Part of an old map of the San Jacinto area from the Texas Revolution

Veteran Bio

Texian Location:  Harrisburg

The Kemp Sketch

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KOKERNOT, DANIEL L. - Born in the city of Amsterdam, Holland, December 12, 1805 and came to the United States with his parents in 1817, when they settled at New Orleans. At the age of twelve years he was apprenticed to Captain John Summers, a seaman, and was stationed at the mouth of the Mississippi River. At the age of seventeen years he entered school at New Orleans, but left after a year of study to become a sailor. In September, 1824, while at New York he purchased flour, lard and bacon to the amount of $3000.00 for a venture to the island of Port au Prince, San Domingo. On September 24th his ship, the “George Washington”, was wrecked in a storm off the coast of Hayti and all on board except Mr. Kokernot and two others were drowned. They were picked up on a reef of rocks the following day by a revenue cutter belonging to the island. The captain and crew were black but they did all in their power to make comfortable the white men whom they had rescued. After two days they landed them at Port au Prince. There Mr. Kokernot and his companies, penniless and without friends, were given employment at fifty cents per day loading and unloading merchandise from French vessels. Mr. Kokernot continued at this work for a month when a wealthy Negro plantation owner became attached to him and offered to let him gather coffee from his fields free of cost. The offer was accepted and Mr. Kokernot was thus engaged on the island for a period of eleven months, selling his coffee at the port.

Captain James H. Spillman, an old friend of Mr. Kokernot, arrived in port from New Orleans, and on June 21, 1825, when his boat set sail for the return voyage to New Orleans, Mr. Kokernot was aboard it. Captain Spillman later settled in Texas, and died in 1864 on Spillman Island, named in his honor, at the mouth of San Jacinto Bay.

On October 1, 1830, Mr. Kokernot was appointed to a position in the revenue service for the district of New Orleans. He was stationed on board the Ingram. On March 12, 1831, he received orders from his superior at New Orleans to obtain a vessel for use in trying to discover the rendevous of certain smugglers. The Julius Caesar was chartered for a three months cruise down the coast as far as Galveston Bay. The cruise began March 18, with a crew of ten men aboard and twenty passengers, bound for Galveston Bay. The vessel was completely wrecked off Sabine Pass in a hurricane, but fortunately all on board were saved. On the day following the wreck, Mr. Kokernot and another man started up Sabine Bay in search of water and assistance. Water was obtained from the Sabine River but not an inhabitant of the land could be found. After ten days of rest the survivors started down the beach toward where Galveston now stands. Two days later they came to a deserted hut, once the property of one of Lafitte’s pirates. There they killed a wild sow and cooked it in an old broken salt kettle found nearby. The party, became lost for days, the supply of water was exhausted, and one of party, a Mr. Gill, died from the effects of drinking salt water. Finally Mr. Kokernot, walking alone, continued down the coast until he discovered a house at Bolivar Point occupied by Burrel Franks, a great hunter, and his family. Mr. Kokernot, himself near dead, told them of the plight of his starving companions. Elijah Franks, a son of Burrel Franks, mounted his horse and hastened to their rescue with provisions and water. The party remained at the home of the Franks for several days, finally being transported by Captain Lovejoy on the Providence to Anahuac, arriving there April 23, 1831. Mr. Kokernot left on board Captain Spillman’s boat for New Orleans on July 20.

In Headright Certificate No. 182 for one labor of land issued to Mr. Kokernot February 16, 1838 by the Board of Land Commissioners for Liberty county it is stated that he arrived in Texas in 1832. On July 21, 1835 he was issued title to one league in Vehlein’s Colony, situated in the present countys of Harris and Liberty.

In an autobiographical sketch from which much material used in this sketch was taken Mr. Kokernot says he arrived at Anahuac April 6, 1832 with his wife and one child, accompanied by Mrs. Julia Ann Maley, the mother of Mrs. Kokernot, and her two sons, George and William Maley. The trip was made on board the “Flash”, Captain Luke Fal vel. Mr. Kokernot had purchased a stock of merchandise in New Orleans and promptly opened a store at Anahuac. The first open break between the colonists and the Mexican Government occurred at Anahuac in June, 1832. It was caused by the arrest and confinement in the fort at Anahuac of William B. Travis, Patrick Jack, Samuel T. Allen and fourteen others, by John Davis Bradburn, commander of the fort. Mr. Kokernot was one of a number of volunteers who forced their release.

On November 29, 1835, the General Council of the Provisional Government of Texas, on motion of Mr. William P. Harris, elected George F. Richardson a captain, Robert Wilson first lieutenant, and Daniel L. Kokernot second lieutenant in the Regiment of Infantry of the army of Texas (Gammel’s Laws of Texas, Vol. 1, page 600.) Mr. Kokernot participated in the “Grass Fight” near San Antonio November 28, 1835.

