When the roll of heroes, legends, creators and change makers, is called, Leon Edward Hartman Dupuch, Founder and Editor of the THE TRIBUNE, must be among them.
Leon Edward Hartman Dupuch was the eldest son of Elias Gilbert Dupuch.
Elias Gilbert Dupuch was the second son of Elias Dupuch, a French iron worker who came to Nassau from Martinique some time, shortly before the year 1844.
Leon Dupuch’s father, died at an early age, at just 31. This sudden, early death, of the patriarch, left the young Leon and his family destitute.
Leon Dupuch’s life would take a fateful turn, when he became a bound apprentice to E. C Moseley, the Founder and Editor of The Guardian newspaper. The Guardian began publication in 1844 around the same time the grandfather Elias first came to The Bahamas.
Becoming an apprentice or learning a trade, as it was once called, was the only way for many young boys to gain enough experience to start work. This led on to having a respectable profession which was very important for a young man.
There have been a number of apocryphal and legendary stories about Dupuch. Some contend he came to Nassau as a slave or was apprenticed as a slave. These are not true. By the time young Leon was apprenticed at the Guardian, he was a second generation Bahamian. His grandfather was originally from Martinique.
This apprenticeship offered young Leon invaluable inside knowledge about the newspaper business. From this, he would eventually go on to create a lasting legacy, all his own. He started a Bahamian institution.
The obituary does make mention of a ‘bound apprenticeship’ which Dupuch did not like at first. Being bound may have been in some association with family debt or extended credit, which the wages from the apprenticeship, underwrote.
The rest, as they, is history.
Leon Dupuch and family lived at #38 Market Street. The Tribune newspaper’s offices and print shop, was next door, at #44 Market Street.
Struck with a sudden illness, Leon Dupuch
Leon Dupuch suffered some type of cardiac event in late June 1914. The first hint of him being unwell was printed in the Tuesday 22 June 1914 paper. Well wishers were being thanked for their kind enquiries.
When he died on July 1st 1914, it must have been an incredible shock to everyone. Dupuch’s father Elias Gilbert died suddenly at just 31 years old. Leon Dupuch died at just 45 years old. Disappointingly, the obituary is frayed at one side, but there is mention of a fatal disease. It may be possible that some sort of heart disease, which may have been a family trait, took both Leon and his father Elias Gilbert, resulting in such tragic premature deaths.
On the Monday, it was reported that Dupuch’s health was rallying and he was feeling better. The Tribune, Monday 29 JUNE 1914
By Tuesday afternoon, a sudden turn for the worse left Leon Dupuch in a coma. The Tribune, Tuesday 30 JUNE 1914
As was the custom in 1914, funerals were held quite quickly after death. Leon Dupuch died in hospital just one half hour into July 1, 1914. He was buried later that same day. The funeral was held at his home. Wakes were traditionally held at home. The beloved dearly departed would be laid out in their coffin in the sitting room or living room. ——- The Tribune, Wednesday 1st JULY 1914