Biography of Bradford H. Dubois of Denver Colorado

Bradford H. Dubois, president of the State Sanitary Board, has been very successfully connected with the mining interests of Colorado. Coming to Colorado in 1877, he, with Gen. John A. Logan, Governor Routt and J. V. Holcomb, hired a large carriage for the season and, amply provided with provisions, set out for the mining regions of the state, In July of that year they arrived in Oro. In February of the next year Leadville, three miles below Oro, was located and named. At the suggestion of J. J. DuBois, the only brother of our subject, the original name of Stabtown was changed to the more pleasing and appropriate appellation of Leadville. After some months among the mines, in November, 1877, General Logan and Mr. DuBois returned to Illinois; but in the spring of the next year the latter again went to Leadville, where he engaged in mining. With three others he located the Maid of Erin, which has produced nearly $6,000,000 and paid dividends to the amount of about $3,000,000. This mine is still being worked and is one of the most famous in the world. After some time, by consolidation, the Henrietta and Maid Consolidated Mining Company was incorporated in 1884. The same gentlemen also discovered and located the best portion of the Crystallite, that has since become famous, but their interest in this they soon sold. In addition to other mining interests Mr. Dubois is vice-president of the Hill Top Mining Company, which is in active operation, and owns the largest lead-producing mine in Colorado.

Tracing the record of the DuBois family, we find that Louis Dubois was born in France, but on account of religious persecution fled to Holland, where he married. In 1624 he came to America and was one of the original twelve patentees of Ulster County, N. Y., where he bought a large tract of land at New Paltz. His Son, Jonathan, had a son, Cornelius, who was a captain in the Revolution. Next in line of descent was Mathelsohn, a large land owner. His son, John B. DuBois, our subject’s father, was born near Kingston, Ulster County, and engaged in the mercantile business at Libertyville until his retirement, when fifty-two years of age. For years he held the office of supervisor. His wife was Mary Hand, who was born in Libertyville, and died in Denver in 1895. Her father, Abel Hand, was born in Connecticut, removed to New York and carried on a mill at Libertyville, later going to Palatine Bridge, the same state, where he died. He was a soldier in the war of 1812. He had only two children, sons, and they reside in Colorado, J. J. being proprietor of a ranch six miles east of Denver.

Born in Ulster County, New York, in 1853, Bradford H. Dubois attended the Libertyville school and New Paltz Academy, then was a student in the Illinois University at Champaign, remaining there until the close of the junior year. Later he engaged in business in Decatur, Ill., where he remained until his removal west. In 1885 he became interested in ranching, purchasing a tract one-half mile from the city limits, and at once proceeded to improve its seven hundred and fifty acres, which he irrigates from the High Line ditch, beside having artesian water in every field. General farm products are raised here, also standardbred horses, several of which have made world’s records, and Jersey cattle.

Politically Mr. DuBois is a Democrat. He made his headquarters in Leadville until 1885, when he removed to Denver. Under the administration of Governor McIntire he was appointed president of the state sanitary board, and when Governor Adams became chief executive he was again chosen for this responsible position. In Denver he married Mrs. Eva (Speer) Moore, the first girl born in Lawrence, Kan., of which her father, John Speer, was one of the most prominent pioneers, also editor of the abolition paper that excited the wrath of the slavery supporters. In his family there were eight children, the eldest of whom, John, a married man, was murdered August 21, 1863, and the second son, Robert, who it is supposed was murdered, was buried on the day his older brother was killed.

The third son, William, is a railroad man in Wichita, Kan.; Mary, Mrs. Wood Neff, died in Topeka in 1886; Eva was next in order of birth; Rosa died when a young lady; Hardin lives in Denver; and Joseph was accidentally killed by a playmate when seven years of age. Mrs. DuBois was educated in the University of Kansas, at Lawrence, and when a young woman was married to Charles D. Moore, who was born in Bridgeton, N. J., and grew to manhood in Kansas, but in 1881 removed to Robinson, Colo., where he was manager of the Robinson mine until his death in 1886. He left one daughter, Edna. The year after her husband’s death Mrs. Moore came to Denver, where afterward she was married to Mr. DuBois. She is a member of the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, and a lady of fine mental endowments, whose superior attributes of character attract many friends.

