Louis DuBois was a Huguenot colonist in New Netherland who, with two of his sons and nine other refugees, founded the village of New Paltz, New York. These Protestant refugees fled Catholic persecution in France and Belgium, emigrating to the Die Pfalz, the Rhenish Palatinate in modern Germany, before going to New Netherland where they settled in Wiltwyck and Nieuw Dorp, Dutch settlements midway between New Amsterdam and Beverwyck (today known as Albany, New York) before ultimately founding New Paltz.
Born October 21, 1626 in Wicres, Artois France, to Chretien DuBois, Louis married Catherine Blanchan at Mannheim, Germany, October 10, 1655. He came to New Netherland probably in 1661.
DuBois and the others bought a 40,000 tract of land from the Esopus Indians in 1677. The tract, known in 17th century colonial New York as a "patent," stretched from the Hudson River to the Shawangunk Mountains. DuBois was one of eleven men to begin settling on a rise over the Wallkill River, in the center of the patent, in 1678.
In the early years, DuBois and his fellow patentees governed the land communally. In 1728, they created a more formal form a government called "The Twelve Men" (later known as the Duzine). This body consisted of one elected representative for each patentee families. Membership was restricted to their descendants through either male or female lines. To this date, some of the DuBois land is still owned by the family descendants. In 1785, the New York State Legislature confirmed the actions of this body. Although a standard form of town government was established in the late 1700s, the Duzine existed in at least ceremonial form into the 1800s. In the later years of the Duzine, the members were consumed with lawsuits defending the boundaries of the New Paltz patent. At one time, the Duzine hired Aaron Burr to represent them in such a lawsuit.
Louis himself eventually returned to Wiltwyck, by then known as Kingston, where he died June 23, 1696. His widow remarried, and in her will freed two of her slaves.
The original settlement of Louis DuBois and his fellow patentees survives today as Historic Huguenot Street, a National Historic Landmark District. The site includes the DuBois Fort, a colonial stone house built by one of Louis' sons.
W.E.B. DuBois is said to be grandson of a loyalist descendant of Louis DuBois' brother who left for the West Indies. Most DuBois descendants supported the revolution, though, and now, descendants of the family's "French father" can be found in every state of the union.