Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hudsonians Travel Abroad in 1883

The account of his visit with Abraham Lincoln in the fall of 1860 piqued my curiosity about Dr. John C. DuBois. Some research in the old newspapers at Fulton History uncovered this article, which appeared in the Hudson Daily Evening Register on May 21, 1883. It tells of the return of three Hudsonians--Dr. John C. Dubois, William H. Traver, and Prof. T. E. Combs--to the United States from a trip to Europe. So far, Gossips has been unable to locate the item by "our esteemed morning contemporary" referred to here, but on its own, this article provides interesting insight into life in Hudson in the 1880s.

Return of "The Three Innocents"
Our esteemed morning contemporary displays more "enterprise" than discretion when it informs its readers of the "return to their homes in this city" of foreign travelers, and tells how they look and what they say, several hours before they had landed from the steamer that brought them over. Had our contemporary applied at this office any time yesterday, we would [have] given them accurate information on the subject, and they would not have appeared so ridiculous this morning.
The steamer Germanic, of the White Star Line, on which Dr. John DuBois, ex-Mayor William H. Traver, and Prof. T. E. Combs, were passengers, sailed from Liverpool May 10th and Queenstown the 11th. She was signaled of Sandy Hook late Saturday night, and the agent of the Associated Press at that station immediately telegraphed the fact to the Register office, whence information was imparted to the families of the returning tourists. The steamer arrived at the bar at 4 o'clock Sunday morning, and reached her dock at about 7:30. She brings 1,068 passengers, besides the "Three Innocents."
Our Hudson friends have taken time to leisurely pass their baggage and other valuables through the Custom House, wash off the dust of "the effete monarchies" they have visited, discard the "foreign airs" they may have acquired, and return to their families and friends in the garb of simple American citizens. They are expected to leave New York at 4 o'clock this afternoon, and arrive by the 8:08 train this evening. They will be welcomed as cordially by their friends as they, no doubt, welcomed the sight of their native land.
To enhance the picture of life among the wealthy in Hudson in the late 19th-century, Gossips presents the homes to which two of the "Three Innocents" returned. Dr. John C. Dubois came home to the western half of this grand house, 318 Allen Street, where he lived with his wife, Evelina, and four children.

William H. Traver, in addition to being a former mayor, owned a lumber mill at Fourth and Columbia streets. He lived with his wife, Emma, four children, and two servants at 1 Willard Place, the first house on what was then a private street, just across the way from Dubois' house.

Courtesy Historic Hudson, Inc.
Traver's house was demolished in the 1950s to make room for St. Mary's Academy, the school building at the corner of Third and Allen that is still with us today.


  1. In the mid 90's i and a friend toured the empty rather abandoned western half of 318. An absolutely amazing warren of large rooms all with mysterious dark painted walls some of whos decorations reminded me of Pompeii.

  2. There is an apartment bldg on Joslen Blvd called The Dubois...It is my understanding that Dubois and Boice were the same family. Names modified,,Last I knew the bldg was owned by a member of the Boice family...Any other info on them?

    1. @jlezette--There could well be a connection between the DuBois family you mention and John C. DuBois, but I don't know what it is. John C. DuBois was the only child of Stephan Augustus DuBois, who moved to Hudson from Rhinebeck in 1851. There's a biography of Stephen Augustus DeBois in Ellis's History of Columbia County.

      There were two other men named DuBois mentioned in Ellis: Henry A. DuBois, whose house on Route 9 in Greenport just south of Hudson is pictured on page 187 of Ellis, and who, like Stephen A., was connected with Hudson River Bank, and Samuel T. DuBois. Anna Bradbury in her history of Hudson refers to Mrs. George W. DuBois's house on Columbia Turnpike.