William S. (William Smith) Pelletreau.

Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and family history of New York (Volume 1) online

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The genealogy seems to begin with Geofl'roi Du Bois, who
was a Knight Banneret under William the Conqueror, whom he
accompanied to the coiKpiest of England, 1066. A list of seven-
teen descendants is given, all of whom are designated as seig-
neurs and chevaliers. Such is the early history of this dis-
tinguished family.

The direct ancestor of the American branch was Chretien
(or Christian) Du Bois. of Wickers, in the Department of Artois.
in FlanderS; afterwards a part of France. He was the iiareiit


I't' two <()ns : .Ia('i|r.e<. l)oni Ki^.") and Louis, lioni ( )('tober '27,
l(i-l(i. They helouijtd to tiie rac^ called Walloons, a peojile who
lived on tlie honiidary hetwetn Fran<'e and Belgium, and who
suft'ere;^ gr* ntly in the wnrs wli'cli almost ])er])etually raged in
th'it ))r.vt cf Kuiojie. It was to escape these constant and con-
tinue 1 tr(ui1iles tliat the A^'alloons came to America, and to
escape fiom religious ])er«ecution was tlie i)rincipal cause that
led them to alianoo'! their native land. Their language was the
ancient French dialect of Picardy. which differed in many par-
ticulai's from the language of Southern France, containing more
cf the (Jallic and le-s of the Latin huiguage. They were a brave
and hardy race, fully confii-miug the statement of Julius Caesar,
'"Of all the (Jau.ls. the bravest are the Belgians." From these
two brothel s are descended the various families of this honored
name which are scattered far and wide throughout our In'oad

.Jacques Du Bois, the elder of the two brothers, emigrated
to America in ](i75, settling on the Esopus, Ulster county, New
York. He did not h)ng survive his coming to the new world, for
he died tlie foliowing year, leaving a widow, Pieronue (Bentyea)
Lu Bois. whom he married in Leyden, April, 16(S3, and who
afteiwards manned John lieterse. He also left three sons:
dactjues (^^}lose name was afterward changed to Jacobus), born
in Leyden, March, l(i(io; John, baptized July, Kill; Pierre (or
Peter), baptized March 17, 3674, and was an infant at the time
of his father's death.

Louis Du I'ois, the younuer of the two brothers, removed
to Manheim, (lei'mmy, and there married Cathaiine Blanshan
( Blancon), October Id, Ki.")."). He emigrated to this country with
his wife and three yiumg children in KiliO. They landed in New
Amsterdam, but did not long remain there, lie sought for a
hoine in the vast wilderness in the Esopus country, or the u]iper


Hudson. Tliis derived its name from tlie Esopns kill, or creek,
wliicli empties into the Hudson at Kondout, the ])ort or liarl)or
of Kingston. His tirst home apjiears to liave lieen at Hurley,
three miles from Kingston, and heie he built a store and traded
with the Indians and the jieople of the new settlement. In the
Indian raid of 1663. Hurley was almost entirely destroyed, and
auKUig the ('ai)tives taken wei'e tlie wife and thi-ee children of
l.ouis Du P>ois. the fiitlier Ix ing absent at the time. The rescue
of .Mrs. Pu !>ois. as she was about to be jHit to death by her bar-
barous caiitors, is among the most thrilling scenes of our early
lii-toi'y. Th)-ee years later lj(mis Du Bois and a com])any asso-
ciated with him purchased from the Indian.s a large tract of land
in ristei- county. Tt extended ten miles along the Hudson river,
and liack into the country a still greater distance. Tt included
the whole oi- a lai'ge ])art of the present towns of New Paltz.
I\osendale, Esopus. !>loyd. and Highland. The ])rice was paid
in articles common enough to the white men, but highly prized
l)y the Indians. Among them were forty kettles, forty axes and
sixty knives. The sale was contirmed by a patent granted l)y
(lovernor Edmund Andi-oss September 29, 1677. Among others
i's-ocinted with Linii-^ Du. I'ois in the i)ui'chase were his sons
Abraham and Isaac, and the ance-^tor of the honorable family
of Hasbi-ouck, and the name continues there down to the present

