One: "I Was Born in the City of Amsterdam"

David Kokernot was born in 1805 and spent the first twelve years of his life in Amsterdam, a child of devout Ashkenazi Jews living in the old Jewish Quarter on the east side of the city. His father was a kruijer, or porter, who carried loads for hire using either his back or a wheelbarrow. His mother, a Cohen, descended from a family of Jewish traders who arrived in Holland in 1710 from Hamburg.The family was poor—both David’s grandparents received public assistance.

Holland's prosperity had fallen steadily for over a hundred years and by the time of David's birth all of Europe, battered by the Napoleonic Wars and the coldest winters in a century, was suffering from the same poverty. Massive numbers were escaping to North America. In 1818, when David's aged Kokernoot grandmother, who was living with them, died, David and his father wasted no time leaving for New Orleans. A year later his mother and brother followed.

Read "The Van Osterns," an outtake from David Kokernot.

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