Based on his obituary, Jacobus Wynkoop was born about 1720. He was the first child born to the marriage of New York residents Cornelis and Elizabeth Van der Spiegel Wynkoop. He was known mostly as "Jacobus" which we employ in an effort to not confuse him with other same-named contemporaries and with his son, namesake (James), and later Albany resident.
Jacobus Wynkoop was said to have been a skipper who commanded the family-owned brig Esopus trading between Kingston and the West Indies. In 1765, he witnessed a will and was identified as a goldsmith. In 1775, he joined other Ulster County residents in signing the non importation Association.
His wife was Alida. (or Alida Catharina) Koens (later referred to as "Myers") - a native of Curacao. By 1772, their marriage had produced six children who do not seem to have been christened in Albany churches.
In 1775, he stated that he was fifty-one years old, had served in the last two wars "by land and sea" and that he had been offered a commmission by the British. In June, he had been commissioned captain in the Fourth New York Regiment of the Continental line. He held that commission until January 1776. After that, he served commanding vessels on the "inland lakes." In April 1776, he agreed to enlist the number of mariners desired by General Schuyler for service on the lakes. That summer, Wynkoop built and commanded "armed vessels on Lake Champlain."
However, Benedict Arnold had received a similar charge from the Continental Congress. When Wynkoop refused to yield to Arnold's authority, Arnold had him arrested and sent to Schuyler for confinement.
After the fall of Ticonderoga, he was re-assigned to duty in Kingston - where he participated in the raising of a sunken ship.
In 1783, the State legislature passed legislation empowering it to liquidate the debts due to Jacobus Wynkoop for wartime service.
Just prior to the burning of Kingston in the fall of 1777, he is said to have moved his family to Albany. However, his name seems to be absent from the community record until 1788 when his house and lot were valued on the Albany assessment roll.
In 1790, his third ward household counted five family members and two slaves.
After the war, he was able to obtain a number of parcels of land.
Jacobus Wynkoop died in May 1795 at the age of seventy-five. His obituary noted that he was active in the Revolution and that he was a "brave and worthy officer." He was buried in the Dutch church cemetery plot.
Sources: The life of Jacobus Wynkoop is CAP biography number 6954. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. The Wynkoop Chronicles online also includes transcriptions of relevant documents.
This excerpt appears in a letter he wrote to the New York Provincial Congress in August 1775: "I have served in the two last wars both by sea and by land, and have been in many engagements. I have a commission from General Shirley as Captain of a company of batteaumen; and in consequence of an action under Col. Broadstreet, in which we lost forty-nine men the first fire, I was honoured, with the command of His Excellency General Gage, to be called by the name of his company, to whom his baggage was always entrusted; and had likewise the offer of a commission in the "Royal Americans." I have a good deal of experience of cannon as well as small arms. To these circumstances let me add, I am now fifty-one years old."
first posted: 2/15/09