The Frencli Bil)!e of the Huguenots was their companion,
and from its teachings they never wandered. Throughout his
life Eouis Du Bois was the head, heart and soul of the new
colony. Ten years latei- he reuu)ved to Kingston, where many
of his French fi-iends still resided, and there he ])urchased a
house and home lot of Derrick Schaeiunoes, and sptnit the last
declining days of his life. His will, dated KiSii, was proved
dune 2."i, l(i;»i). and he probably dieil the same UKiutli and year,


and no doiil)! lies l)ni-ie(l in the ground of the Dutch church at
Kingston, hut no tombstone marks liis last resting place. The
children of Louis and Catherine Du Bois were: 1. Abraliam,
born in Manheim, (iermany, died ()ctol)er 7, 17ol, at the age
of seventy-four. He was the last survivor of the twelve paten-
tees of New Paltz. He married ^largaret Deyo, and their chil-
dren were: Abraham, baptized 1()85 ; Leah, 1687, married Kolliff
Elting; Rachel. 1689; Catherine, 1693; Benjamin: Margaret;
and Mary, who married Philip Ferrie, and to her he left a
large tract of land in Pennsylvania. A i)lain tombstone at
New Paltz bears this l)rief inscription: "1731 Octolier 7, A. D.
— Bois, survivor of 12 patentees." 2. Isaac, born in ^lanheim,
married at Kingston, 1683, ^larie Hasl)rouck, and his children
were: David, born 1684, married Mary Lefevre; Benjamin, born
1687; Philip, born 1690. Isaac Du Bois was also one of the
twelve patentees of New Paltz, and died there June 28, 1690, at
the early age of thirty-one. 3. Jacob, the first of the race born
in America. In the church l)ook at Kingston is the entry of his
baptism: "October 9, 1661, vadder van dit kint, Louis Du Bois,
modder Catteray, Blancou, kint, Jacob, Getruggen, Antony
Crefel, Madd aleen Joonse." (Presented for baptism October
9, 16(il, by the father Louis Du Bois and the mother Catherine
]jlancon, a child Jacob; Witnesses, Antony Crefel. Maddaleen
Joonse). Jacob settled at Hurley, on a farm belonging to his
father. He married Geritie Gerretsen, daughter of Gerrit
Cornellisen, who was the son of Cornells Van Xewkirk. They
were the i^arents of eleven children: ^lagdaleen, Barent, Lewis,
Gerrittie, Sarah, Isaac, Gerritt, Catherine, Eebecca, Neeltye and
Johanes. Four of the daughters died young. ( )f the sons. Barent
and Lewis emigrated to Xew Jersey. Sarah married Conrad
Elmendorff. Isaac had a son Gerritt, born 1704, went to Xew
Jersey, but returned to Hurley; he had three children: Gerttie,


Conrad and Toljias, who lias many descendants. Catherine mar-
ried Petms Smedes. Johanes (or John) had seven ehiklren:
Jacob, Cornelins, Petrus, Abraham, John and two danghtei's.
Jacob Dn Bois, the ancestor of the family, died Jnne, 174-5. aged
eighty-fonr. 4. Sarah, married Joose Jansen. 5. David, mar-
ried Cornelia Varnage, 1689. He was living in 17o], and his
descendants are living in Rochester, Ulster county. New York.
6. Solomon, mentioned hereafter. 7. Rebecca, lujrn ](i71, died
yoimg. 8. Rachel, born l(i75, died young. 9. Louis, born 1(377,
married Rachel Hasbrouck, 1701, and from them are descended
families in Broome and Tioga counties. New York, and in Penn-
sylvania. 10. Matthew, born 1679, married Sarah Matthysen,
and had a son Lewis, who was living in Kingston, New York.

Solomon l)u Bois, sixth child of Louis and Catherine Du
Bois, was born al)0ut 1671. He lived at New Paltz. though not
within the patent. He had a large tract of land in Pennsyl-
vania, at a })lace called in his will "Pocki Quia," i^robably now
Perkiomen, Montgomery county. He also owned the northern
part of the Loveridge Patent, at Catskill, and a tract of three
thousand acres in the Wallkill Valley. In 1692 he married
Trintie Gerritsen, a sister of the wife of his In-other Jacob,
and they were the parents of eight children: Jacomyntie, liorn
1693, married her cousin, Barent Du Bois, son of Jacob Du
Bois, 1715; Isaac, settled at Perkiomen, Pennsylvania: Ben-
jamin, mentioned hereafter; Sarah, wife of Simon \i\\\ \Yag-
anen; Helena, wife of Josiah Elting; Catharine, wife of Peter
Low; Cornelius; Hendricus (or Henry), married Jauittie
Hooghtaliug, of Kingston. He died Feln-uary, 1759. at the ad-
vanced age of ninety.

