Cornelius was in Chile in the fall of 1848 when the news of the discovery of gold in California arrived. Sensing business opportunities, he set sail for San Francisco and arrived on February 18, 1849 after a voyage of about two months. He quickly set up yet another office in San Francisco to act as agents for the family firm and became the Honorary Belgian Consul. By 1850 he had left the local firm to engage in real estate. One of his partners was John Townsend and together they speculated on property at Hunter’s Point and elsewhere. In 1850 Cornelius invited his brother, Peter Romain De Boom, for whom De Boom St. is named, to come to San Francisco.
While Honorary Belgian Consul, Cornelius authored a book titled A political and Social Solution: Confederation, Decentralization, Emmigration, published in France in 1864. See http://www.archive.org/stream/unesolutionpolit00boomuoft/unesolutionpolit00boomuoft_djvu.txt for the text in French. (Thanks to Alain Marsily for this information.)
“In June 1864 Cornelius De Boom left San Francisco for Europe, where his mother could not live any longer without seeing him again. After her death, he made two more Business visits here, but he kept his Country Residence near Paris..” [from 211_RC DeBoom letter 19May1911] Cornelius died of smallpox in Paris on September 21, 1870, two days after the Siege of Paris had begun. The Napa Daily Register of August 27, 1885 published a summary of his life following the decision of the California Supreme Court on the settling of his estate.
Cornelius was born Jean Corneille De Boom on June 13, 1818 in Denderlieu, Belgium. His family owned a fleet of sailing ships based in Antwerp where he graduated from from navigation school. Everett Witzel remembers Emma telling him that Cornelius was instructed by his father to take ships “to go and to trade as best as you can.” Cornelius established branch offices in Santiago and Valparaiso, Chile, at the time very busy trading centers.
Cornelius was the uncle and god-father of Emma’s father, R.C. De Boom. She proudly hung this very large certificate in her home at 576 17th Ave. It passed to her oldest son, Frederick, who eventually gave it to his youngest brother, Everett, and currently (2011) it is in the possession of Ron, Claude’s younger son. For a clearer view, click on Certificate.