Elias DeBoise, Frank’s father, was born about 1852 in Columbia, South Carolina to Marcus and Delia DuBose. (DuBose is the most common spelling of this family from South Carolina. DNA matches our DeBoise family with the DuBose family.) Elias was probably born into slavery, as were his parents. According to oral history passed on by Elias’s granddaughter there were two brothers of the DeBoise family who came from Canada. They argued, fought, and separated, never reconciling. Elias is one of those brothers. Documentation has not been found yet to support this story, and might never be found, but it is very probable. Columbia, South Carolina was an active port of the Underground Railroad before the Civil War, and escaped slaves fled to the Northeast and Canada either over land or by water, departing from Charleston. The first record found for Elias is the 1874 Worcester City Directory, where he was living and working as a waiter.
Worcester was a northern city which welcomed freed African-Americans from the South after the Civil War, as well as those escaping slavery before the War. Worcester was very active in the anti-slavery movement, and many African-Americans had positive interactions with soldiers and teachers from Worcester during the Civil War. In 1867 Worcester established a Freedmen’s Office to help African-Americans find employment and housing, and the African-American population in the city doubled during the 1860s. Unfortunately, the new residents had difficulty breaking out of subservient jobs, as was the case with the next generation, even though Worcester was vibrant with manufacturing. Migration from the South continued throughout the 1800s. Wages were higher than the South, and the schools were not segregated. (Mass Moments: Office to Help Freed Slaves Open In Worcester, September 27, 1867. Accessed at http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=280 on November 29, 2016.)
Records describe Elias as mulatto. He worked as a waiter, hostler (working with horses), teamster, laborer, and molder. He was able to break into factory work by 1894 and was working at the Crompton & Knowlton Loom Works, one of the most prominent manufacturers of looms for textile factories, at the time of his death.
Elias married Phillis Williams on June 5, 1879 in Worcester. Phillis was born about 1850 in New Bern, North Carolina, the daughter of Lettie Williams, a free person of color. Per the 1860 census, Lettie was mulatto, had $100 in personal property, and worked as a washerwoman. During the Civil War soldiers and teachers from Worcester were in New Bern, and a relationship developed in which African-Americans were helped in their move North to settle in Worcester. By 1880 Phillis was back in New Bern with her brother, Thomas Williams. No information has been found on Phillis after 1880.
In 1880 Elias was living with Rose (Anderson) Edwards and her daughter, Alice. Although no formal record of marriage has been found for Elias and Rose, they lived the rest of their lives together as husband and wife.
Elias died April 12, 1898 from pneumonia, leaving three children. His house at 23 Tufts Street was mortgaged with no equity, and he had little personal property. He died without a will, and probate concluded that he did not have a widow or heirs.
Worcester Daily Telegram, Thursday, April 14, 1898
In this city, April 12, Elias Deboise, aged 48 years. Funeral Thursday at 1 p.m. at Curtis chapel, Hope cemetery. Relatives and friends are invited to attend.
Worcester Daily Telegram, Friday, April 15, 1898
FUNERAL OF ELIAS DUBOIS
The funeral of Elias Dubois, who died in city hospital Tuesday, was from the undertaking rooms of Hildric & Putnam yesterday afternoon. There were short services at Curtis chapel by Rev. I. D. Jacobs after which the body was interned in Hope cemetery. The only floral tribute was a large bunch of Easter lillies from the employees of the Crompton & Knowlton works, where the deceased work.
Little is known about Elias’s parents, Marcus and Delia DuBose. They lived, at the time of Elias’s birth, in Columbia, South Carolina. They were probably slaves of the DuBose family of South Carolina. DNA indicates that our DeBoise family is related to or descended from Peter Perdept DuBose of South Carolina and Georgia. Peter, his son, or another close family member is likely the father of either Marcus or Delia. Peter’s family is descended from French Huguenots who immigrated to South Carolina in the late 1600s, and were large landowners and slaveholders in South Carolina. Elias is also a family name found frequently in the DuBose family genealogy. Hopefully, DNA will help us solve the exact nature of the relationship with the DuBose family.