Benjamin Du Bois. second son of Solomon and Trintie
Du Bois. settled at Catskill. Xew Y'ork. He married Catharine


Suylaiit. Their cliildren were: 1. Sara, haptizeil -laiuiary 11.
lil'l'I. married Christian Overhangh, Api-il 4, 174."1. "_*. Soh)-
iiion, l)a])tized Feliruary 2o, 1724, married Margaret Sammans,
Se])temher 27, 1749. He died l)efore July 4, 17(50. 'A. Huy-
bartus, l)ai)tised ()c'tol)er 10, 1725. married Cornelia llallen-
beck. He died early in 1809. His wife died Angiist 25, 1795,
at tlie age of sixty-six. 4. Cornelius, baptized Xoveml)er 12,
1727, l)ut iii-obal)ly born before Sei^tember 14, 1727. He mai -
ried Catharine ^^anderllOol, Xoveml)er 12. 1751. He died June
5, 1803. 5. Isaac, born dune 1, 1731, died February 23, 1795.
He married Lena Sannnans, ]\Iay 28, 1752, and their cliildren
were: 1. Lena Cathalynti'e, baptized April 23, 175.3, married
Abrani Fonda, of Catskill. 2. Achie (or Agnes), l)aptiz(^d .\pril
11, 1757, married dacol)ns Bogardus. 3. dt)lin (or dohaniu's).
born March 25, 1760. 4. Joel, born ^lay 25. 17<)2, died April
29, 1844.

John Du Rois, son of Lsaac and ].,ena (Sannnans) Du Bois,
married (first) Jauuettie (or Jane) Dies, in 1780. She died
May 15, 1794, aged thirty-four years, four months, fourteen
days. Her mother was generally known as "Lady Jane Die.-',"
and of her a more extended notice will l)e given. He married
(second) Catharine Bronk, of Coxachie, September 26, 1795.
She died Angust 3, 1796, aged thirty-three years, four montlis,
eight day*. His third wife was Gitty, daugliter of Cornelius
Du Bois, whom he married February 12, 1797. She died Oct-
ober 16, 1814, aged fifty-two years, ten months, seven days.
He married a fourth time, Trieutje (or Catharine), daughter
of Hnybartus Du Bois, June 29, 1816. She died August 24.
1839, at the age of eighty-five years, ten montlis. three days.
The children of John Du Bois and Jannettie ((roelet) Dies
were: Fsaac, born Dt'cemlK-r 13, 1780, died August 23, 1850.


_ o




Lady Jane Dies. 15 years of age


John Dies, born ^lareh 20, ITH-t, died .June ."1, \^A'). James,
born March 17, 17S8. -Jenette, born -Inne 17, 17in.

It is rather a I'cinarkahle circunistaiicc that ('atharine
Du Bois, danghter of Hnyh.irtiis, was hoi-ii in the house wliere
she died, at the time wlieii her t'athei- was living in it. and
wliicli he hiter exchangt'd with his brother Isaac. Catharine
was married twice bcfoi'e she niai'ried her own (■on>in, John,
son of her nncle, Isaac, and John liad been mai'ricd three times
before he married his consin, (.'atliarine, who l)y her third mar-
riage returned to tlie liome where slie was horn and resunu^d
her maiden name, and lived lia})i)ily witli her hist husband for
twenty-three years l)efore she died in ls;-)9.

