Alan Barber

My great-grandfather, George Levi "Lee" Barber, was a Texas sheriff who, after he retired, took an interest in his family history and quickly learned that one of his ancestors was a "horse thief." Many of us take pleasure in finding the rogues among our ancestors, but this particular crime shamed Lee as a Texan, and as a sheriff. He researched no further and never named the thieving ancestor.

The thief was doubtless David Levi Kokernot, Lee's great-grandfather. His neighbors accused him of many misdeeds, but the only one he went to court on was cattle rustling, and his lawyer, Sam Houston, gained his acquittal on that charge.

I was drawn to David Kokernot from the moment I met him. His reputation was not a barrier for me, a Yankee, but was, instead, part of his attraction. Another was his Reminiscences, published in his local newspaper in 1878. Its boastful errors created an appealing puzzle, yet he left behind clues to solve it, including records in the courthouse of every county he lived in. The fact that my genes are 1/128 his helped, too.

I've spent eight years unravelling the puzzle of David Kokernot and I expect to publish in 2012.

Follow my progress on Alan Barber's blog, too.

David Reminisces
War Again!
To the Waters of Peach Creek
Tories Strike Back
Tory Chase
David and Caroline Kokernot's Children
Finest Looking Man I Ever Saw
Well Nigh Dead
Barbarous Strife and Drunken Debauch
"I Came to the United States with My Father"
"I Was Born in the City of Amsterdam"
Who Was David Kokernot and Why Should You Know Him?
The Author