CATHERINE
BLANSHAN
DUBOIS
1627 - 1713
   Catherine (Catherine is also written Katryn, Catryn and Catharine) Blanshan was born October 27, 1627 to
Mattheus and Magdeleine Joire Blanshan in Wikres, France. Some time before 1647, Catherine’s parents
moved to England to escape persecution of the Huguenots, and then again to Mannheim, the Palatinate, lured
by inducements to Huguenots such as favorable tax laws to help rebuild that territory. Catherine was married to
Louis Du Bois, son of Chretien Du Bois, a Huguenot gentleman who had an estate at Wicres in La Bassee near
Lille, in French Flanders (now Artois), in the French Church at Mannheim on October 10, 1655. (The name du
Bois has been Americanized to Du Bois or Dubois.)  Louis DuBois was born in Wikres, Artois, French Flanders,
on October 21, 1626.
   Louis, Catherine and two children sailed to New Netherland in 1660 along with Catherine’s parents and
siblings.  They settled at Esopus, New York, then later at Hurley. In the new world, Louis was a farmer,
merchant, magistrate and leading citizen. In 1677 he helped to organize the purchase of 40,000 acres of land
from the Indians, known as the New Paltz Patent. Here he helped to organize a church and was the first elder
there. He later moved to Kingston and spent the remainder of his life there.
    An interesting account written by Elizabeth LeFevre tells about a major event in the Du Bois family’s lives:
   “One day Louis Du Bois, the leader of the men who afterward settled New Paltz, came home to find his house
in ashes and his wife and three little children gone, stolen by the Indians.
When Louis with his wife and children, fresh from the sea voyage, had hurried up the Hudson to Wiltwyck (now
Kingston) to join his wife’s family there, he found the little Dutch trading post just emerging from the throes of
what history calls “The First Esopus Indian War.” It had gone hard enough with the little settlement in the
wilderness, but the white men had brought it all upon themselves, for, as usual, the poor Indian was more
sinned against than sinning. The old chiefs had given warning time and time again that they could not be
responsible for their young braves when under the influence of liquor, yet still the whiskey flowed freely, for the
clink of money in the till then as now was more persuasive than the oratory of sachems. But it seems that selling
the Indians fire water was not enough. One night a party of young braves who had been husking corn for a
Wiltwyck farmer got into a drunken frolic. They had built a fire by the side of a brook and were having a glorious
time all by themselves, hair-pulling and howling at the top of their voices so loudly that the noise was heard
within the stockade at Wiltwyck. Although some soldiers who went out to reconnoiter brought back word as to the
harmless nature of the disturbance, ten young Dutchmen sallied out and attempted to massacre the savages
as they lay sleeping about their fire. This was the final act of injustice, the last straw as it were, to bring on the
war.
    As soon as peace was declared and it was safe to leave the stockade, Governor Stuyvesant having been
petitioned for more of the fertile untimbered lowlands where the Indians had raised corn and beans, a “New
Village” (Hurley) was started a few miles south of Wiltwyck. And here Louis DuBois settled with Matthew
Blanshan, his wife’s father, and Antoine Crispell, his brother-in-law, all of them God-fearing Huguenots who
doubtless had found little to their liking in the riotous trading post at Wiltwyck where the streets resounded from
morning to night with the clattering tongues of the Dutch housewives and from night to morning with the brawls
of drunken sailors.
    But peace was not for them yet. One day, it was June 7, 1663, the men came home from the lowlands to find
every house in the village destroyed by fire, only the smouldering ashes, and unfinished barn, a rick and a stack
of reeds to show that a village had been there. Not a living soul was there to welcome them and tell the tale, only
three dead men who lay where they had fallen. As for the women and children, they had been carried off,
prisoners of the Indians, and it seemed that immediate death might be a fater to be preferred. Wiltwyck had
suffered too, though not so deeply, for help came before the savages had time to finish their work there; but in all
from the two villages some 45 women and children were missing, and doughty old Governor Stuyvesant lost no
time in hurrying up from New Amsterdam Captain Martin Kregier with all the soldiers he could muster for the
rescue.  For he knew, down deep in his heart, that if he had kept his promise to the Red Men, to pay them for the
lawland gardens he had taken from them to give to the settlers at the New Village, and if he had not been so
hasty about sending 20 of their number, prisoners of the recent war, to be slaves in the unhealthy island of
Curacao – the deepest insult he could inflict upon freedom-loving savages—they never would have committed
this last outrage.
    “Early in July the soldiers reached Wiltwyck and then one expedition after another was made into the
wilderness wherever news could be obtained of an Indian encampment. Sometimes they returned empty-
handed, sometimes with booty, blankets, kettles, and a few Indians they had captured. Now and then they
succeeded in rescuing a white captive. One long and arduous journey they made with wagons and cannon and
a force of over 200 men through swamps and over mountains to the Indian fortress at Warwarsing where they
destroyed the great Council house of all the Esopus Indian clans. It had been rumored that the majority of the
white prisoners were kept here, but the fort had been abandoned just before the rescuing party reached it. And
so the summer dragged on and Louis as he returned from one expedition after another must have been
growing almost hopeless of ever seeing his wife and children again. Then, when it seemed that no stone had
been left unturned, word was brought by a friendly Wappinger Indian that the Red Men were guarding a large
party of prisoners at Shawangunk where they were building a new fort to replace the old one at Warwarsing
which the soldiers had destroyed. It was early in September. It had been raining for days and the streams were
all swollen to overflowing when Capt. Kregier set out with the Wappinger for guide and a party of 50 men; and we
know that Louis Du Bois was among them, though the Captain does not mention by name the “seven freemen”
who accompanied the soldiers.
    One day in early September a panic seized the Red Men, a fear that the soldiers were surely coming again.
They could retreat no farther, for they depended on their corn and beans to carry them through the winter and all
their other plantations had already been destroyed.  They had taken good care of these white women and
children, but if they were to be thwarted in their plans to hold them as hostages until their own brothers who had
been shipped as slaves to Curacao should be returned to them, there was still time to take a bitter revenge.
So squaws were sent out to gather faggots and they were laid in piles. The white women were brought forward.
All was ready. The light had only to be applied. Then it was that Catharine began to sing: “By the rivers of
Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion . . . .” She sang while the savages stood
motionless around. Perhaps she had a presentiment that her rescuers were near and she must do sometime,
anything to gain time; perhaps she did it only to keep up courage to the end. All at once a shot rang out on the
September air and some strange hounds nosed through the circle of listeners. The savages rushed to seize
their weapons but resistance was in vain and the chief and many of his warriors were slain.
      All this we know from the stories which have come down to us from the days of Louis. They tell, moreover,
how the rescuing party, in the words of the Wappinger guide, followed the “first Big Water” (Rondout Kill” till they
came to the second (Wall Kill) and the second till they came to the third (Shawangunk Kill). How Louis, always
pressing in advance of the soldiers, killed with his sword an Indian scout at Libertyville just as he was about to
let fly his deadly arrow. How he shot another Indian, a squaw, getting water at a spring in the hillside below the
fort. And the spring bears her name, Basha, to this very day.”
      Fourteen years later, a patent for a large tract of land lying between the Shawangunk Mountains and the
Hudson River, its four corners being Moggonck (Mohonk), Juffrou’s Hook (the point in the Hudson where the
town line between Lloyd and Marlborough strikes the river), Rapoos (an island in the Hudson near the estate of
Judge Parker) and Tower a Taque (a point of white rock in the Shawangunks near Rosendale Plains), was
granted Louis and his two oldest sons, Abraham and Isaac, and nine other Huguenots who had settled in
Hurley. Four months before the patent was granted, the land was purchased from the Indians for 40 kettles, forty
axes,  forty adzes, forty shirts, found hundred fathoms of white network, three hundred fathoms of black network,
sixty pairs of stockings, half small sizes, 100 bars of lead, one keg of powder, 100 knives, four kegs of wine, 40
oars, 40 pieces of heavy woolen cloth, 60 blankets, 100 needles, 100 awls, one measure of tobacco, two
horses, one stallion and one mare.
    Early in the spring of 1778 the Patentees left Hurley with their families to establish on the banks of the Wallkill
their new home, which they called New Paltz in memory of the old Palatinate on the Rhine which had given them
refuge before they fled to the new world.”