John Dn Bois, sou of Isaac and Lena (Sanunans) Du Ijois,
was l)orn ^laix-h 2o, ]7()0, died 1841. He was no ordinary man.
His extensive estate on tlie Catskill was ahnost a principaUty,
and although his acts and his life were principally contined
within the limits of his estate, yet they were so marketl that
tliey left an impression n]ion the memories of his posterity to
the third generation. His indomitable will and courage made
him an acknowledged leader in the conunnnity, as well as the
ruler of his own familx'. His opinions and acts were always
respected, because they wei-e founded on wisdom and justictv
He was stern in demeanor and unconiiii'omising, so that lii>
will and word in his faniilx' and o\-er all his possessions wer''
supreme, and none ever ventured to (pU'stion oi- dispute.

His residence at the Point was like an old time haronia!
hall. His jiersonal a])])earance and habits were well in keep-
ing. In stature he was over si.\ feet in height, well propor-
tioned and strongly built, and of a very impressive ami com-
manding ajjiiearance. In costunu', he wore to the last the small
clothes, the knee breeches with great siKcr buekles. tight stock-
ings and low shoes — in short, the garb of a gentlenu\n of those


clays, so conspicuou.sly i)reseuted in the engraviug of the Sion-
ing of tlie Declaration of Independence. He appears as a prom-
inent character in AFrs. Ann 8. Stephens' famous novel of
"Mary Derwent." ^Irs. Stephens spent some time in the Dn
Bois home. Everything that conld be needed was jn'oduced on
his estate, orchards and gardens, as well as fertile tields. while
in the river and creeks were fish in jilenty, and wild game in
those days was abnndaut. They tanned their own leather,
raised their own wool and flax, and spun and wove their own
cloth. "When he died he left l>eliind him the reputation of a
gentleman of the old school, and an honest and worthy man.

John Dn Bois married Jane Dies, who was a danghtei- of
John Dies and Jannettie Goelet, the only child to Jacob Goelet,
whose name was anglicised into James Groelet. Jacob Goelet
was thoroughly acquainted with the Dutch language, and was
ap])ointed ''sworn translator" of that language, and translated
many Dutch wills into English. In 1770 Jane Dies sold the
house and lot where her father had lived on Broadway, New
York. In this deed she speaks of herself as "only child and
heiress at law of Jacob Goelet, late of New York, merchant."
This house and lot is Xo. 27 Broadway, and is ))art of th;^
Stevens House.

John Dies Du Bois, second son of John and Janette Du
Bois, was born ]\Iarch 20, 178-1, died June 3, 1845. His life
was passed on the ancestral heritage at Catskill, devoted en-
tirely to his farm. He married Rebecca Overbaugh, February
15, 1807. She was born October, 1786, and died March, 18(i9.
Their children were: Lewis, born 1809, died May 23, 187(i;
Philo, born :\[arch 31, 1812; Ann Jennette, born June 29, 1814.
married Peter Whitaker; William, born June 6, 1816, died Oct-
ober 9, 1834; James Goelet, born July 2, 1818; Addison, born
.lanuarv 24, 1821; Frederick Nelson, born October 5, 1829.



Frederick Nelson J)u Bois, a rei)resentative citizen and
leading niannfactnrer of the borough of Manhattan, a man
well endowed with rare intellectual attainments, keen discrim-
ination and business ability of a high order, which, together
Avith his mechanical skill and ingenuity, have made him a lead-
ing factor in industrial circles, was born on the old Du Bois
homestead at Catskill, Greene county, New York, October
5, 1829.

Mr. Du Bois received his educational training in the schools
at C^atskill. He remained under the i)arental roof till the age
of sixteen, when he went to Buffalo, New York, and learned
the trade of a silvei'smith with his brother Philo. After thor-
oughly acquiring a knowledge of business, in 1854 he went to
Chicago with the necessary tools and machinery, and started
the manufacture of silverware, the tirst in that city. He i)ur-
sued it with moderate success until 18G2, in which year the
Rebellion broke out, and this so damaged his business as to
cause him to abandon it. Having previously invented ma-
chinery for crushing gold ores, he decided to try the chances
of gold mining. In 1862 he proceeded with his wife and two
children to the gold mines of Colorado, settling at Black Hawk,
Giliun county, in the Rocky Mountains. Here he prosecuted
work on some gold mines which he and his partner had pre-
viously acquired, but finding them unproductive, he turned his
attention to other business, including the sui)erintending of the
mines of the Burroughs Gold Alining Company (a New York-
organization) until the fall of 1865, when he went to New York
and organized a stock company known as the CVilorado Ore
lieducing Works, his three brothers, of the firm of -J. G. Du
Bois and Company, lieing the principal stockholders.

