|Born||Sep 22, 1764|
Hartford, New Netherland
|Died||Oct 31, 1818|
New Amsterdam, New Netherland
|Occupation||Explorer, Christian missionary|
|Years active||1784 - 1803|
|Known for||Leading an early scouting expedition of the Westerzee Plateau for the Dutch|
Jacobus Corneliszoon (1764-1818) was a Dutch explorer and missionary who lead an expedition from modern day Tussenland to the Pacific Ocean. His discoveries would lead to an influx of Amerikaaner immigration to the region and the eventual creation of the Amerikaanse Free State. The missionary efforts of his team would convert an estimated 25,000 Native Americans to Christianity.
Jacobus was born on September 22nd, 1764 to parents Cornelis and Sofie in Hartford, New Netherland. His parents migrated to the colony from the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1760 in search of new economic opportunities. Jacobus spent much of his early life being cared for by his mother because his father spent most of his time away from home, providing for the family.
Moving upstate and education
In the year 1772, when Jacobus was five years old, his father died after contracting smallpox. Shortly after, Jacobus and his mother moved in with a few relatives who had been granted the patroonship upstate. It is likely that Jacobus spent most of his childhood just outside the town of Beylen, on his relatives' property. Jacobus was privately tutored from home until the age of fourteen, when he began to attend a private high school. Over the next four years, Jacobus became interested in theology, an interest that would cause him to become a missionary later in life.
Experience in military school
In the winter of 1781, halfway through his last year of secondary school, Jacobus was involved in an altercation with another student at school. Jacobus wrote in his journal that the boy has insulted his late father, but it was widely known in the community that the two teens fought often, typically over a shared love interest. In this particular brawl, Jacobus broke the jaw of his opponent, likely leaving him permanently disfigured. In an attempt to correct his behaviour, Jacobus' mother had him sent to a military boarding school in the Meerenland. Jacobus would spend the next five years receiving a higher education as well as showing extreme competence during his early military training. Due to his excellence in boarding school, Jacobus entered official military training as an officer cadet and would spend the next two years training with the military.