Le Fevre, Ralph.. History of New Paltz, New York and its old families (from 1678 to 1820) : including the
Huguenot pioneers and others who settled New Paltz previous to the revolution : with an appendix bringing down
the history of certain families and some other matter to 1850. Albany, N.Y.: Fort Orange Press, Brandon Print.
Co., 1909. Pp 9 -19.

   Louis Du Bois died in Kingston in 1696, leaving his wife a rich woman. She married the local New Paltz
schoolmaster Jean Cottin.

   “In his will, Louis had performed the unusual act of bestowing on her the full half of the property, in case she
should marry again. Louis had moved from New Paltz to Kingston in 1686, and died there ten years later. Mrs.
DuBois’ father, Matthew Blanshan, was a very rich man. Probably much of the property in the family had come
from him.
   Be that as it may, Jean Cottin sold his house and lot at New Paltz, moved to Kingston, married the widow of
Louis Du Bois and engaged in the mercantile business, which he carried on for about 20 years. Among the
Freer papers are a number with his signature. One is written in English, with a delightful French brogue. In a
letter still preserved among these old papers Mr. Cottin duns the recipient in a very polite manner, saying: “You
pay others; me you neglect.”
   When Jean Cottin died about 1723, he left his property, including his account books, which were in the French
language, to the church at Kingston. These account books are still in the chest containing the papers of the
Kingston church."
Le Fevre, Ralph.. History of New Paltz, New York and its old families (from 1678 to 1820) : including the
Huguenot pioneers and others who settled New Paltz previous to the revolution : with an appendix bringing down
the history of certain families and some other matter to 1850. Albany, N.Y.: Fort Orange Press, Brandon Print.
Co., 1909. P. 28.

Catherine died in Kingston in October 18, 1713.

