William Weinrich column head

I have written about a horse trader, but tonight, I am going to try to write a story about a famous horse trader from Ross County. His name was Dave DuBois.

Dave DuBois worked construction in the early days of his life, but a few of the old timers who knew him said he was a horse trader most of his life.

Dave DuBois lived on a farm between Richmond Dale and Londonderry on Vigo Road. My dad was from Richmond Dale and knew Dave DuBois just about all his life. Way back when farmers who farmed with horses and mules traded with this legendary fellow, he would buy, sell and trade for just about anything he could make a dollar on.

When the riding horse craze hit the country, everybody had saddle horses; 4-H horse clubs sprung up like mushrooms. Horse sales were started. There was a horse sale at Circleville and one on this side of Columbus, Ohio. Bill Edwards was the owner. Almost every other Saturday nigh, Edwards had a horse sale. Tack was sold first and then horses, ponies, donkeys, mules, and whatever.

Dave DuBois and his son, Jerry, always attended these horse sales to buy or sell horses. Those were the good old days, and I remember them well. Rushville, Indiana was a big place to buy horses. Some people said buyers from Rushville would go to the ranches out west or to horse sales and ship horses back to Rushville, Indiana. Buyers from this neck of the woods would go to Rushville, Indiana, and buy horses to sell to people for riding horses.

Dave DuBuois would buy a bunch of colts old enough to break to ride, and he would buy them in the fall of the year when horses got cheaper. He had a young fellow who lived nearby who broke these young colts for Dave DuBois. I never knew his right name. All I can remember is calling him Buckskin. He sure could ride these young colts, and when he got done with one it was dead broke. You could ride these colts in car traffic, around motorcycles, shoot guns around them and whatever. Nothing bothered these young horses when Buckskin got them broken. In the spring, there was always someone looking for a gentle riding horse for 4-H or trail ride, and Dave DuBois had them to sell. I had a few of these horses Buckskin broke to ride.

In later years, Dave DuBois and his son Jerry and Buckskin started breaking young steers to make yokes of oxen. Dave had a yoke of Milking Shorthorns that weighed over a ton each. Later on down the road, Dave DuBois would break several yokes of oxen, mostly Jersey steers.

These Jersey steers were broke to calf yokes when they were small, and as the calves grew the yokes had to be bigger. The DuBoises broke these steers to pull covered wagons in parades, celebrations, and in 1965, the big doings in Pike County, Ohio. Dave DuBois brought his ox teams, wagons, a stagecoach, mules, you name it, and he had it in Pike County.

There was a parade from Piketon in 1965, and Dave DuBois had his wagon and oxen in the parade, plus there were mule teams pulling wagons, carriages, and the mules were driven by good drivers — men who could drive teams of mules. Art Harness, Delbert Dunn, and Junior Stevens were the mule skinners. Lindley Parks drove the stagecoach pulled by six white ponies.

I do remember when the parade had started to Waverly, Dave DuBois had his yoke of oxen hitched to a covered wagon, and he was in front of the parade. I was riding behind his wagon on a good saddle mule called Old Kate. Things were going along well until the oxen got tired about halfway to Waverly. Dave DuBois was walking beside his oxen, and I do remember he had on a brand new pair of shoes that he was trying to break in. I do know he went back to Piketon and got his big truck after the parade.

I rode that mule from Piketon to Waverly and back to Piketon. Man, was I sore in the seat of my pants!

When some of us got back to Piketon to put our horses up and, of course, the mule, we happened to look over by a big tree on the fairgrounds and there was Dave DuBois sitting in a chair with his feet in a five-gallon bucket of water. His feet were blistered really badly.

That night and every night for a week we put on a show called “Out Of These Hills.” We really put on a show. We had the oxen and covered wagon led by Dave DuBois, mule teams and wagons and a big fellow by the name of Jerry Knight.

Jerry Knight played the part of Hewitt the Hermit. Here he came in front of the grandstand doing his part in the show. In his act, a donkey was used by Hewitt the Hermit. Unknown to Jerry Knight, someone traded donkeys with him.

The donkey was used in the parade, and it was a Jenny owned by Dave DuBois’ son, Jerry. She was a stubborn animal and would stop anywhere, and it took a while to get her started again. After his part in the show, Jerry Knight was supposed to leave the front of the grandstand, but the donkey wouldn’t go. The more Jerry tugged on the rope, the more the donkey balked. I forgot to mention that Jerry Knight was a wrestler and was as strong as a bull. Finally, he just picked up the Jenny and was gone.

As a fellow Ross Countian, Dave DuBois will be remembered as a friend to all. I have many fond memories of the DuBois family.

Dave DuBois was very good friends with the late Roy Rogers. Rumor has it when Roy Rogers started his restaurants, he contacted Dave DuBois looking for old saddles and such. Dave DuBois had a house full of old saddles, and from what I heard, supplied Roy Rogers with saddles for his chain of restaurants.

Dave DuBois was well known by the late Bob Evans. Dave DuBois broke a pair of steers for Bob Evans. Doc Allen, our local veterinarian, dehorned these steers, and also made them steer calves. I don’t know how Dave DuBois kept these steers, but I would guarantee this yoke of young steers was dead broke when Bob Evans got them back.

When these steers were good and broke, Dave DuBois and his wife, Irene, hooked these steers to a covered wagon and set off to Rio Grande. I don’t know how long it took for them to get to Rio Grande, but they camped out along the way just like the pioneers did. They cooked their meals over an open fire, and Dave DuBois carried a gun for protection and had a German Shepherd along with him and his wife, so I have heard.

I have a picture of Dave DuBois arriving at Rio Grande. Bob Evans and his wife are standing on the porch of a log cabin. I have several pictures that Dave DuBois’ son, Dave Jr., gave me. I treasure them very much. I hope you readers have enjoyed this story about the legendary Dave DuBois. I will always have fond memories of this Ross Countian.

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