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Old West Outlaws - K

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Edward O. Kelly - See Edward O'Kelley


Charles Kennedy (18??-1870) - A mountain man who lived near Eagle Nest New Mexico, Kennedy robbed and killed a number of passing travelers as they made their way to Taos. He's one of the first known serial killers in the southwest. See full article HERE!


Dave Kemp (18??-1930s) - While still in his youth, Kemp was sentenced to hang for killing a man in Hamilton, Texas. While awaiting his execution attempted to escape by jumping from the second story of the courthouse. Breaking both ankles, he was quickly recaptured. His sentence was commuted to life, but later he received a pardon. Afterwards, he moved on to Eddy (now Carlsbad), New Mexico where he established a butcher shop and became the Eddy County sheriff in 1889. He was also a co-owner in a casino in Phoenix, Arizona and as sheriff, he tended to cater to the interests of gamblers. But this was the least of his crookedness. When Dee Harkey, a U.S. Deputy Marshal caught him stealing cattle, he forced Kemp to leave the county. The crooked lawman then went to Arizona , but returned when Les Dow, with whom he was a bitter enemy, replaced him as sheriff in Eddy. In April, 1896, Kemp shot Dow to death. Quickly arrested, Kemp was acquitted on a plea of self-defense. However, he allegedly had forced the only eye witness to to leave town. Kemp then went back to Texas, where he returned to cattle rustling. He was shot to death by his sister in the 1930s.


Hobbs Kerry - Recruited into the James-Younger Gang late in its history in 1875, he was involved in only one robbery, that of the heist of the Missouri Pacific train in Otterville, Missouri on July 7, 1876. Described as some what of a simpleton, his only job was to hold the horses, while the other gang members robbed the train. After the robbery, he made his way to Joplin, Missouri, where he bragged about the robbery and was soon arrested. He named and gave detailed descriptions of the participants in the robbery before serving two years in prison.


Sam KetchumSam Ketchum (18??-1899) - Hailing from San Saba County, Texas, Sam grew up to work along with his younger brother, Thomas "Black Jack" Ketchum, as a cowboy on several ranches throughout west Texas and northern and eastern New Mexico. However, by 1896, the pair had turned to a life of crime, robbing businesses, post offices and trains in New Mexico. The two soon formed the Ketchum Gang which included a number of other outlaws, including Will Carver, Elza Lay and Ben Kilpatrick, who also rode with Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch. However, everything began to fall apart when Sam, along with Will Carver and Elza pulled a heist without Black Jack on July 11, 1899 in Folsom, New Mexico. Though they made off with some $50,000, they were soon pursued by a posse to a hideout near Cimarron, New Mexico. In the ultimate shootout that occurred, Sam Ketchum was seriously wounded, and Sheriff Edward Farr was killed. Carver and Elza were able to escape, but Ketchum was taken to the penitentiary in Santa Fe, where he later died of blood poisoning on July 24, 1899.


Ben Kilpatrick in 1901.Ben Kilpatrick, aka: The Tall Texan, Benjamin Arnold (1877?-1912) - An outlaw and member of both the Ketchum Gang and Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch he  robbed trains and banks in Nevada Missouri Montana and Texas . He was killed on March 13, 1912 while robbing a Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio Railroad in Dryden , Texas . See full article HERE!


John Kinney (18??-1819) - Leader of the John Kinney Gang of New Mexico, Kinney was known as the "King Pin of Cattle Rustlers." His gang, also known as the Rio Grande Posse, made themselves available as hired gunmen when they weren't otherwise busy profitably stealing cattle. Primarily operating in Dona Ana County in the early 1870’s, the gang hired out in 1877 to fight in the El Paso Salt War. The following year, they made their guns available to the Dolan-Murphy faction in the Lincoln County War. Upon their arrival in Lincoln County, Kinney was deputized by Sheriff George Peppin. With his gang acting as his posse, they were given the freedom to run rampant in the county. Once the "war” was over, most of the gang members returned to Dona Ana County and their profitable cattle rustling activities. However, a few of them remained and joined up with another gang called Selman’s Scouts. John Kinney and his men continued to flourish until he was arrested in April, 1883. Convicted of cattle rustling, Kinney was sentenced  to serve five years in the Leavenworth, Kansas State Penitentiary. By the time he was paroled in February, 1886, his men had all scattered. He returned to Arizona where he worked at a feed lot in Kingman for a time, However, when the Spanish-American War broke out, he joined up and was serving in Cuba in the Spring of 1898. After the war, he returned to Arizona where he worked as a miner in Chapparral Gulch. He died of natural causes at Prescott, Arizona on August 25, 1919.