Rose Anderson, the wife of Elias and mother of Frank, was born about 1847 in Milledgeville, Georgia. She was the daughter of Noah and Susan Anderson, and was probably born into slavery. By 1870, when she was 19, she was living in Worcester and working as a domestic servant in the home of Bainbridge Moulton and his family. She married (1) Daniel Allston on November 14, 1872 in Worcester. Daniel was born about 1835 in Smyrna, Delaware, and served in the Civil War from 1863-1865 as a sailor. He was a fireman at the time of his enlistment (US, African American Civil War Sailor Index, 1861-1865. Accessed at Ancestry.com). On her marriage application to Daniel, Rose indicated she was 25, and named her parents. This marriage did not last long, because on October 26, 1879 Rose married (2) William Edwards. William was born about 1849 in New York City, but little else is known about him. Again, she listed her age as 25. William and Rose had a daughter, Rosa Alice Edwards, who was born July 11, 1879 in Worcester, three months before their marriage.
Rose and her daughter, Alice, were living with Elias in 1880 when the census was taken. Alice died at 16 years of age on September 12, 1894 from pyelitis septicemia, an infection of the kidney and blood poisoning. Alice was working as a domestic at the time of her death. Although no record of death has been found for Rose, she had to die between the birth of her youngest son in September 1891 and the death of her husband in April 1898.
Little is known about Rose’s parents, Noah and Susan Anderson. Noah might have been the slave of the Anderson family of Baldwin County, Georgia. There was one Anderson family in the area, and members were descended from William Anderson, who was born in Virginia, served in the Revolutionary War, and received land grants in Georgia in the early 1800s. His youngest son was George W. Anderson, of Milledgeville who had 10 slaves listed in the 1850 census. George did not have slaves listed in the 1860 census, but his sisters, Louisa, Sarah, and Mary Ann were slaveholders. Although George and Louisa had men in the slave household who might be Noah, estimated ages are off 5 to 10 years. However, many of those born into slavery did not know how old they were.
Milledgeville is in the central part of Georgia, and it is known for its cotton. On the Oconee River, the city was in an ideal location for commercial shipping of its agriculture products. The City was the first planned capital of Georgia, and in 1861 Georgia voted to succeed from the Union in the Milledgeville courthouse. Milledgeville was devastated in 1864 by General Sherman. Sherman occupied the town, destroyed many of the structures, and wiped out the farms around the city. The capital of Georgia was moved to Atlanta following the Civil War.
Noah registered to vote in Baldwin County, Georgia on June 28, 1867. The 1880 census for Milledgeville lists Noah Anderson, farm laborer, born about 1810 in Virginia, and married to Lucius, born about 1820 in Georgia. Children listed in the household included daughters Eliza and Sarah Anderson. Lucius could be a second wife. No additional information has been found on him or Susan.
Elias and Rose had at least five children, and all were born in Worcester. They are:
1. Joseph was born between 1880 and 1884, and died August 28, 1884.
2. Agnes Cora was born about 1882. She was 20 years old when she married John H. Paxton on May 4, 1903 in Worcester. John was 16 years older than Agnes, and was born about 1866 in East Windsor, New Jersey. This was his second marriage. John was a coachman and chauffeur, and died of heart disease when he was 46 years old on November 18, 1912. Agnes was only 29 years old when she was widowed. In 1920, she was a servant in the household of Sarah Daniels of Worcester. She did not have any children. This was the last record found of Agnes.
3. Frank Henry was born December 10, 1884, and was discussed in an earlier post.
4. Bessie A. was born November 5, 1889. She was 16 years old when she married Charles E. Reese on November 22, 1905 in Fall River. In 1910 they were living in New Haven, Connecticut. About 1922, when she was 33, she married Isaiah Wilbur “Billy” Smith. She was 66 years old when she died on March 25, 1956 in New Haven. Richard remembers when he was young spending summers with his great aunt and her husband, Uncle Billy. She would dress him in short pants, which he did not like, and Uncle Billy would bring him ice cream when he came home from work.
5. Joseph was born September 18, 1891, and died 2 ½ months later on December 2 from marasmus, a severe form of malnutrition.
Many of the older DeBoise family is buried in Hope Cemetery in Worcester. Attached is information on the plot, location, and who is buried there.
The next post will be on the Perkins family.