The father of the first immigrants of the DuBois family is Chretien DuBois, born circa 1590. He lived in the village of Wicres, near Lille, France where he was a linen merchant.
At the time, Lille was part of French-speaking Walloon Flanders. In 1555, it was ruled by Philip II of Spain, the oldest son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Being part of Catholic Spanish Netherlands, there began the suppression of the Protestant religion.
Chretien married Francoise le Poivre and had seven children:
Francoise (1622- )
Anne (1624- )
Because of the persecution, Walloons fled to find a safer haven. Many sought refuge in the city of Mannheim, located at the confluence of the Neckar and Rhine rivers in the northwestern portion of Baden-Württemberg. Among them were Louis DuBois, Mathése (or Matthew) Blanchan and Antoine (or Anthony) Crispel. The last two would become Louis' father-in-law and brother-in-law, respectively.
The city was fortified by Frederick IV, the Elector Palatine of the Rhine in 1606 when he believed that a religious war was forthcoming. The city was essentially levelled by the Bavarian forces under General Johan Tilly during the Thirty Years War. When the city was rebuilt, it welcomed the French Protestants and allowed them to establish their own French Evangelical church. For a time, they were united with the German Evangelical Reformed church, with the understanding that services and Holy Communion would be conducted in French during the spring and fall.
The first time the DuBois name appears in Mannheim is in 1653 where it was inscribed by French clergymen in the German church records. On 10 October 1655, Louis DuBois, about 28 years old, married Catherine Blanchan. She was between twenty and twenty-six years old, having been born about 1629 or 1635 in Artois region of France. They would then have 2 sons: Abraham in 1657 and Isaac in 1659.
However, maybe out of fear of being so close to a hostile nation that could invade at any time, Louis and his family, plus his in-laws the Blanchans and Crispels (Antoine had married Catherine's sister Maria), decided to leave and emigrate to the New World in 1660.
The first to make the journey to North America were Mathése Blanchan, his wife Madeline (nee Jorisse), their three youngest children, and Antoine and Maria Crispel. On April 27, 1660 they departed, most likely from Amsterdam, aboard the Dutch West India Company vessel De Vergulde Otter (the "Gilded Otter"). They arrived at New Amsterdam (the present-day city of New York) in June, the voyage having lasted about six weeks. The tiny vessel carried one hundred and eleven passengers, not counting Capt. Cornelius Reyersz Vander Beets and his crew. Besides the Dutch and Huguenot families, there were fifteen Dutch soldiers, one of whom was married and had two children. The ship also carried two single passengers who were Swedish.
The Blanchan and Crispel families relocated to the village of Esopus (later named Wiltwyck and then Kingston), a small settlement of about eighty farmers, ninety miles up the Hudson River. On 7 December 1660, Reverend Hermanus Blom, minister to the Dutch Reformed Church there, noted "their presence at his first celebration of the Lord's Supper."
It is believed that Louis DuBois, his wife and two sons probably followed aboard the ship St. Jan Baptist, arriving at New Amsterdam on 6 August 1661. A few months after their landing, they also settled in Wiltwyck (formerly Esopus). Their next son, Jacob, was born there on 9 October 1661. Francoise, Louis' sister, and her husband Pierre Billiou also emigrated in 1661, settling in Staten Island, NY. Fourteen years later, his brother Jacques and his wife, Pierrone (nee Bentyn), arrived in Kingston.
In 1677, Louis DuBois and 11 other settlers ultimately purchased 40,000 acres of land from the Esopus Indians, which was afterward granted by Governor Andros. The land was then divided among the twelve patentees (Louis, Abraham, and Isaac DuBois; Louis Bevier; Christian and Pierre Deyo; Jean and Abraham Hasbrouck; Simon and Andre Le Fevre; Hugo Freer; and Antoine Crispel) into large plots of land. The plots consisted of wilderness and farmland. The farms were located on the heights to the east and west of the Wallkill River. The commercial center was on the eastern shore of the river, where the first dwellings were built. The street is known as Huguenot Street and many of the original buildings still stand. The village was named New Paltz, in honor of their former home in the Rhineland Pfalz region. Because of the dialect used by the people of Mannheim, they pronounced the name "Paltz", omitting the "f" in Pfalz.
Louis DuBois died 23 June 1693 at the age of 66. He left his wife Catharine a very wealthy woman. A lot of the property in the family may have come from her father when he died. She later married Jean Cottin, the schoolmaster in New Paltz. Catherine died in Kingston on 18 October 1713.