Sandy King was hanged in Shakespeare New Mexico

Inside the Grant House Dining room, hanging ropes dangle from the ceiling testifying to a more violent past in Shakespeare, New Mexico, February, 2008, Kathy Weiser. This image available for photographic prints and  downloads HERE!


Sandy King (18??-1881) - Often riding with more well known and notorious William "Curly Bill" Brocious, King was a cowboy who more often spent his time as a rustler and thief, plying his "trade” in New Mexico and Arizona in the late 1870s and early ‘80s.  In late 1880, he was making his home in Shakespeare, New Mexico, where the tall cowboy quickly made a reputation as a hard-drinking gunman. Having a penchant for numerous barroom brawls, he soon became known as the town bully.

On one occasion, King got into an argument with a storekeeper and shot off his index finger. The bully was hauled to jail. About the same time, one of King’s friends, a man named William Tattenbaum , but better known as "Russian Bill," was caught red-handed stealing a horse on November 9, 1881. Bill soon found himself tossed into the pokey with his buddy, King.


Acting swiftly, Russian Bill was tried by a vigilance committee who found him guilty and sentenced him to be hanged. When one of the members proposed that Sandy King also be hanged on the charge of being "a damned nuisance,” the committee agreed. Before the night was over, they dragged the pair from the jail into their makeshift courtroom in the dining hall of the Grant Hotel.


In his own defense, King pointed out that there were others who had committed much worse crimes than he, who had not been punished, citing the recent case of Bean Belly Smith who had shot Ross Woods in a quarrel over the last egg in the house. The vigilance committee; however, was unsympathetic. As the lynch men threw the hanging ropes over the ceiling rafters, Russian Bill begged for his life. Sandy King, on the other hand, simply requested a glass of water because "my throat is dry after talking so much to save my life." After King drank the water, nooses were placed over their necks and they were pulled up and left hanging until they were dead.


The next morning when the stage stopped at the hotel and the passengers disembarked for breakfast, the dead men were still dangling from the beam, a message to all that Shakespeare would not tolerate bad characters.


Ben KuhlBen E. Kuhl (1884-19??) - Kuhl's claim to fame is that he was the last known stage robber in the United States. On December 5, 1916, he stopped the mail stage traveling from Three Creek, Idaho, to Jarbidge, Nevada, where he took an estimated $4,000 and killed the stage driver, Fred M. Searcy. Though his occupation was listed as a baker, he was better known in the area as a drifter who had been living around Jarbidge for a few months. Prior to the robbery, he also had earned a reputation as a troublemaker and was awaiting trial after being arrested on trespassing charges. When he was arrested for the stagecoach robbery, a background check showed that he had served four months in the Marysville, California jail for petty larceny in 1903, as well as having spent time in the Oregon State Prison for horse theft. After his arrest he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. His sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. After serving more than 27 years he was granted  parole on May 16, 1945. H e had served time longer than anyone else in the Nevada State Prison up until that time. Afterwards he settled in San Francisco, California where he died of tuberculosis a year later. Kuhl's case has one other distinction -- it was the first time palm prints were entered into evidence in a court trial.


Marvin Kuhns, aka: J.W. Wilson (1865-19??) - Thief and bank robber, Marvin Kuhns, was not very good at his "job.” After his first robbery he was wounded five times when lawmen shot at him. Surviving, he found himself in a Fort Wayne, Indiana jail in December, 1890. His initial bad luck didn’t stop him; however, and when he was released, eh was right back at it with his brother, Walter. The pair robbed several small town banks in Indiana and Illinois before finally being captured in 1901 by Marshal Elmer Laird. Kuhns was known to sleep with two pistols, so when the marshal and his men snuck into the hotel room where the brothers were sleeping, Laird put a gun to Marvin’s head before shaking him awake and ordering him not to reach for his pistols. The outlaw ignored him and when he went for his guns, Laird shot him in the head. Unbelievably, Kuhns survived and was sent to prison. Years later, after his release, he was shot and killed by an Illinois farmer when caught red-handed rustling livestock.


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