journey that made their names synonymous with diamond drilling for minerals exploration, first in the western United States and Canada and then around the world.
Elmore and Page Boyles were inseparable from their earliest youth. Their mother died when Elmore was seven years old. They saw their father, a railroad carpenter, about once a year. They worked for board and clothing on farms in Iowa until Elmore was 15.
In 1886, the Boyles brothers ventured west to the mining camps of Arizona, where they worked for five years at the Silver King Mine, near present-day Kearney. The mine played out and was shut down in 1891, its work force reduced from 155 to 5. Elmore and Page Boyles were two of those last five men on the payroll. They moved on, taking with them a nest egg that would stand them in good stead.
Northeastern Washington and southeastern British Columbia were on the brink of a mining boom. The thrifty Boyles brothers staked some claims in Washington in 1893 and for $5,000 bought a diamond drill to explore them. In 1895, they converted their activity to contract drilling, formed the Boyles Bros. Drilling Company in Spokane, and soon had a contract in Washington’s Republic District. All of southeastern British Columbia then opened up to mineral exploration and development. By the Boyles brothers’ 10th year in business, they had acquired a number of drills and had work throughout British Columbia and the northwestern United States.
The Granby copper mine in British Columbia was an important customer, and Boyles Bros. Drilling eventually completed more than 200 miles of exploration drilling on the property. Copper districts became something of a specialty. Working in the Bisbee, Arizona District in 1909, Boyles Bros. Drilling Company completed an exploration hole to a depth of 3,200 feet, the deepest hole drilled in the United States up to that time.
By 1915, its 20th year in business, Boyles Bros. exploration drilling activity extended throughout western North America. Butte, Montana and Alaska were major sources of income. The Boyles brothers lived by their watchword: “If you say you will do it, do it. If something goes wrong, fix it.”
Page Boyles died in 1917, and Elmore Boyles retired in 1923, having seen Boyles Bros. Drilling Company through a war and three depressions. The brothers left an enduring legacy. Boyles Bros. Drilling established its headquarters in Salt Lake City in the late 1920s and for the remainder of the 20th century remained a stalwart member of the Salt Lake mining community. Boyles Bros. crews worked mining camps and exploration projects throughout the Americas, as the company expanded to become one of the world’s leading contract mineral exploration drilling companies.
Entering the 21st century, the company founded by Elmore and Page Boyles continues to contract for mineral exploration drilling throughout the world as the Layne Boyles Company, a member of the Layne Christensen group.