Mr. Du Bois constructed the works of the new company at
Black Hawk, Colorado, at an expense of $65,000, and after


ojieratiiii;' tlR-ni for iK'arl_\' a y^'ar and rt'acliiiii;' a jioint wIrtc
tlioy were paying- a profit, tlie>' wei'e nnfortmiately destroyed
by an aceidental fire, residting' in a total loss withont insuranee.
and as no insnranee could l)e obtained in Colorado at tliat time.,
it was deeided not to i-ebnild. Mr. Dn f>ois was the originator
of tlie plan of ])ureliasing- the gold ores of the Colorado mines,
and extracting the gold by improved scientific methods, a i)lan
which lias since been universally adojjfed.

After the destruction of his fine and nuicli cherished re-
duction works, Air. Du Bois returned to New York, in 1868, and
associated in business with his brothers, d. (I. Du Bois and
Company, adding to that fii'in his skill and ingenuity. The
business of J. (I. Du Bois and Company was the manufacture
of sash, doors and blinds, established in 1844, by his oldest
brotlier Lewis, who had been in the imilding business in Xew
York since 1836.

After the return of Mr. Du Bois from Colorado, the firm
of J. (t. Du Bois and Company added to their business the
manufacture of lead ])ipe, and Mr. Du Bois took especial chai-ge
of that branch of the business. It was while conducting the
liusiness of manufacturing lead pijie that Mr. Du Bois made the
valuable invention of the " Du Bois Seandess Drawn Lead
Tra])," now used by jilumbers in all civilized conntrics. in
January, 1877, ]\lr. Du Bois engaged on liis own account in the
manufacture and sale of his patent i)luml)ers' traps, at the
factory of .1. (!. Du Bois and Company, 512 AVest Thirtieth
street, and since that time has had the valuable assistance and
association with him in the l)usiness, of his son in-law. ?»lr.
F. W. Blau\'elt. At the same time he oi-gjanized his business
into a stock conii)any under the name of The Du l^)ois ]\[anu-
facturing Com])any of Xew York, for the i)ni-pose of handling
the ])rodn('t of his ]>at(Mit. and estal)lislit'(l a branch for the














manufacture of the trajis in London. England, ami another
at Berlin, in Germany. At the expiration of the jtatcnt, tlu-
company having suh^crx'ed its pnr])Ose, was dissolved.

Tn 1884 Mr. Dn IJois erected the spacions six-story hiick
building- at Ninth ax'enne and Twenty-tifth street, whii-h he
e(iuit)ped witli special machinery of his own invention and de-
sigfii, for the manufacture of his jiatented Plumhei-s' Seamless
Wrought Lead Trap. In addition to the numei-nus features
and accessories for manufacturing purjioses, the building con-
tains large show and ware rooms, in wliich are kept a larg;' and
varied assortment of plumbers' materials and sniiplies. A
large suite of ofifices are located on the second tioor, where a
skilled corps of stenograpliers and clerks are em])li>yed. This
establishment furnishes employment for a large number of
skilled operatives and salesmen, and is not only one of the lead-
ing concerns of its kind in tlie city, Imt stands out uni(|ue from
all others, owing to the fact that its foimder is the sole proprie-
tor and owner, and to his skill and enterprise alone is due the
success the house has attained, and it can be correctly stated
that the name of Frederick X. Du Bois is everywhere regarded
in business circles as a synonym for honesty and straightfor-
ward business methods.

In addition to his many connnercial duties. Mr. Du IJois
takes an active interest in all such enterjirises as have for their
object the social and moral welfare of the neiglil)orhood where-
in he resides. In 1S!)1 Mi'. Du I'xiis ac(|uired the family home-
stead at C'atskill, Greene county, Xew York, and lias made ex-
tensive improvements to the projierty. having I'estored the old
family mansion to its present condition in 1*»()4. In 1S!)S he
erected a connnodious aiul nio(h'rn house on the ancesti'al farm
at Gatskill, in which he resides during the sunnner months.
The location is one of the finest in the Hudson river valley, as


well as of great historic interest, the first ancestors of the
family having heen among the first settlers of that part of the
country. Mr. Dn Bois, having always cherished the place of
his early associations of life, has estahlished his citizenship
at C*atskill, and has contributed of his time and substance
towards advancing the material as well as the social and moral
interests of the town. In 1903 he donated $25,000 towards the
erection of the Young Men's Christian Association building at
Catskill, and in many ways has contributed of his substance for
the betterment of the community. He is a member of the board
of directors of the Catskill Electric Railway Comjiany, at Cats-

