Fast Draw Death at Bonito City
New Mexico American History and Genealogy Project
Submitted by C. W. Barnum November 11, 2014

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I ran across a Rudolph Kester who passed away in November, 1908 in Bonito New Mexico due to an accidental gunshot wound from John Franklin Greer.
Any ideas? From Kathe.

Some findings:

Carrizozo Outlook; November 1908
An unfortunate accident, resulting in the death of R J Kester, occurred at Bonito last Monday afternoon. From the information at hand, it appears that John F. Greer had drawn a pistol in Kester's place of business for the purpose of demonstrating some subject under discussion and the pistol was discharged, the bullet entering Kester's body near the lower point of the sternum, below the ribs and a little to the right, lodging in the body. Death resulted in about thirty minutes.

J. E. Koonce, justice of the peace at Nogal, was summoned to hold an inquest, as there is no justice at Bonito. A coroner's jury was summoned, evidence taken and the following verdict was returned:
We, the undersigned, active justice of the peace and jury, who sat upon the inquest held on the 27th day of October A D 1908, on the body of R. J. Kester, found in precinct 12 of the county of Lincoln N M; find that the deceased came to his death by reason of a pistol shot wound and that the pistol was accidentally discharged while in the hand of John F Greer.
J. E. Koonce J. P.(acting), B. R. Robinson, George Killer, R. E. Wingfield, W. I. Robinson, Samuel Kelsey, Cr Booker, Jurors.

The victim’s name was Rudolph J. Kester. My subsequent research found that Rudolph may have been known as Dolph. He was born in January of 1855 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On 17 Aug 1897, he lived in Kingfisher, Kingfisher County, Oklahoma, until 02 June 1900, thence moving to New Mexico thereafter. He was named after his maternal grandfather, Rudolph Neff Buckius who came to Oklahoma during the Great Land Rush of 1889.
Data extracted from Kester research shows another newspaper article was published in Oklahoma stating:

“Killed in New Mexico: Mrs. W. S. Saville received a letter a few days ago stating that her brother, Mr. R. J. Kester, of New Mexico, was accidentally shot and instantly killed by a friend. He was the eldest son of the late W. Y. Kester and was in his fifty-fourth year. He is survived by one son, Frank B. Kester, of Iola, Pa.; four brothers and four sisters, C. A. Kester, of Pittston, Pa.; W. H. Kester, of Martinsville, Va.; J. F. Kester, of Roanoke; Mrs. E. R. Brown and Mrs. W. S. Saville, of Roanoke, Va.; Mrs. W. J. Knighton, of Bluefield, W. Va., and Mrs. D. C. Fitzgerald, of Ivor, Va."

The research further stated that his son, Frank Kester, mentioned in the article did not appear under Dolph's family in the 1900 census. It also queried what had happened to Dolph's wife and adopted daughter?
More research solves the mystery of Rudolph J. Kester’s widow disappearance. In the early 1900’s, widows and widowers quickly remarried simply out of the necessity to survive. Single people had a difficult time working 16 hours a day and then coming home to cook, housekeep, and wash cloths. Marriage had little to do with “love” but much to do with necessity.

I found the Kester widow, remarried as expected, in New Mexico in 1910:
United States Census, 1910
Name: Nellie Sullivan (now married aka Mary and Elen.)
Tusas, Rio Arriba, New Mexico, United States
Age: 42 years Marital Status: Married Race: White
Relationship to Head of Household: Wife
Birth Year approx. 1868, Birthplace: England, Immigration Year: 1870
Father's Birthplace: England, Mother's Birthplace: England
Michael W Sullivan Head M age 44, born in New York
Nellie Sullivan Wife F age 42, born in England
District: 163, Sheet Number and Letter: 8B, Household ID: 154, The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Publication Number: M1283.

Nellie (aka Mary, Nellie, Nella, Elen) White’s first marriage was found:
Oklahoma Marriages 1870-1930; Rudolph J. Kester to Nellie E. White.
Name:   Rudolph J. Kester, Age 39
Spouse's Name: Nellie E. White, Age 25
Marriage date: 07 Apr 1894, Marriage place: Canadian, Oklahoma (now Pittsburg County)
Father's Name:  William
Mother's Name: Buckess (Buckius)
Spouse's Father's Name: John T.
Spouse's Mother's Name: Mahen

In 1900, the Kesters still lived in Oklahoma.
United States Census, 1900
Name: Nilla Kester
Kingfisher Township Kingfisher City Ward 1-4, Kingfisher, Oklahoma Territory, (now Kingfisher County)
Female, Age: 32, Married.
Number of Living Children: 0
Years Married: 13yrs., Birth Date: Oct 1868, Birthplace: England, Marriage Year (Estimated): 1887.
Father's Birthplace: England, Mother's Birthplace: England.
Rudolph J Kester Head M, age 45, Pennsylvania
Nilla Kester Wife F, age 32, England
Fannie Kester  Adopted daughter F, age 10, Kansas Born in December 1889, Birth place of parents: Unknown.
Since Nellie and Rudolph were married on 07 Apr 1894 in Oklahoma it follows that the adoption of Fannie occurred in Oklahoma between 1894 and 1900.

