Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Dwight" Kokernot?

It is a pleasure to see David Kokernot receive acknowledgement as the rogue he often was. Wanda Orton has a piece in the Baytown Sun describing the "tory chase" and likening Kokernot to "Dwight," of The Office. I don't know that show, but the comparison seems right on.

A short piece must by necessity leave many details out. The livestock Kokernot seized from citizens during the revolution were only part of it. Both armies "impressed" livestock, shoes, corn, you-name-it, as they swept across Texas. They lived off the land. Cattle was especially needed, because Houston's army had come to a stop and they were holding some 900 Mexican prisoners. All had to be fed, but the livestock owners were more inclined to drive their herds immediately to Louisiana to prevent that. Kokernot was ordered to stop them.

Horses were another matter. Many, maybe most, were simply seized for personal gain "under color of authority." Kokernot was hardly alone in this. A week after Kokernot was safely confined aboard the Terrible, Burnet issued another order:

"WHEREAS, it has been reported to me that many abuses have been practiced by persons having or pretending to have authority to impress into public service horses and other property belonging to private individuals..." He ordered that thenceforth only the Commander-in-Chief and the cabinet had that authority.

Not every horse and mule was returned to its rightful owner. One citizen pursued Kokernot, the republic, and the state for ten years seeking compensation for his lost horse, which Kokernot admitted taking. But that's another story...