Jacobus Corneliszoon

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Jacobus Corneliszoon
Portion of a damaged painting purported to be of Jacobus Corneliszoon discovered in Corneliszstadt in 1857.
Bornc. 1764
Hartford, New Netherland
Died31 October 1818
Fort Maurice, South Misurie, Tussenland
  • Cornelis Pieterszon Fens (father)
  • Sofie Fens (mother)

Jacobus Corneliszoon ( Fens; 1764 – 31 October 1818) was a DutchNew Netherlander missionary, settler, and former Kommando who famously led the 1799 Voortrekker expedition into what is now the modern Mexican province of Boerlandia. His political and religious leadership among the Dutch-speaking settlers of the American West earned him the appellation Tochtvader ('Patriarch [of the Voortrekkers]').

Childhood and adolescence

Corneliszoon was born sometime in the year 1764 in Hartford, New Netherland, to parents Cornelis Pieterszon Fens (1734–1772) and Sofie Fens (1741–1796). In 1760, his parents migrated to New Anglia from the County of Drenthe in the Netherlands in search of economic opportunities. He was born four years later, the only child of the couple.

In 1772, at the age of eight, his father Cornelis Pieterszon contracted smallpox and died shortly after. The same year, he and his mother moved to Beylen, the patroonship of his maternal relatives, the van Brugges. While his mother took up domestic labor, he was privately tutored by a French governess until 1777, when he was sent to a private gymnasium in New Amsterdam. While in the capital, he came into contact with members of the Riqueronon Missionary Society, a Huguenot-founded colonial organization. Clement Droz, a Huguenot pastor and shopkeeper, sparked young Corneliszoon's interest in Reformed theology and the importance of Christian missionary work.

At seventeeen, Jacobus Corneliszoon entered into a feud with an unnamed classmate of his. This would culminate in a physical brawl, ending in the latter's permanent disfigurement. In an attempt to correct his behavior, his mother sent him to a correctional military-run residential school in Saint-Germain, Meerenland. Here, he would greatly excel, successfully becoming a member of the New Netherland Kommando Corps in 1786. His time in Meerenland would also expose him to the thriving missionary industry of the region. Under the auspices of the Riqueronon Missionary Society, he would learn the Illinieuweck language and occasionally attend religious and political seminars.

Military career

Retirement and religious devotion

1799 Voortrekker expedition

Final years and legacy

See also