The children of Catherine Blanshan and Louis Du Bois were:

Abraham Du Bois – born December 26, 1657 at Mannheim. He was baptized on October 5, 1657 under the
sponsorship of Anthoine Carton and Marie Blanshan. He settled at New Paltz in 1678. He married Margaret
Deyo on March 6, 1681. Margaret was born in 1662 to Jeanne Wibau and Christian Deyo. Abraham died October
7, 1731 and is buried in the Walloon cemetery at New Paltz.  (
http://macomberkin.com/tng/showmap.php?
cemeteryID=186)

Isaac Du Bois – born 1659 at Mannheim.  He settled at New Paltz in 1678. He married Marie Hasbrouck, who
was born in Mutterstadt in 1662, in June, 1683.  Isaac died June 28, 1690.

Jacob Du Bois – baptized October 9, 1661, at New Village (Hurley), New York. He married  Lysbeth Varnoy, born
in Holland to Cornelis Cornelissen Vernooy and Annatje Cornelis Vandercuyl, on March 8, 1689. They settled at
Hurley. Lysbeth died and in 1691 Jacob married Gerritje Gerritsen Van Nieukirk, born February 15, 1665.  Jacob
died in 1745.

Sarah Du Bois Jansen – born September 14, 1662 and baptized September 14, 1664 in Kingston, New  York.
She married Joost Jansz or Jansen Van Meteren, born in Gelderland in 1656, son of Jan Joost Van Meteren and
Maeken Hendrickson of Marbletown on December 12, 1682. Joost died in Salem County, New Jersey on June
13, 1706 and Sarah died in Salem County, New Jersey in 1726.

David Du Bois – baptized March 13, 1667 at Kingston, New York. He married Cornelia Varnoye or Vernooy,
daughter of Cornelis Cornelissen Vernooy and Annatje Cornelis Vandercuyl who was baptized April 3, 1667 in
Kingston, on March 8, 1689. They settled at Rochester, New York.

Solomon Du Bois – baptized February 3, 1669 at Hurley. He married Tryntje (Gitty?) Garretson or Tryntje Gerritse
Foochen (NewKirk), who was baptized in Kingston on March 12, 1669, around 1692. They settled at New Paltz
(Poughwaughtenonk). Solomon died February 2, 1759 at age 90 and Tryntje died the same year.

Rebecca Du Bois – baptized June 18, 1671. She died young.

Rachel Du Bois – baptized in Kingston on April 18, 1675. She died young.

Louis Du Bois Jr.  – born in Hurley in 1677. He married Rachel Hasbrouck, daughter of Abraham Hasbrouck and
Maria Deyo, baptized on May 12, 1680, on January 19, 1701 in Kingston. They settled at New Paltz (Nescatack).
Louis died in 1749.

Matthew or Mattheus Du Bois – born January 3, 1679, at Hurley. He married Sarah Matthysen Van Keuren,
daughter of Matthys Matthysen VanKeuren and Taatje Dewitt, baptized April 17, 1678 on January 17, 1697. They
settled at Kingston. Matthew died in Dutchess County, New York, in 1748.

Magdalena - baptized in New York on May 12, 1680.
The following is an excerpt from The Society of Negroes Unsettled": The History of Slavery in New
Paltz, NY
by Eric J. Roth which describes Mattheus Blanshan's married daughter Catherine's
efforts to free a slave woman.
"Prior to the Act of 1799 that established the mechanism for the gradual abolition of slavery within the state (to
be discussed later in this essay), manumission was a very rare occurrence in Ulster County. Of 207 wills of
slaveholders between 1696-1816 listed in Ulster County, N.Y. Probate Records by Gustave Anjou, only five
provided for the manumission of their slaves. Only one of these five wills was made by a Huguenot, Catherine
Cottin, who was then living in Kingston; the other four were made by Dutch settlers. The case of Catherine
Cottin's efforts to free a slave woman named Rachel is an interesting one. Catherine Cottin had been in the
Kingston area since 1661 when she arrived there with her family, which included her father Matthys Blanshan,
her first husband Louis DuBois, and brother-in-law Antoine Crispell, all of whom were Huguenots with origins
in French Flanders. During the Esopus Massacre of 1663, Catherine, her three children, and several other
family members were taken prisoner by the Indians during a raid on Kingston. They remained in captivity for
several months before being rescued by Dutch soldiers. Is it possible that Catherine's experience as a
prisoner could have influenced her decision to free Rachel? Catherine made a specific mention in her 1712
will that a manumission letter written for Rachel in 1709 "shall remain in force and be properly observed." All
records of Rachel disappear after Catherine's death in 1713. An indenture from 1714 transfers the ownership
of another slave, Dina, to Catherine's second husband Jean Cottin, but makes no mention of Rachel. The
indenture also stipulates that Dina was to be freed at Jean's death."
LEONIN BLANCHAMP, father of
MATTHEUS BLANSHAN, father of
Headstone of Louis and Catherine Blanshan DuBois in the Huguenot or Walloon Cemetery in New Paltz.
They are buried in the Kingston churchyard, not here. The dates do not correspond with historical records.
Louis Du Bois
Louis Du Bois burial place
Memorial headstone in Kingston churchyard