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Name: KEMP, Elizabeth Jane 'Bessie', Mrs

Nee: Robinson

Birth Date: 1882 ?Queenstown, S. Africa

First Date: 1937

Profession: Farming and coffee planter

Area: Kassowai, Kitale

Married: 1. In Queenstown, S. Africa 20 Dec 1905 John Kemp (1877-1929); 2. Pearson

Children: Iris (Mrs George Ulyate); Colin Robinson (killed in a game trap); Pendennis 'Dennis' Hosking Robinson (12 Oct 1916 Sergoit-6 Oct 1956 Kenya)

Book Reference: Hut

General Information:

Gazette 6 Dec 1938 Trans Nzoia Voters List
Went to S. Africa to serve in the Boer War. The spirit of adventure brought John and his wife to BEA in 1908. They went to farm on the Uasin Gishu Plateau, but later they joined the first settlers in the Trans Nzoia, moving to their farm: "Kassowai" about 1913.
Mrs Kemp was savagely attacked by a native who ran amok and there was a near battle on the lonely farm. A few years later their son was accidentally killed in a game trap when he was impaled on a spear. 
Nicholls - Eldoret - The post office, a stone building of 2 rooms run initially by the Kemps and then by Mrs E.O. Milne …
Nicholls - John and Bessie Kemp arrived from South Africa in 1908 with their baby Colin. They obtained a farm 10 miles from Eldoret, subsequently ran the post office and store at Sergoit, and bought a farm on Mt Elgon in 1917, where they grew coffee and lived a hospitable existence holding tennis parties on a court they had built. Their son Colin was accidentally impaled on an African spear set as a game trap to catch bushbuck; he severed his femoral artery and bled to death 2 miles from home. The great wailing of the farm employees brought neighbours to the scene and Colin was carried home on a sheet of corrugated iron to be buried on the farm. John Kemp died a few years later.
Pioneer Spirit - John Kemp was a Cornishman from St. Ives. He fought in the Boer War and then settled in South Africa, where he married Bessie Robinson of Queenstown. Later he bought his farm on the Kassowai River and moved to the lower slopes of Mount Elgon and that was where I [Raymond M-Barberton] found them when I walked over from my grass hut, crossing the fallen tree bridge and wandering along the snake-like foot-path until I came upon their cottage of 4 rooms.
This was on a slope running down to their river, which like the Kaubeyon, was fast-flowing. John was jovial, rather indolent and very friendly, as was his wife Bessie with her round cheerful face. All were welcome in their tiny home. Bachelors were given a bed on the floor, on the dining room table and even on the verandah, when we used to congregate there for company and for tennis - I think theirs was the first tennis court in the district.

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