Hon. John Speer, father of Mrs. DuBois, was born in Armstrong County, Pa., December 27, 1817, of Scotch descent on both sides. One of the ancestors, Donald Cargill, was a leader of the last struggle against Charles II, and was beheaded in 1661. John Speer emigrated from Ireland in 1792 and settled in South Carolina, but his anti-slavery opinions made the neighborhood unpleasant and he removed to Mercer County, Pa., where he purchased a farm now owned by descendants. His son, Capt. Robert Speer, learned nail manufacturing in Pittsburg, and followed the trade until steam power took the place of hand work. In 1830 he removed to a farm in Armstrong County, where he died at ninety-five years. His wife, Barbara, was a daughter of Adam and Nancy Lowrey, who were born in Ireland, of Scotch descent.

When twelve years old John Speer secured a horseback mail route, to help pay for the land his father had bought. The route extended from Kittanning to Carversville, a distance of seventy-five miles through a ragged, rough country, and sixteen miles of which was a most dreary wilderness. He gave the name of Rock Springs to one place in the wilderness. After following this work for some years he became a printer’s apprentice, at which he served for three years in Indiana, Pa., meanwhile continuing his private studies of grammar, mathematics and the sciences. For four months he was employed on the Kittanning Gazette. In 1839 he began the publication at New Castle, Pa., of the Mercer and Beaver Democrat, a Whig paper, which supported General Harrison for president. In 1840 he was employed on the Portsmouth Tribune, and also made a trip through Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, later taking a flatboat trip to New Orleans. In 1842 he established the Harrison Gazelle, a Whig weekly, at Corydon, Ind., but soon returned to Ohio and assisted in the editing of the Mount Vernon Times, after which, in September, 1843, he established the Democrat Whig at Medina, Ohio. The office was destroyed by fire in 1848, but was soon re-established, and he continued to publish the paper until 1853, when he declared that the Whig party had outlived its usefulness. On the passage of the Kansas and Nebraska bill he went to Kansas, locating at Lawrence September 27, 1854, and on the 15th of October publishing the first number of the Kansas Pioneer, which in January, 1855, was changed to the Kansas Tribune. In November of that year the paper was moved to Topeka and published there by Speer & Ross until 1854, when it was sold to the junior partner. Afterward Mr. Speer engaged in dealing in lumber, but in December, 1859, bought the Lawrence Republican, which he conducted until September 4, 1862. January 1, 1863, he revived the Kansas Tribune at Lawrence, and this he conducted until August 21, 1863. On that day the plant was destroyed by Quantrell’s band, who went up to Lawrence intending to kill or capture John Speer, its editor. In November the paper again started and he continued its editor until 1871, when he retired temporarily. From October, 1875, to March, 1877, he was again connected with the paper as its editor. Since his retirement from editorial work he has devoted much of his time to literary work, for which his wide travels, extensive experience and vigorous style of writing admirably qualify him. In 1864 he was a delegate to the convention at Baltimore that nominated Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson for president and vice-president. At one time he was state printer of Kansas. He was a member of the house of representatives of the first free state legislature, from 1862 to 1866 was United States collector for the state of Kansas, and in 1864 was elected to the state senate.

In Corydon, Ind., July 14, 1842, Mr. Speer married Elizabeth D., daughter of John and Martha (Withers) McMahan, the latter a descendant of Governor Dinwiddie, of Virginia, the former a relative of the Hardins of Kentucky. She was educated in a Catholic school near Bardstown, Ky., and was a woman of exemplary character, and in religious belief a Methodist. The night when the Tribune office was set on fire, her son, John M., was shot down in cold blood, and a younger son was either murdered or burned to death in the office; the house, too, was set on fire, but she prevented it from being destroyed. She died April 9, 1876.


Source: Portrait and biographical record of Denver and vicinity, Colorado : containing portraits and biographies of many well known citizens of the past and present : together with biographies and portraits of all the presidents of the United States.. Chicago: Chapman Pub. Co., 1898.


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