Jacobus Elmendorf was the first Elmendorf ancestor in this country and an early settler at Kingston, Ulster County, NY. He was born about 1647 near Leiden in the Netherlands. The Elmendorfs were one of the old Dutch "border" families who lived on the border of Gelderland and Westphalia. The population of this area was of pure Saxon blood. It was here that Charlemagne, before the year 800, met with the greatest resistance when he attempted to force imperial institutions upon a free Germanic people.
Leiden flourished in the 16th and 17th century. Weaving, mainly of broadcloth, was a very important industry in Leiden. At the same time, Leiden developed an important printing and publishing industry.
In 1572, the city sided with the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule and played an important role in the Eight Years' War (1568 - 1648) when the eastern boundaries of the Netherlands had not been firmly established. Many from these families were in the Army of the Dutch Republic during the war that was mainly fought in the eastern borderlands against Romanism and Imperialism.
Leiden was besieged by the Spanish from May until October 1574. It was relieved by the cutting of the dikes, thus enabling ships to carry provisions to the inhabitants of the flooded town. The siege was notable also for being the first instance in Europe of the issuance of paper money, with paper taken from prayer books being stamped using coin dies when silver ran out.
After the war numerous families of ex-soldiers emigrated to New Netherlands and elsewhere. Jacobus immigrated to New Netherland between 1664 and 1667 and settled at Wiltwyck (Kingston). They lived amongst other well known families in Ulster County: the Crispell, Delameter, DeWitt, DuBois, Kiersted, Nieuwkirk, Roosa, Van Buren and other families. There are original Elmendorf houses, to this day, in Kingston, New York. One of them is a museum and in another lives an Elmendorf descendant and her family.
When Cornelius Slecht was imprisoned during the "Esopus Mutiny", Jacobus, a member of the Burgher Guard, marched with them on the British garrison, demanding Cornelius' release (to read about him, click here).
Jacobus married Grietje Aertse Van Wagenen on 28 January 1668. They had about six children. After his death in 1686, his wife was given a grand of land by the corporation of Kingston.