The DuBois family of New Paltz, NY are
descendants of Chretien DuBois(b.ca1590) and his wife Francoise le Poivre. He was a prosperous middle class linen merchant and devout
protestant from the village of Wicres, outside of Lille. In 1659 the area was
handed over by the Catholic Spanish Netherlands to the Catholic regime of
Louis XIV, who imposed high taxes on the middle classes and cruelly persecuted
the Protestant (Huguenot) dissidents.
Chretien was the father of seven children:
Francoise (b.1622),Anne(b.1624),Louis (b.1626-d.1696),Jacques (b.1628-d.1676),Antoine,
Philippe and Toussaint
Resentful of high taxes and fearful of
religious persecution, Francoise and Jacques settled in Leyden, Holland.
Meanwhile, Louis along with other Huguenot refugees moved to Mannheim, Germany
(near Heidelberg) on the Rhine River. This area was called die Pfalz (hence
the origin later of the village name of New Paltz).
While in Germany, Louis DuBois married
another French Huguenot, Catherine Blanchan in 1655. They emigrated to America
in 1660 and traveled ninety miles up the Hudson River to a small community in
the Kingston - Hurley area where he obtained a land grant in 1663.
Francoise, and her husband Pierre Billiou
also emigrated in 1661, settling in Staten Island, NY. Fourteen years later
Jacques and his wife, Pierrone Bentyn arrived in Kingston.
In the 1660's during the "Esopus
Wars", there were many hostile incidents between white settlers and the
Esopus Indians. During these times in 1663 a raid killed 21 people and
Catherine Blanchan DuBois and her three children were carried off and held
captive for three months before being rescued by a contingent of Dutch
soldiers. During this expedition to rescue his wife tradition has it that
Louis DuBois discovered the beautiful Walkill valley which became his new
Jacques children spread across the Hudson
River and helped to establish Fishkill and Poughkeepsie. The children of
Louis married the offspring of other patentees of New Paltz which gradually
grew into a small self governing village. One daughter, Sarah, married a Van
Meter and moved to New Jersey and then farther south. This branch of DuBoises
helped open the way west and contributed to the settling of Kentucky and West
The DuBoises, and other Huguenot families
of New Paltz, were slave owners. Louis purchased two slaves at public auction
in Kingston 1674. The 1755 census shows Solomon DuBois as owning seven slaves.
The DuBois family takes some small
comfort that Catherine DuBois Cottin (Louis DuBois widow) made specific
mention in her 1712 will that a manumission letter written for her slave girl
Rachel in 1709 shall "remain in force and be properly observed".
Perhaps another counter balance to that
history is that W.E.B. DuBois, a founding director of the NAACP and editor of
The Crisis from 1910-1934, dedicates his autobiography to his great
grandfather Dr. James DuBois, a physician in Poughkeepsie, who he claims is
descended from Jacques in the fifth generation. DuBois in his nineties,
discouraged by the inability of capitalism to bring the highest welfare to its
people, believed in communism.
Other famous branches
of the family tree: General George Patton, artist Mary Cassatt, actor Marlon
Brando, actress Joan Crawford and Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart.