Mary Ella (Mollie) Evans
 b: 16/Aug/1896 - Jackson Twp., Gentry Co., MO
 d: 26/Sep/1980 - Gentry County Hosp., Albany, Gentry Co., MO - bur: High Ridge Cem., Stanberry

Father: James Johnson Evans
Mother: Mary Ella Welch

Spouse-1: Verna Ray Birbeck - b: 8/May/1896 - Gentry Co., MO
  d: 14/Nov/1962 - Gentry County Hosp., Albany, Gentry Co., MO - bur: High Ridge Cem., Stanberry
  m: 19/Jul/1918 - Gentry Co., MO

Child-1: Lester Ray - b: 1/Mar/1925 - Gentry Co., MO
                                  d: 20/Sep/2001 - Houston, Harris Co., TX - bur: High Ridge Cem., Stanberry, Gentry Co., MO
          2: Robert (Bob) Leland - b: 14/May/1926 - Gentry Co., MO
                                                 d: 20/Oct/2015 - Russell, Russell Co., KS - bur: Kansas Veterans' Cem., WaKeeney, Trego Co.
                                                m: Edith *****
          3: Herbert (Herb) Evans - b: 25/Feb/1929 - King City, Gentry Co., MO
                                                  d: 17/Apr/2004 - Mankato, Blue Earth Co., MN - bur: Woodlawn Cem., St. Peter, Le Sueur Co.
                                                 m: Marilyn M. (Mimi) Berrier - 25/Aug/1957 - Onawa, Monona Co., IA
          4: Mary June
          5: Virginia Mae

Biographical Details:

