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A Colonial Colonel

Lewis DuBois was born in early 1744, and baptized on 9 September 1744 at the Reformed Dutch of Fishkill, New York. His father, Elias, was born in 1722 in Ulster County, New York, and his mother, Susannah Vanderburgh, born in 1725 in Poughkeepsie, New York. At some point, Lewis's father moved from Ulster County to Dutchess County.

Just before the Revolutionary War, Lewis had built a house on Dutchess County land that he had inherited from his great grandfather, Matheus Dubois. He was a carpenter working in Poughkeepsie and described as a carpenter, 5 feet, 7 inches tall. He enlisted in the Provincial Militia in 1762 at the age of 18.

He was active in the community and owned a large tract of land. From 1768 to 1773, he had a tavern, which he sold in 1773.

Lewis was one of the first signers of the Association Pledge, sometimes called the "Revolutionary Pledge" on 29 April 1775, in which the signers bound themselves to assist and defend the liberties of the colonies. On 28 June 1775, he was commissioned as a Captain in the Revolutionary forces and directed to form a Company from Dutchess County to become a part of Colonel James Clinton's 3rd New York Regiment. The regiment at once became a part of General Richard Montgomery's army for the invasion of Canada. Lewis was promoted to major while in Canada.

On 31 December 1775, colonial forces under Colonel Benedict Arnold and General Montgomery attempted to capture the British-occupied city of Quebec and with it win support for the American cause in Canada. The attack failed, and Montgomery was mortally wounded by a cannon blast. It was said that Lewis was near Montgomery when he fell.

"The The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec, December 31, 1775" by John Trumbull (1786)

In recognition of his service while in Canada, Lewis was commissioned a colonel by the Continental Congress 25 June 1776 "to raise a regiment for three years or during the war." This was to become the Fifth Regiment of the New York Line. His brother Henry served as his adjutant.

Lewis was referred to by a congressional committee 21 November 1776 as having been "well recommended to this Committee as an exceeding good Officer capable of commanding a Regiment with Credit to himself & advantageous to his country."

His regiment was posted in the Hudson Highlands at Fort Montgomery when it fell to a powerful British assault on 6 October 1777. Lewis suffered a bayonet wound in the neck, but succeeded in escaping with two hundred of his men; however, numerous others of the Fifth Regiment were taken prisoner by the British. The remnants of the unit served in the Iroquois campaign of the summer of 1779.

On 22 December 1779 Lewis resigned his position, but was then appointed colonel of a regiment of New York State levies on 1 July 1780. Since it was very difficult to get the militia together to protect the frontiers, these regiments of levies were mostly volunteers from the ranks of the militia who were offered large bounties between $20 to $200, in addition to the usual bounty. Lewis then took an active part in 1780 and 1781, clearing the Mohawk Valley of the Tories and Indians under Sir John Johnson, who were burning the homes and fields of American rebels.

After Lewis completed his service, he returned to the house to live there with his family. He is listed in the 1790 census as a householder in Poughkeepsie. He served as the High Sheriff of Dutchess County from 1781 to 1785 and in the State Assembly in 1786 and 1787. He was also promoted to brigadier general and commanded the Dutchess County Militia from 17 April 1787 until 13 June 1793.

Financial difficulties caused him to sell the house, his farm, and his other real estate in 1792. About this time Lewis moved to Maysfield, Montgomery County. In 1796 he was a representative for Montgomery County in the New York State Assembly, 19th session. By 1805 he was again a resident of Poughkeepsie, when, by legislative Act of 28 March 1805, he was awarded New York State bounty land. When Lewis applied for pension benefits on 28 March 1818, he was living in the City of New York. In 1820, according to pension papers, he was back living in Poughkeepsie, aged 76, with a wife aged about 73, and a granddaughter aged about 17.

He died 4 March 1824 at the age of 80.

Lewis is a unique member of the family tree since he has ties to both my maternal and paternal lines.


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