Frederick Nelson Du Bois married, at Buifalo, New York,
September 1, 1851, Helen A. Riley, born at Toronto, Canada,
August 1, 1828, and of this marriage were born two children:
]. James Frederick, November 27, 1852, died December 22,
1863. 2. Alice, born April 11, 1856, married Frank AY. Blau-
velt, and has three children: Evelyn, born November 3, 1878,
married Calvin Alfred Littlefield, January 24, 1906; Frederick
I)u Bois, born June 24, 1884; and Madaline Allaire, bora Feb-
ruary 27, 1892. Frederick N. Du Bois and his wife are active
members of the North Presbyterian church at Washington
Heights, of which Mr. Du Bois has served as trustee, and is
]tresident of the board.


One branch of the Goelet family is so closely connected
with the Du Bois family that an extended notice is retiuired,
es])ecial]y as no com])lete account of this particular branch has
yet a])])eared in ])rint. The Goelets are of French Huguenot
origin, their ancestors living at La Rochelle, but fied to Holland
to escape ])ersecution, the records of Amsterdam showing thai

Young Men s CKristian Association Building, Catskill, New York

Erected by F. N. DuBois


tliey were liviiiii- in tliat city in KIi'l. Francis (ioclct. a ynniiiicr
son of tile family, came to Xpw Xetlierlaml in KiTli. hrinying
witli liini his son. .h!col)ns (Joelet. then a lad ahnnt t(Mi years of
ag'e. The fatlier returned to Holland on liu>ini'>s. hut tlie ves-
sel in whieh he saik>d was nevei' heard fi-:»m afterwards, arid
he donlitless ])erislied in tlie sea. Jaeol)ns (ioelet, tlins left an
orjihan. was l)rnn,nlit np hy Frederick Philipse, tlie famous mei'-
chant of Xew Amsterdam. Tie married Jannettie f'oesar, who
was also of a Huguenot family, and at his death in 17.")1, left
a family of six children.

One of the sons, .lohaimes (or John) (inelnt. married in
1718, Jannettie, daughter of John Cannon, a merchant of Xew
York, who was also of French Protestant descent. John Goelet
died in 1753, leaving a family of seven children. Of these, Peter
Goelet, the fourth son, was lioi'n in 1737, and hecame a ])ros-
perous merchant in New York. His ])lace of husiness was on
Hanover Square. Tn those days wliat is now Hanover Scinare
was occu|)ied hy a ti'iangular hlock of several houses and lots
which were hounded on the south hy Pearl street, west hv
"Burgers Path," now William street; north hy a narrow stre'4
called Van Bruggens street, or Van Brugli street; and termi-
nating in a i)oint on the east. The store of Peter Goelet was
next to Pearl street, and was where the elevated railroad stairs
now stand, and was known hy the sign of the "Golden Key."
His name very fre(|uently appears as a man of wealth and
importance, and in 1755 he mai-ried Elizabeth Ratse, the daugh-
ter of a wealthy merchant. His son, Peter P. Goelet, not only
inherited considerable ])roi)erty, hut lai"gely increased it. and it
is owing to his ability and foresight that his descendants, tin'
])resent family of (lOelet, have obtained tlu'ir wealth and con-
se(]uent im))ortance.

The branch of the familv to which we particnlarK' allude in


this .sketch are descended from .lac()l)us, or Jacob (Joelet, who
was a son of the first Jacobus Goelet, and l)rother of Johannes
(or .John) Goelet, the ancestor of the other branch of the fam-
\\y. Jacobns (ioelet was born al)ont !()!>(), and became a wealthy

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Online LibraryWilliam S. (William Smith) PelletreauHistoric homes and institutions and genealogical and family history of New York (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 26)