In 1920 :
United States Census, 1920
Name: Mike W. Sullivan (Michael)
Place: Tusas, Rio Arriba, New Mexico, United States, Age: 54, Married
Own or Rent: Own
Birth Year (Estimated): 1866
Birthplace: New York, Father's Birthplace: Ireland, Mother's Birthplace: Ireland.
Household :
Mike W Sullivan Head      M           54           New York
Elen W Sullivan   Wife      F             52           England
District: 96, Sheet Number and Letter: 6A, Household ID: 21, Line Number: 3

The fate of Mary W. aka Elen W. aka Nellie W. White is unknown. She may have died in NM after the 1920 census. No NM death records were found for Mary or her husbands Kester or Sullivan.

More about Mary White:
United States Census, 1880
Name: Mary White
Superior, Osage, Kansas, United States, Gender: Female, Age: 12, Single, White, Attending School
Relationship to Head of Household: Daughter
Birth Year (Estimated): 1868, Birthplace: England
Father's Birthplace: England, Mother's Birthplace: England

Samuel White, M, age 34, England 1880
Anna White, Wife, F, age 38, England
Wm Saml White, Son, M, age 10, England
Florence White, Daughter, F, age 7, Kansas, United States
Elizabeth J White, Daughter, F, age 4, Kansas, United States
Alice Maud White, Daughter, F, age 0, Kansas, United States*
Mary White, Daughter, F, age 12, England

Burial information for Mary White's parents and for Rudolph Kester's parents:
Samuel J. Kester
Birth: May 9, 1865
Death: Feb. 19, 1936
Burial: Maple Hill Cemetery
Kansas City, Wyandotte County, Kansas, USA
Created by: Steve McCray
Record added: May 18, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26927902

Melissa E. Kester
Birth: Apr. 13, 1863
Death: May 31, 1912
Burial: Maple Hill Cemetery, Kansas City, Wyandotte County, Kansas, USA
Created by: Steve McCray
Record added: May 18, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 2692785

Samuel White
Birth:  May 25, 1846
Death:  Dec. 26, 1925
Burial: Osage City Cemetery, Osage City, Osage County, Kansas, USA
Created by: Dale Bernhardt
Record added: Jan 30, 2011 
Find A Grave Memorial# 64933872
Annie K. White
Birth: Oct. 31, 1832
Death: Feb. 10, 1918
Burial: Osage City Cemetery, Osage City, Osage County, Kansas, USA
Created by: Dale Bernhardt
Record added: Jan 30, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 64933334

Update: November 7, 2014; Fannie B. Kester -adopted, married Ernest S. Kemp in NM ca. 1907.
United States Census, 1910
Fannie B. Kemp
Estancia, Torrance, New Mexico, United States
Female, Age: 23, Married, Wife Birth Year (Estimated): 1887 (actual is Dec. 1889) Birthplace: Kansas
Father's Birthplace: Illinois, Mother's Birthplace: Kansas
Ernest Kemp Head M 29 Arkansas
Fannie B Kemp Wife F 23 Kansas
Walter E Kemp Son M 3 Oklahoma
William L Kemp Son M 0 New Mexico
District: 274, Sheet Number and Letter: 13B, Household ID: 379

United States Census, 1920
Name: Fannie Kemp
Albuquerque Ward 1, Bernalillo, New Mexico, United States
Age: 32 Marriede
Can Read: Yes Can Write: Yes Wife
Birth Year (Estimated): 1888 (actual Dec. 1889) Kansas
Father's Birthplace: Illinois Mother's Birthplace: Kansas
Earnest Kemp Head M 40 Arkansas
Fannie Kemp Wife F 32 Kansas
Walter Kemp Son M 13 Oklahoma (would have been b. in 1907) Fannie returned to Oklahoma?
William Kemp Son M 10 New Mexico b. 1910
Mason Kemp Son M 8 New Mexico b. 1912
Edward Kemp Son M 4 New Mexico b. 1916
District: 14, Sheet Number and Letter: 1B, Household ID: 59, Line Number: 62

