Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2019

The Ancestry of San Rafael Pioneer Elisha DuBois

By Catherine L. Gowdy · March 27, 2015

DuBois Family Coat of Arms <span>&copy;  </span>

DuBois Family Coat of Arms

DuBois Family Genealogy from Elisha DuBois' ledger <span>&copy; Anne T. Kent Calif. Rm </span> Detail from DuBois Genealogy documenting Elisha DuBois' ancestors <span>&copy; Anne T. Kent Calif. Rm </span> Detail from DuBois Genealogy documenting Elisha DuBois' family <span>&copy; Anne T. Kent Calif. Rm </span>

On a recent trip to the Anne T. Kent California Room, I had the opportunity to study Elisha DuBois’ 19th-Century business ledgers where I gleaned some new information on the history and genealogy of the DuBois family.

 Elisha DuBois left his parents’ home in Ohio following the taking of the 1850 census and was settled in San Rafael by 1861. He spent the rest of his life in San Rafael where he married and had a family, purchased land and created a thriving business.

 I was fascinated to see that in the middle of one of DuBois’ business ledgers, there was a list of family members, some accompanied by dates of birth and death. What motivated Elisha to write their names in the middle of his account books? I’ll never know, of course, but the genealogist in me sends out a heart-felt “thank-you” to him. I decided that the least I could do was to explore the DuBois family history on and add to the genealogy which Elisha had commenced.

 Elisha begins his family genealogy with the names of his great grandparents, Conrad DuBois and Mary Dilamater. Conrad and Mary had a family of nine children and Elisha also tells whom the nine children married. One of Conrad and Mary’s son was Tobias DuBois who married Sarah Hickcox; these are Elisha’s grandparents.

 Tobias was born July 8th, 1768 and Sarah on November 2nd 1774; they married March 13, 1790. They had 14 children, one of whom was Elisha’s father, Thomas Johnston DuBois who was born December 8th 1797. I should confess to having done research on Elisha in 2002 for the Marin Kin Tracer and at that time believing Thomas’ middle name was Jefferson. Elisha corrects my mistake in this business ledger.

 Thomas Johnston DuBois married Susan Ruckman and our Elisha was their fourth child. The youngest of Thomas & Susan’s 14 children was Elijah DuBois, born June 24th, 1846. He followed his older brother –Elisha- to California between 1860 and 1870 and is found on the 1870 census living in San Rafael with brother Elisha whom the census lists as a butcher, while he –Elijah- is listed as a milkman. Though Elisha continued to reside in Marin, by 1880 his younger brother Elijah was living in San Francisco. Elisha notes in the business ledger that his younger brother Elijah died in Auburn, Placer County, CA on December 6th, 1903.

 The background of the family is historically interesting. We begin with Elisha who was born in Huron County, Ohio where his family farmed. Elisha’s grandfather, Tobias DuBois, was a native of Ulster County, New York which is where he married Sarah Hickcox; in the 1840s they moved to Missouri and finally to Ohio.

Tobias’ father, Conrad, lived and died in New York and is said to have served in the 2nd Regiment, Ulster County Militia under Col. James McClaghry in the Revolutionary War.

 Conrad’s father, Gerrit, was also a life-long resident of Ulster County, as was his grandfather, Jacob DuBois (3rd great grandfather of our Elisha DuBois.) Jacob was born October 9th, 1661 in Ulster County, New York, and died June 7th, 1745. His obituary tells us that he was the third born son of Louis and Catherine DuBois and the first to be born on what is now U.S. soil.

Louis DuBois was born at Wicres, near Lille, in the province of Artois (in French Flanders) on October 27, 1626, where his father, Cretien, had a farm. From that place he moved to Mannheim in Germany where he married Catherine Blanchan on October 10th, 1655. Louis was leader of a group of French Huguenots who purchased 40,000 acres of Hudson Valley land from the Esopus Indians in 1677. The following year, Louis and his two eldest sons, Abraham and Isaac, along with nine other Huguenot gentlemen, received a patent from the English governor to establish the town of New Paltz, NY in the Hudson Valley.

Researchers who have posted public trees on trace Elisha DuBois’ ancestors back to Calais, France from which place they fled religious persecution resulting from their Protestant beliefs.

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