From an affidavit made by Mr. Kokernot and preserved in the Pension Papers in the Texas State Library it appears that Mr. Kokernot was at Harrisburg on April 20 and 21, 1836. Following is a copy of the affidavit:

State of Texas )


Gonzales County)

Personally appeared before me the undersigned authority David L. Kokernot, the above applicant for pension, to me well known who on oath says that he volunteered in the Service of the Republic of Texas on the 25th day of October A D 1835 and was a member of Capt. Fannin’s Company in the army attacking San Antonio and remained in said service until the 15th day of November 1837 and affiant says further that on the 25th day of November 1835 he was commissioned a Lieutenant in the Army of the Republic of Texas, and remained in said service up to and after the battle of San Jacinto but was not in said battle for the reason that the day before said battle he was sent with a Dispatch to Harrisburg by Genl. Houston commanding the army of Texas, & affiant says further that he remained in said service until the 22nd day of October 1837 when he was honorably discharged from said service & affiant refers to the orders hereto attached in confirmation of his statements.

D. L. Kokernot

John Henry Brown in 1892 in his History of Texas (Vol. II, p. 47) in writing about a company of volunteers from New York who had reached the battlefield April 22nd, said: “Some of them, including the twin brothers, Charles A. and John J. Ogsbury, marched the next day under Captain Daniel L. Kokernot (acting under special orders from General Houston) to expel from the east side of the San Jacinto and the Trinity, a next of Tories, a list of whose names were found among the papers taken from the Mexicans, proving that they had been in treasonable communication with the enemy, against their own countrymen.”

On June 11, 1838 Mr. Kokernot was issued Bounty Certificate No. 3815 for 960 acres of land for serving in the army from June 28, 1836, to April 28, 1837. The certificate, previous to its issuance, had been assigned to William Fairfax Gray of Houston. He received Veteran’s Donation Certificate No. 360 on July 20, 1881, for 1280 acres of land. This was surveyed in Webb County. This was the amount of land due all living veterans who had served in the army in 1836.

Mr. Kokernot was married to Caroline Maley, daughter of Mrs. Julia Ann Maley. He died in 1892 and is buried in the cemetery at Gonzales.

Children of Mr. and Mrs. Kokernot were Elizabeth, who married a Mr. Barber; Julia, who married a Mr. Lang; Lee M., who married Sarah Littlefield; Amanda, who married a Mr. St. John; Augusta, who married H. B. Littlefield and John WilliamKokernot.

Lee M. Kokernot, son of Daniel L. Kokernot was born in New Orleans, June 6, 1836, where the family had fled for safety. He was married in 1866 to Sarah Littlefield, who died August 22, 1874, leaving six children, one of whom was Herbert L. Kokernot, Sr. He was married in 1876 to Hulda Karnes. Of this union there were three children.

Herbert L. Kokernot, Sr. was married to Elizabeth Vanham, October 28, 1891. Their children were (a) Margaret, (b) Elizabeth and (3) Herbert L. Kokernot, Jr.

(a) Margaret Kokernot was born August 25, 1892 and died February 12, 1926. Her husband Ira C. Ogden was killed in the World War.

(b) Elizabeth Kokernot was married to J. G. Hardie.

Descendants of Mr. Daniel L. Kokernot living in Gonzales County in 1936 were: R. H. Littlefield, R. H. Littlefield, Jr., Dr. C. W. Littlefield, Mrs. B. N. Peck, Sr., Mrs. O. B. Black, Mrs. Collis Bouldin, Collis Bouldin, Jr., Billy Bouldin, Mrs. Kent E. Gardien, Kent Gardien, Jr., J. C. Dilworth, Jr., J. C. Dilworth III, Francis Dilworth, F. D. Kokernot, Sr., F. D. Kokernot, Jr., Mary Hulda Kokernot, Ruth Kokernot, Mrs. Frank Robinson, David Kokernot, Mrs. C. E. Dilworth, Mrs. Elmer Hinkle, Martha Jane Hinkle, Robert Lee Brothers, Al Brothers, C. E. Dilworth, Jr., Alma Dilworth Lawley, Everett Lawley, Jr.

Written by Louis W. Kemp, between 1930 and 1952. Please note that typographical and factual errors have not been corrected from the original sketches. The biographies have been scanned from the original typescripts, a process that sometimes allows for mistakes in the new text. Researchers should verify the accuracy of the texts' contents through other sources before quoting in publications. Additional information on the veteran may be available in the Herzstein Library.

Battle Statistics

  • Died in Battle: No
  • Company: [Capt. William W. Hill] sent with dispatch to Harrisburg April 20

Personal Statistics

  • Alternate Names: David Levi; Cokenot; Daniel
  • Date of Birth: 1805 Dec 28
  • Birthplace: Holland, Amsterdam
  • Origin: Louisiana
  • Came to Texas: 1832 Apr 6
  • Date of Death: 1892 Dec 10
  • Burial Place: Kokernot family cemetery, Gonzales County, Texas
  • Other Battles: Bexar, Concepcion, Grass Fight
  • Comments: Civil War, Confederate Army
  • Donation Certificate: 360
  • Profession: Sailor, merchant, farmer
  • Wife: Caroline Wilhelmina Josephine Dittmar
  • Children: Elizabeth Kokernot Barber; Amanda Kokernot St. John; Levi Moses Kokernot; Julia Ann Kokernot Lang; Rebecca Kokernot Kendall; Caroline Augusta Kokernot Fitzgerald; John William Kokernot; Mollie Kokernot Littlefield