Jacob Wolphertsen van Couwenhoven, son of Wolphert Garretson Van Couwenhoven, was born 1612 in Amersfoort, Utrecht, Holland. In 1625, he arrived in New Netherland with his parents and siblings, and the family farmed the Company's Bouwerie No. 3 until they returned to Holland four years later.
In 1633, Jacob van Couwenhoven again sailed to New Netherland on board the Company's ship, De Soutberg (the Salt Mountain), which was bringing the new Director, Wouter van Twiller, and his retinue to New Netherland. Initially, Van Couwenhoven held the position of Assistant Commissary, but he subsequently went into business on his own behalf. Despite his recurring fiscal embarrassments, he became a leading member of the community and in 1657, became one of the twenty Great Burghers in New Amsterdam.
Also in 1657, Jacob Wolphertsen van Couwenhoven finished the construction of a large stone brewery at Stone and Broad streets and became a leading brewer in New Amsterdam. The minutes of the New Netherland Council dated February 16, 1664, indicate that an Indian from Tappan submitted a complaint against Jacob Wolphertsen van Couwenhoven for failing to allow him to redeem his gun which he had pawned for liquor.
Jacob Wolphertsen van Couwenhoven was a member of the assembly of the Nine Men and was a signatory to the Remonstrance dated July 28, 1649. Van Couwenhoven was chosen to be one of the three delegates who traveled to the Hague to present the New Netherland Remonstrance to the Dutch parliament. The others were Jan Evertsen Bout and Adriaen van der Donck. In June 1650, Bout and Van Couwenhoven returned in triumph bearing a copy of the Provisional Order issued by the Dutch Parliament. Knowing that the Company opposed it, Director-General Stuyvesant refused to publish the Order but he did establish a form of municipal government in 1653.
Jacob Wolphertsen Van Couwenhoven died in New Amsterdam around 1670.