United States Census, 1930
Name: Fannie B Kemp F 42 Married Wife
Albuquerque, Bernalillo, New Mexico, United States
Birth Year (Estimated): 1888 Kansas
Father's Birthplace: Illinois
Mother's Birthplace: Illinois
Ernest S Kemp Head M 49 Arkansas
Fannie B Kemp Wife F 42 Kansas
William H Kemp Son M 20 New Mexico
Mason R Kemp Son M 19 New Mexico
Eddie Kemp Son M 14 New Mexico
Dorothy F Kemp Daughter F 5 New Mexico
District: 0021, Sheet Number and Letter: 6A, Household ID: 140, Line Number: 46

United States Census, 1940
Fanny B Kemp 53 Wife Kansas 1887
Albuquerque, Election Precinct 25, Bernalillo, New Mexico, United States
Last Place of Residence: Same House
S E Kemp Head M 58 Arkansas
Fanny B Kemp Wife F 53 Kansas
Edward T Kemp Son M 24 New Mexico
Dorothy F Kemp Daughter F 15 New Mexico
District: 1-26, Family Number: 244, Sheet Number and Letter: 10A, Line Number: 3
Earnest S Kemp (aka S. E. Kemp)
Married to Fannie B. Kemp
United States World War I Draft Registration Cards 1917-1918
Torrance County, New Mexico, United States
Nationality: United States Birth Date: 04 Apr 1881
Affiliate Publication Number: M1509, Affiliate Publication Title: World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, GS Film Number: 001711809, Digital Folder Number: 005243336 , Image Number: 03329

Earnest Kemp United States Census, 1900
Richwoods Township, Stone, Arkansas, United States
Age: 19 Marital Status: Single Race: White
Relationship to Head of Household: Son
Birth Date: Apr 1881 Birthplace: Arkansas
Father's Birthplace: Arkansas
Mother's Birthplace: Arkansas
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
Walter C Kemp Head M 43 Arkansas
Fanny Kemp Wife F 40 Arkansas (Frances)
Earnest Kemp Son M 19 Arkansas
Oscar Kemp Son M 17 Arkansas
Virgie Kemp Daughter F 15 Arkansas
Jaffie Kemp Daughter F 13 Arkansas
Eller Kemp Daughter F 11 Arkansas
Fred Kemp Son M 10 Arkansas
Seddie Kemp Daughter F 8 Arkansas
John T Kemp Son M 6 Arkansas
Thelma Kemp Daughter F 2 Arkansas
District: 136 , Sheet Number and Letter: 2A , Household ID: 27 , Line Number: 25

Walter C. Kemp
Given Name: Walter C.
Birth: SEP 1857 in Arkansas, USA
Death: 1940 Burial: 1940 Sunset Memorial Park, Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, New Mexico, USA 

Walter Kemp United States Social Security Death Index
Given Name: Walter
Surname: Kemp
Birth Date: 7 March 1907
Social Security Number: 570-10-1196
State: California
Event Date: September 1967
Age: 60 

Fannie B. Kemp Birth Date: 1887, Death Date: 1968
Cemetery: Cook-Walden Memorial Hill Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place: Austin, Travis County, Texas, United States of America
Spouse: Earnest S. Kemp
Find A Grave

Earnest S. Kemp (1881 - 1962)* (S. = Solomon)
Cook-Walden Memorial Hill Cemetery
Austin, Travis County, Texas, USA
Plot: Founders Haven Section
Created by: Rajordan
Record added: Feb 02, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 47491615
Birth: Apr. 6, 1881
Death: Oct., 1962

Fannie B. Kemp (1887 - 1968)
Burial: Cook-Walden Memorial Hill Cemetery, Austin, Travis County, Texas, USA
Plot: Founders Haven Section
Created by: Rajordan
Record added: Feb 02, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 47491603

Kemp, Fannie Bell d. 05-20-1968 WIDOWED
Fannie Bell Kemp, Texas, Death Index
Event Date: 20 May 1968, County: Travis, Event Place: Travis, Texas, United States

Fannie Bell Kemp Texas, Deaths
Name: Fannie Bell Kemp
Event Type: Death
Event Date: 20 May 1968
Event Place: , Travis, Texas, United States
Gender: Female
Marital Status: Widowed
Birth Date: 22 Apr 1887
Birthplace: Marion, Kansas
Father's Name: Thomas E Mason
Mother's Name: Nora F Richards
Certificate Number: 38573
GS Film number: 2137029 , Digital Folder Number: 005144876 , Image Number: 01520

Earnest Solomon Kemp
Name: Earnest Solomon Kemp
Event Type: Death Event Date: 20 Oct 1962
Event Place: Austin, Travis, Texas, United States
Marital Status: Married; Birth Date: 06 Apr 1881
Father's Name: Walter Coleman Kemp
Mother's Name: Frances E Martin
Certificate Number: 65279 GS Film number: 2117118 , Digital Folder Number: 005144789 , Image Number: 03152