Cat’s Cafe Who’s Who ~ Fred Thomas Dubois

Another historical figure I have included in the first book of the Eagle Rock Trilogy is Fred Dubois. He became a U.S. Marshal and two-term senator in Idaho and is described in The Statesman (August 23, 2015) by Arthur Hart as “a controversial U.S. senator from Idaho, remembered today for his anti-Mormonism and relentless pursuit of polygamist members of the LDS church in the 1880s.”

Residing in Springfield, Illinois for most of his childhood, he moved to Idaho in 1880 with his brother, Dr. Jesse Dubois, Jr. and was selected to be a U.S. Marshall for the Idaho Territory in 1882. For the purposes of my story, I have him serving in this capacity in mid-1879 to introduce him in Cat’s Cafe since he will become a significant figure throughout the trilogy.

Dubois’s father, Jesse Kilgore Dubois, was recommended by Lincoln to be the Illinois state auditor and moved his family to a new home on Eighth Street, Springfield, Illinois, just down the street from the Lincoln home. This home is now restored and is part of the Lincoln Home National Park in downtown Springfield. Fred was eight at the time and about the same age as the two older Lincoln boys. Arthur Hart’s article in The Statesman suggests that, due to the proximity of their homes, in all likelihood the boys were childhood friends. In 1882, Dubois used this long-term friendship to obtain the position of U.S. Marshall of the Idaho Territory from Secretary of War, Robert T. Lincoln.

Dubois attended Springfield public schools, went on to Yale and followed his father in public service by becoming the secretary of the Illinois Board of Railway and Warehouse Commission, but this only lasted for one year. Like many young men of this era, the West was seen as an exciting land of new opportunities so he followed his brother to Idaho. After spending time as a cowboy on cattle drive to Casper, Wyoming, he found work in Fort Hall, Idaho.

In 1882 he was officially appointed the U.S. Marshall of the Idaho Territory and became alarmed by the Mormons’ practice of polygamy. In an article titled “Idaho Senator Fred Dubois, the Mormons, Indians, Chinese, gold and silver,” written by Coeur d’Alen found in the Post Falls Press, Fred is quoted as stating “I became absolutely obsessed with the Mormon problem. The government was determined to stamp out polygamy and I felt I was the agent of the government and the people of the United States, and that the duty devolved upon me to see that the laws of the land were obeyed by the Mormon people in respect to their practices.”

In the following eight years before Idaho became a state, he revived the Anti-Mormon Party of Oneida County and organized raids in primarily Mormon towns to try and jail polygamist men. Although I have found no clear evidence that confirms he spent time in Eagle Rock, in the early 1880s, it was one of the faster growing communities in Idaho and the surrounding area had been settled primarily by Mormon families. It stands to reason that he probably visited this community frequently. Much
more of his life will be forthcoming in Books Two and Three of the trilogy.

Next in Who’s Who: Bob Anderson, Dick Chamberlain & Beaver Dick

2 thoughts on “Cat’s Cafe Who’s Who ~ Fred Thomas Dubois”

  1. Looking forward to reading this. I’m going to see if my local public library will purchase, as that may increase exposure.

    1. Thank you for your interest. I presently have copies for sale and just received a positive review from Kirkus. I have held off going into full publishing until I got this review. I am adding it to the cover so It will be another month before it is available in bookstores, but is available from me right now. There is considerably more information about the book on my website…

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