Daniel DuBois House -
The Old Fort
The Fort Built in 1705
by Daniel DuBois. Site
First Redoubt. There are Port Holes In The Ease End.
The DuBois Family - The
Born in 1626 in France,
Louis emigrated as a child with his family to Mannheim.
Little is actually known of the origins if the family
resulting from the destruction of Huguenot records
in France as well as the general reluctance of Huguenots
to record their family lineage out of fear of reprisals.
But it is believed his family line is one of the oldest
in France and a part of the nobility of France.
Louis married in Mannheim
and in 1660 the family left Mannheim for the Dutch
Colony of New Netherlands. He traveled to New Netherlands
in the company of Antoin Crispell, another of the
original Patentees of New Paltz.
Within three months of
arriving, Louis DuBois received grants of land in
Wiltwyck (now known as Kingston) and proceeded
north to settle there. Fate would have it that within
two months of their arrival in Wiltwyck they were
caught up in the Esopus Wars between the Dutch and
Esopus Indians. In 1663 the Esopus Indians rose up
again against the Dutch at Wiltwyck and captured hostages
of women and children and carried them off to the
south. Louis' wife and three of his children were
among those taken.
Louis DuBois joined a
party of Dutch established to rescue the captives.
It was on this raid down to what is now the Wurtsboro
area that Louis first saw the land of the Wallkill
Valley, what is now New Paltz, and determined to establish
a Huguenot Settlement on this land.
As the Huguenot with the
longest tenure with the Dutch, he became the acknowledged
leader of the group and headed the party in their
negotiations first with the Indians and then with
the new English Government that had taken over the
colony in 1664.
Louis DuBois moved to
the new settlement and resided there until 1686, when
he returned to Kingston to live.
Louis had two sons that
figure in the future of New Paltz, Abraham and Issac.
Both Abraham and Issac were named on the charter as
members of the original 12 Patentees despite their
young ages of 21 and 18. Abraham married Margaret
Deyo, daughter of Christian Deyo, another of the Patentees.
Together they had a daughter, Sarah, who later married
Roelif Elting and together they purchased the Bevier-Elting
House in 1760.
Abraham died in 1731 and
is buried in the Walloon Cemetery.
The other son of note,
Issac, married Maria Hasbrouck, daughter of Jean Hasbrouck
the Patentee. Issac died in 1690 and was survived
by his wife and several children, of whom Daniel was
the eldest son. Upon Issac's wives death 35 years
later, she deeded the family lands to Daniel.
It was Daniel that erected
the building now known as "The Old Fort" in 1705.
Daniel died in 1752 and is also buried in the Walloon
The home stayed in the
hands of the DuBois family continuously until it was
purchased by the DuBois Family Association in 1968
for the Huguenot Historical Society.
In granting the Patent
of lands to the Huguenots, Governor Andros made certain
stipulations, one of which was that they build a "Redoute
there first for a place of Retreat and Safeguard upon
occasion." Although there is evidence that indeed
they did make a token fortification they did not follow
the letter of the Grant and build a permanent structure.
The Huguenots belief was
that such a structure would be a provocation to the
Esopus Indians and be an open display that they no
longer trusted them. The history of acquiring the
lands of New Paltz started with the Huguenots negotiating
directly with the Indians and making a contract for
Unlike the Dutch and English
of the time, their agreement was clearly negotiated
not for hunting rights and their later ursupation
of ownership of the land, but outright purchase of
the land itself. The chiefs of the tribe understood
this agreement clearly, and it was approved by all
family heads of the tribe. In exchange, the Huguenots
paid a very tidy some for those days and purchased
the land outright.
They had learned the lessons
of mistakes by the Dutch and determined not to repeat
them. As proof of their success, they never had cause
for concern from the Indians of the area.
But the Governor "insisted",
so in 1705 Daniel DuBois constructed his home to comply
with the requirements of the government.
What its exact configuration
was at the time of construction is now impossible to
tell. It was most likely similar in layout to the other
homes of New Paltz, but incorporated certain features
qualifying it as the fort. The only remaining features
of the building obviously included for this purpose
are the two "gun ports" on the eastern face of the building.
In an old Dutch
tradition, and the only one still existing in New
Paltz, the exact date of the construction of the house
is plainly obvious. In building the house it is necessary
to extend iron rods from the ends of the beams into
the stone wall to secure them. In the case of this
house, they extended those rods on the four corners
of the facade out through the walls on the eastern
face, the street face, and decorated them with iron
work. Each of the four rods end in a number, 1, 7,
0 & 5, plainly saying 1705.
Over the centuries much
has been done to this structure masking it's original
appearance. At some point a full second story and
attic were added and the main entrance moved to the
center of the north face of the building. This work
was most likely done early in the 19th century as
it visually transforms the outside of the house into
an approximation of a Federal Period structure, tho
In the 19th century the
wood frame addition was put on the western end of
the building and housed the kitchen and other domestic
spaces. The two porches were added in the 20th century.