Cattle brands almost always tell a story, and the Kokernots’ brands are no exception. Within a couple of weeks of the family’s 1853 arrival in Gonzales County, David Kokernot registered his cattle brands at the courthouse. For his own brand, he chose his wife’s initials, “CK.” She, in turn, chose his initials, “LK.” Why?
All the cattle they brought from Colorado County carried the “CK” brand. Caroline claimed them as her separate property—an inheritance from her mother—and thus beyond the reach of David’s creditors. Perhaps because he had no creditors yet in Gonzales County, David registered them in his own name. The “LK” brand was newly available because P. L. Kessler had claimed it in 1848 and failed to renew the registration. At that time, one person could only register a single brand, so Caroline Kokernot grabbed the “LK” brand.
Their seventeen-year-old son L. M. had registered his brand in Colorado County at age fifteen and doubtless brought a few head to Gonzales. “LK” would be a natural choice for him, so he registered it, but with the “L” reversed, as shown above. Over the decades, that brand would appear on the rumps of hundreds of thousands of cattle all over Texas, Indian Territory, Kansas, and Wyoming.