He's the author of the book A Pirate’s Life in the Golden Age of Piracy. He's a living historian. And 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 15, Robert Jacob will be the lead speaker at Academia Hernando, a not-for-profit lifelong learning organization that seeks to inform, educate and inspire adult learners in this area through a series of weekly lectures, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 2301 Deltona Blvd. in Spring Hill.
Jacob will present The Lost Colony of Roanoke, a chronicle of a pivotal time in United States history that he will perform in authentic Renaissance costume.
"Four hundred and thirty-three years ago, 117 men, women, and children attempted to settle the first permanent English colony in the New World. Faced with many hardships such as hostile natives and lack of food, their leader returned to England in their only vessel to get help," Jacob explained. "Among the colonists, he left behind were his daughter, her husband, and his granddaughter, the first English child born in North America."
"It took him four years to finally return to the colony," he continued. "When he did, he found that the colony had completely vanished without a trace."
In his Academia Hernando Presentation, Jacob will provide valuable new developments in the story of The Lost Colony.
"To this day, the fate of the “Lost Colony” has remained one of the most intriguing mysteries in the history of the settlement of North America. But new clues have recently emerged that shed light on the fate of the colony," he said. "Those who attend my presentation may learn the truth about the Lost Colony of Roanoke."
Jacob encourages guests to get in on the act at Academia Hernando.
"Additionally, as I will be appearing in authentic 16th-century clothing," he said, "All attendees are encouraged to dress in either Renaissance attire or as Native Americans in honor of the colonists who attempted the settlement and Native Americans who greeted them."
Expounding on a lifelong passion for history, Jacob has been heavily involved in living history interpretation and reenacting for more than 40 years. He has participated in activities covering a wide range of time periods including numerous French and Indian War and Revolutionary War reenactment groups, Western Gun Fighter groups, regularly attending Mountain Man Rendezvous and Renaissance Fairs. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Jacob graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor's Degree in education in 1978. He taught in the West Point public school district, West Point, VA, for five years while completing his Master's Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1983.
He served in the United States Marine Corps for 31 years. Upon retirement in 2013, he relocated to Palm Harbor. In 2018, his first book was published. Titled, A Pirate’s Life in the Golden Age of Piracy, he describes the tome as "a true and accurate account of the most famous pirates of that era."
Jacob is pleased to be the lead speaker in this year's Academia Hernando adult education program, which claims its origins as a division of the learning in retirement unit of the University of South Florida and originally was called "Mondays in Brooksville." Incorporated as a 501(c) 3 domestic non-profit business Nov. 18, 2010, Academia Hernando this year features an itinerary of nine guest speakers/educators. The program is overseen by board President Marge Griffin; booking is conducted by Printz and Mickey Mandel, backed by a board that provides speaking leads and other valuable support.
"Academia Hernando is a fantastic organization, bringing information and culture to the community through a series of diverse and interesting presentations," he said. "I was the lead speaker last year and I am honored to be presenting once again."
And the Academia Hernando program is pleased to welcome Robert Jacob to its auspicious ranks of educational and entertaining speakers.
"He is a wonderful presenter," said Sharon Printz, board member of Academia Hernando. "He starts off with an exciting topic and makes it dramatic."
Jacob's presentation, said Printz, is very much in line with featured presentations at Academia Hernando, a continuing learning program.
"These presentations stir the imagination," she said. "We love to explore these stories."
Other Academia Hernando presentations will include The Exotic Locations of South America, presented Friday, Jan. 22 at 10 am, by Bruce Gobioff; She Went Where? Women Adventurers and Explorers Who Didn't Make the History Books presented Friday, 10 a.m. Jan. 29, by Sheryl Long; FBI Presentation, presented Friday, Feb. 5 at 10 a.m., by a retired FBI Agent; Romance On The Silver Screen, presented Friday, Feb. 12, 10 a.m, by Jason Fortner; Catch Me If You Can: Inside The Mind of the Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy, presented Friday, Feb. 19, 10 a.m., by David Hachmeister; Key West-Pirates, Patriots, and Painters, presented Friday, Feb. 26, 10 a.m.,
All presentations will be conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines in a theater booked to half capacity. Masks will be worn by all audience members, who will be socially distanced from one another and the stage. Hand sanitizer will be available.
"People still need interaction," said Printz. "And what we offer here are question and answer sessions, laughter and ideas, thoughts, and social interaction."
"And it's right here in Spring Hill," she said.
An Academia Hernando series subscription is $70 per person and includes all lectures and a Mystery Excursion for subscribers only. For more information, visit www.academiahernando.org or call 352-515-0300 or 352-686-4035. Advance registration is strongly recommended.