Solomon DuBois and Rachel Elting Family Papers (1812-1944)

Finding Aid Completed by Eric Roth, May 18, 1999
Revised May 17, 2004
Volume: 1 cu. ft.
Acquisition: The papers were donated to the Huguenot Historical Society by Helena LeFevre. Date is unknown.
Access: Unrestricted. Selections from this collection are available online.
Copyright: Request for permission to publish materials from these records should be discussed with the Archivist and Director of the Huguenot Historical Society.

Biographical Note

This collection primarily documents the life of Solomon DuBois (1839-1924), fruit farmer and cattle raiser at New Paltz, NY.  Solomon’s wife Rachel Elting (1847-1921) and her father Roelof Elting (1809-1884) are also significantly represented in the papers.

Solomon DuBois G-1816 [1], fruit grower, was born on June 23, 1839 to Jacob G. DuBois and Cornelia Deyo.  On November 11, 1875 he married Rachel Elting (1847-1921), daughter of Roelof Elting and Blandina LeFevre, and had four children.  As a youth, he attended the New Paltz Academy, and at least from 1860-1861 attended the Westfield Institute in Westfield, Connecticut. Rachel Elting attended the Poughkeepsie Female Academy from 1861-1865.

Solomon DuBois was known locally for his fruit farms in Modena and New Paltz, and for raising Holstein-Fresian cattle that he acquired from Holland.  Mr. and Mrs. DuBois were members of the Dutch Reformed Church of New Paltz, and Mr. DuBois was also a member of the Huguenot Grange, and the Holstein-Fresian Association of America.  His obituary lists him as a Republican in politics.  Mrs. DuBois died on May 26, 1921 and Mr. DuBois died on April 9, 1924. 

Collection Description

The majority of the collection consists of materials created by the DuBois, Elting, LeFevre and Deyo, families of New Paltz, New York during the mid-to-late 19th century. Records include family and Civil War letters, school essays and report cards, school and church event programs deeds, mortgages, wills, receipts, stock certificates, photographs, farm surveys, financial correspondence, and business cards.  The major subjects documented in the collection include school life at Poughkeepsie, New York and Westfield, Connecticut during the 1860’s; military life in Louisiana during the Civil War; travels to and land speculation in Detroit, Iowa, Kansas and Wisconsin; and the agriculture business.  

The main strength of the collection lies in the number of subjects discussed in the correspondence.  Letters to and from Rachel Elting while she was attending the Poughkeepsie Female Academy in the early 1860’s are particularly rich in content, providing information on the subjects studied at the school, primarily music.  The letters also discuss events and concerts attended, social interactions, and to a lesser extent, local politics.  One 1864 letter from Rachel’s schoolmate Jessie L. Gilbert discusses a conflict between a teacher and student that resulted in the girl leaving the school.  Also of interest are letters to and from Solomon DuBois, Union physician S.E. Hasbrouck and Union soldiers Johannes LeFevre, A.L.F. Deyo and others describing black children and slaves working for the Union army, troop movements and other military news, surgeon’s pay, military hospitals, and parole duty.  

Other letters discuss farming, courting rituals, the temperance movement and the Anti-Saloon League, travels westward, land speculation, financial matters and family issues such as births, deaths, illnesses, etc.  Of particular interest are several letters discussing the mental illness of Josiah LeFevre and his stay at the Hudson River State Hospital in 1880-1881.  The school papers of both Solomon DuBois and Rachel Elting document student life during the 1860’s in the Northeast.  Essays and poems composed for their classes discuss morals, “country life” (as opposed to “city life”), Native American Indians, New Paltz, and organizations such as the “Shovel Company” and the “Philomathian Society.”  The report cards of Rachel and Solomon also provide insight to the subjects studied and grading methods. There are also photographs and postcards with images of Solomon DuBois and other family members (including images from an early 20th century child’s birthday party, his cattle, and the New Paltz Normal School.

The overall condition of the papers is good and the handwriting legible.  There are no restrictions on access to the collection, which is organized into folders alphabetically by format (estate and legal papers, miscellaneous, receipts) and thereunder by date.  Envelopes from the correspondence, however, have been separated and are only available upon special request. Huguenot Historical Society also maintains several other collections of DuBois family papers among its collections.  These include Garret and Roelof DuBois Family Papers (1777-1882), Hendricus and Mathusalem DuBois Family Papers (1702-1927), Josiah DuBois Receipt Book (1794-1854), Nathaniel and Isaac DuBois Family Papers (1778-1927), Patterson DuBois Family Papers (1775-1921), Petrus DuBois Family Papers (1732-1869), and the Daniel and Simon DuBois Family Papers (1695-1864). Researchers should also consult the Huguenot Historical Society Bible and Rare Book Collection and Ciphering Book Collection for other items with DuBois family history. In the Bible Collection, the Bibles of Roelof Elting and Solomon DuBois are listed in the as numbers 37 and 38, respectively. 

Other collections in the Huguenot Historical Society Archives that may be of interest to researchers include the Elting Family Papers (1703-1928) and the LeFevre Family Papers “the Bontecoe LeFevres (1703-1937).  Both of these collections contain materials relating to Solomon DuBois and Rachel Elting their families.  The LeFevre Family Papers also contain Civil War letters from Solomon DuBois, Solomon Hasbrouck, Johannis LeFevre and other locals who joined the Union Army. In addition, photographs of Solomon DuBois, Rachel Elting, and family are found in PHO #028 Elting Family Photographs.

Folder/Item List

     (1868-1879 and undated)
Estate and Legal Papers (1828-1921 and undated) Legal-sized
Financial Papers (1870-1920)
Miscellaneous (1864-1944 and undated) Legal-sized
Photographs and Postcards (ca. 1860-ca. 1920)
Receipts (1812-1919)
School Papers (1860-1927 and undated) Legal-sized



[1] Identification numbers are taken from The American Descendants of Chretien DuBois of Wicres, France, 20 vols., compiled by William Heidgerd for the DuBois Family Association and the Huguenot Historical Society, Inc. New Paltz, New York (1968-1988). Unless otherwise noted, all genealogical information is taken from this source.