Toussaint Dubois

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Toussaint Dubois - j Bits of Indiana History 1816 - 1823....
j Bits of Indiana History 1816 - 1823. Toussaint Dubois Coming from Canada to Vlncennes as a fur trader, Toussaint Dubois, acquired that intimate knowledge of the Indians which led to his volunteer messenger service with General W. H. Harrison, who later appointed him captain of the guides and spies, preceding the battle of Tippecanoe. As one of the trustees of Vincennes university, he was identified with the earliest university west of the Allegheny mountains. Independent in his means, Mr. Dubois was the first to acquire a presidential land grant in that part of Knox county which afterward became Dubois county, the twentieth county in Indlsna. which was named In honor of Captain Dubois. There appears to be somo doubt as to whether ToussaJnt Dubois was born in France or Canada. Tradition points to his having left France for America with General Lafayette, and to his being consequently disinherited by his father, a t rench nobleman. Appearing in the New York papers, at one time, was a legal notice copied from a French newspaper, seeking information regarding Tous - saint Dpubois, as the French property which had been willed away from him for ninety - nine years, made provision for his heirs. In 1jT. when the Vincennes university was charter'! and Governor Harrison hecant, - president of thi - bo;irrl of trustee.' - , the iKinie of Touss.iint l::bois ap ea - as nli of the trustees, as it does on lottery ticket later issued by the university. Mr. Dubois was evidently a prosperous business man, conducting a store and warehouse In Vincennes. making trips to Baltimore and Philadelphia to buy goods, and acquiring property In Illinois and in Indiana. In Dubois county, then known as part of Knox county, Mr. Dubois was the first white man to own land. The patent Issued to him February lfi. 109. by President Jefferson. Is in the possession of the present owner of the farm in Township 1. This land was rirst occupied by the McDonald family and deeded by Mr. Dubois to his daughter Sussanne, the wife of William Jones. Some of this Dubois county property became a part of the Snerritt farm. Besides Sussanne, four Bons, Toussaint, Jr., Henry. Charles and Emanuel, - were born to Jeanne Bonneau. the first wife of Toussaint Dubois. She died in 1W), t the age of twenty - eight, and was buried in the old cemetery adjoining the St. Francis Xavier cathedral at Vincennes. The records of the church attest to the piety and benevolence of Mrs. Dubois and her grave Is probably "the best preserved and marked, in this God s acre." Charles Dubois seems to have been a wavward son, causing his father to insert a notice in the Western Sun in the Tall or 1814. cautioning people not to credit Charles, aa the rather would not pay any debts of the son's contracting "after thin date." Mr. Dubois contracted a second marriage with Miss Jane Baird. a Protestant, living near Bloomington. Her three sons were Thomas, James and Jesse Kilgore Dubois. When General Harrison attempted to warn the Indians against the Prophet's control, he gladly accepted the preferred services of Toussaint Dubois, Sr., as messenger to the various tribes. Following a refusal of "annuity salt" and an affront to the American boatmen aent to deliver the salt. Mr. Dubois sought an Interview with the Prophet. In June, 1810. and warned him against his hostile atti tude, linally inducing him to disclose the reasons for the hostility manifested to the I'nited States government. The Prophet complained that no sale of Indian lands was valid unless all tribes Joined in it and that the Great Spirit had ordered him to collect as many Indians as were possible at the mouth of thw Tippecanoe. Later, in an interview with Mr. Barron, another messenger, the Prophet referred to Mr. Dubois as a "spy." On account of Mr. Dubois's familiarity with the country and habits of the Indians, when General Harrison was organizing his army at Vincennes to proceed against the Prophet's town, he appointed Toussaint Dubois captain of the spies and guides. On November 3, 1M1. when about one mile and a half from the town the army halted. "Governor Harrison directed Captain Dubois to go forward with an Interpreter and request a conference with the Prophet. As Captain Dubois proceeded to execute his orders he met several Indians, to whom he spoke In a friendly manner. They refused to speak to him, but by motion urged him to go forward arul seemed to be endeavoring to cut him on from the main armv. "On being informed of this apparently hostile manifestation on the part of the Indians. Governor Harrison dispatched a messenger to recall Captain Dubois. Soon after the return of that officer, the whole army, in order of hattle. began to move toward the town." ''aptain Duhois was probably the last white man to isit the stubborn Prophet before the bnttle whi - h re. - ult - d s,, .lisastr.tislv for his prstise and shattered his brother Tcuniseb's dream of Indian confederacy. On September 26. 1S12, Captain Dubois was made commandant major of all the spies in Indiana. The tardiness of the government in paying its soldiers is evidenced by the notices to the sptes or guards which Major Dubois caused to be inserted in the Western Sun of 1811, advising the soldiers to call to receive some money for their services. Concerning the tragic death of Captain Dubois, the Western Sun of Saturday. March 16, 18Hi. said in a brief editorial: "On Monday last in attempting to cross the Little Wabash, was drowned Toussaint Dubois. In him the poor have lost a benefactor, his country a friend: he was a kind husband, an Indulgent father and an honest man." The records of the Catholic church are said to contain no mention of his burial. Mr. Dubois's confidence In the business ability of his wife Is attested by his will. In which he appointed her his executrix and desired her to select her two associates. As appears In the Western Sun. Mrs. Dubois selected her stepson, Toussaint Dubois. Jr.. and her stepdaughter's husband. William Jones. Among the descendants of Toussaint Dubois were Mrs. Robert Smvth atid son of i 'ra wfordsville. where also resided Mrs. William Blnford At Frankfort. Mrs W. P. Dunn lived. Jesse Kiltrore Dubois, the youngest son of Captain Dubois, became a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln, and his son. I'nited States Senator Fred T. Dubois, of P.lackfoot. Idaho, acquired the oil pa'ntlnes. Including his grandfather's portrait and the family silver, numbering about thirty pieces. Mrs. Peter R. MeCarty. of Vincennes, is a great grandchild of Captain Dubois. In naming Dubois county for Toussaint Dubois, the general assembly of Indiana formed "a noble monument to a noble man." Copyright, M. E. H. Library References Ciyknim. "Pioneer His - tory of Indiana": Plrtl. "Rante of Tippecanoe": Wllnon. "Hintorv of Captain Dutmls " Bee also Westej - n Sun files. !

Clipped from
  1. The Indianapolis News,
  2. 05 Oct 1915, Tue,
  3. Page 13

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