Born on 25 April 1844 at Skærsø manor to Lauritz Ulrik la Cour (no. 52) and Ellen Kirstine la Cour, Jacob was named after the childhood friend of his father who helped his father buy Skærsø manor. He attended his uncle Peter’s boarding school at Margrethelund farm from 1852 to 1860, spent the next four years learning farming at home and then studied at Arresødal, the folk high school* his brother Jørgen (no. 69) headed, in 1864-65. Jacob was a farm apprentice in Scotland in
1865 and, in 1867, he leased Skærsø manor together with his brother Niels. Both brothers then bought
Skærsø together in 1871, but in 1873Niels sold his share to another brother, Jørgen, who owned Skærsø together with Jacob until Jørgen died in 1898.
Jacob’s first wife was Johanne Cathrine la Cour (née Faurschou), and they were married on 24 April 1874 in Tilst. Johanne was born on 21 June 1851 at Frederikkesminde farm, a daughter of gentleman farmer Jens Lassen Faurschou of Brændstrup and Ane Johanne Steenild, and she died on 21 June 1880. At her funeral, Johanne was described as follows: “She had a knack for creating happiness, a home for her husband that was much more than he had ever expected. He went his ways in solitude, often in a melancholy mood – she came; she understood him because she loved him; she brought light and warmth into his mind, as in his home; she helped him so faithfully to bear the burdens; and she doubled his joys.” For the short time she was the lady of Skærsø manor, she knew how to win everyone’s love, and it was said about her – and it meant a great deal – that the young lady took after the old one, and those who suffered real distress and need did not in vain seek help and advice on the old farm.
Jacob was a member of Dråby parish council* from 1879 to 1886, the first three years serving as its chair. For a number of years, he was a member of the county health commission, in addition to heading the snow clearing service and serving as an expert witness in boundary fence cases. He was also a member of the local health commission, elected by the parish council.
Jacob’s second marriage was to Thora Vilhelmine la Cour (née Herskind), on 9 August 1883 in Dråby. Born on 6 June 1853 in Aarhus, Thora was a daughter of former timber merchant Søren Herskind and Anna Margrethe Winther. She spent half a year as a servant at the Alling parsonage near Laven and another half-year on the Holmstrupgård farming estate, in the household of gentleman farmer Petersen, and then worked for one and a half years in the household of a manufacturer in Aarhus named Frich. On 1 December 1880 she became housekeeper at Skærsø manor and, less than three years later, she married Jacob.
In 1884, a centrifuge dairy was established at Skærsø, which was subsequently run as a dairy cooperative that was expanded and improved upon notably in 1887 and 1898. Almost all the farm buildings burned down on 28 July 1887, but a years-long rebuilding project began immediately afterwards. From 1874 to 1890, Jacob planted forest on approximately 132 hectares (about 327 acres) of his land and in 1897 registered the entire area of about 165 hectares (almost 409 acres) with the Danish Land Development Service (Hedeselskabet) as a forest reserve. In 1898 he subscribed for shares in the Ebeltoft-Trustrup railway for the value of his expropriated land (somewhere around four hectares, or ten acres) plus a thousand Danish kroner in cash, a total of 11,700 kroner; the Skærsø railway station was built about 250 metres from the farm. In 1903 he bought out his sister-in-law, Agathe la Cour, who had inherited her husband Jørgen’s share of Skærsø manor.
Jacob died on 25 October 1912 at Skærsø manor from a severe pneumonia only a few days after taking to his bed. At his death, the following was reportedly said of him: “Jacob la Cour was a worthy follower in his father’s footsteps: like his father, he was something of a pioneer. He had particularly been enamoured of the reforestation cause. He did not participate much in public life, but lived quietly on his estate, which he ran as a sole proprietor since 1903.” Jacob’s wife Thora died on 25 March 1917, also at Skærsø manor. (Fourteen children: the Skærsø Line.)