Mary Ella Evans was born in Jackson Township in Gentry County, Missouri, on August 16, 1896.1  She was the only surviving daughter of James J. and Mary Ella Welch Evans.  Moreover, it is evident that she was named after her mother, who was in term named after her own mother, viz., Mary Ella Wheeler, and, therefore, was the third generation to bear this name.  Even so, the tradition did not propagate to the next generation (perhaps, because the name "Ella" had fallen quite out of style).  Known familiarly as "Mollie", Mary Evans studied music and was a piano teacher as well as pianist for churches at Island City and Stanberry.  She was a lifelong member of the Island City Christian Church.  Mollie evidently moved to Savannah in Andrew County at some time after 1910, since it is asserted that she was living there when she married Verna Ray Birbeck in July of 1918.2  He was the son of Joseph and Sarah Mae Doughton Birbeck and grew up on a small farm in Section Two  in Township Sixty-one of Range Thirty-three in Jackson Township about a mile and a half southwest of Island City.  After their marriage Ray and Mollie returned to the homeplace and lived and later cared for her father after the death of her mother in 1917.  There they remained resident for the rest of their lives.  They were the parents of five children, viz., Lester Ray, Bobbie, Herb, Mary June, and Virginia.  Moreover, Ray and Mollie Birbeck were forward thinking individuals that appreciated the importance and value of eduction.  Accordingly, all five of their children completed high school and college and were quite successful in life.3  Indeed, two sons, viz., Bobbie and Herb, received advanced degrees in dentistry and education, respectively and Herb becames a college professor in Minnesota.  Likewise, Lester Ray graduated from the Missouri School of Mines with a degee in petroleum engineering and, subsequently, worked all around the world developing oil fields in the Persian Gulf, Norway, Libya, Trinidad, the Seychelle Islands, as well as other places.  Concomitantly, Ray and Mollie's two son-in-laws became a corporate executive and college professor.  Personal recollections of "Aunt Mollie" have come down through various family members.  In general, she is remembered as a warm and kind individual that particularly loved children.  In later life, she was a rather large woman that reminded some of a hen caring for her chicks when she would often say to sons, daughters, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews alike even if they were adults, "Now, children ...".  One anecdote well remembered by later generations was instigated by repeated depredations of a fox on Ray and Mollie's chickens.  As it happened, they were in bed late one night when they heard a commotion in the chicken house.  Naturally, they immediately assumed the worst, suspecting the cause as a visit from the fox and, accordingly, arose, dressed, and proceeded to the scene of the putative crime bearing a shotgun and flashlight.  Sure enough, when the door was opened and light applied, the presence of the varmint was evident.  At this point, it is reported that Mollie said to Ray in reference to the shotgun, "Now, Ray don't worry about the chickens, just get the fox."  The shotgun went off with a "bang" and several hapless chickens fell dead, but the fox escaped unscathed.  Moreover, since waste is anathema to farmers as well as their wives, most of the remainder of the night was required to pluck and dress the unfortunate chickens.  It is not known if the fox ever returned.  Sadly, in later life Ray became progressively disabled with Parkinson's disease.  Nevertheless, they remained resident on the farm until his last illness in 1962.  After the death of her husband, Mollie moved to the town of King City and lived in a small house on the south side of W. Vermont Street close to its intersection with N. Prospect Street.  Mary Ella Evans Birbeck died on September 26, 1980, and was buried with her husband in the High Ridge Cemetery in Stanberry. 
Source Notes and Citations:
1. "Mary E. Birbeck   Mary E. (Mollie) Birbeck, 84, passes away on Sept. 26 at the Gentry County Memorial Hospital in Albany.
     She was born on Aug. 16, 1896 near Island City, the daughter of the late James J. and Mary Ella (Welch) Evans.
     She was a member of the Island City Christian Church.  She graduated from the Stanberry School of Music and taught piano for many years.  She was church pianist at both the Stanberry and Island City Christian Churches.
     On July 19, 1918, she was united in marriage to Verna Ray Birbeck.  To this union five children were born; Mary J. Bush, Atlanta, Ga.; Virginia Howe, Macomb, Ill.; Lester Birbeck, Republic of the Seychelles; Dr. Robert Birbeck, Springfield, Mo. and Dr. Herbert Birbeck, Mankato, Minn.  She is also survived by 10 grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
     Following the death of her husband in 1962, she moved to King City where she lived the rest of her life.
     Services were held on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 28, at Island City Christian church, conducted by Rev. Lorace Walton.  Music was provided by Mr. and Mrs. Max Cook accompanied by Mrs. Donna Pyle.
     Pallbearers were Billy Birbeck, James Birbeck, Brett MacDonald, Thomas Birbeck, Daniel Howe and Timothy Evans.  Burial was in the High Ridge Cemetery in Stanberry."  (obituary: St. Joseph News-Press; St. Joseph, MO,  Sep. 1980.)
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2. "Funeral Friday at Island City for Ray Birbeck, 66   Ray Birbeck, 66, retired farmer and lifelong resident of the Island City area northwest of King City, died Wednesday at the Gentry County Memorial hospital in Albany, where he had been a patient since Sunday.
     His funeral will be at 2:30 Friday afternoon at the Island City Christian church, conducted by the Rev. Harriet Irwin, minister, and the Rev. Will Lane, of King Hill Christian church, St. Joseph.  Burial will be in High Ridge cemetery at Stanberry.  The body, now at the Johnson mortuary in Stanberry, will lie in state at the church from noon Friday until the funeral hour.
     Mr. Birbeck was born in Gentry county May 8, 1896, a son of Joe and Sarah Mae Doughton Birbeck.  He married Miss Mary E. Evans of Savannah July 19, 1918, and they lived all their married life on their farm northwest of King City.  To them were born five children, for all of whom they furnished high school and college educations and all of whom survive.  Mr. Birbeck had been a member of the Island City Christian church since early young manhood.  He was a devoted husband and father, a good neighbor and a successful farmer and stockman.  He had been in failing health several years.
     Surviving besides the widow are two daughters, Mrs. Mary Bush of Jefferson City, Mo., and Mrs. Virginia Howe of Ames, Iowa; three sons, Lester Ray Birbeck of Trinidad, West Indies; Dr. Robert L. Birbeck of St. Joseph and Dr. Herbert E. Birbeck of North Mankato, Minn.; two brothers, Robert Birbeck of King City and Lee Birbeck of Kennewick, Wash.; one sister, Miss Cora Ellen Birbeck of King City and six grandchildren.
     The son, Lester Birbeck, is flying home from Trinidad, W. I., for the funeral and was scheduled to reach Kansas City Thursday night."   (obituary: Tri-County News; King City, MO, Fri., Oct. 5, 2001.)
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3. Descendants of Ray and Mollie Birbeck are identified from civil and census records as well as oral family tradition:

First Generation

Mary Ella (Mollie) Evans, born 16 Aug 1896 in Gentry Co., MO, died 26 Sep 1980 in Gentry Co., MO, buried High Ridge Cem., Stanberry; married on 19 Jul 1918 in Gentry Co., MO, Verna Ray Birbeck, born 8 May 1896 in Gentry Co., MO; died 14 Nov 1962 Gentry County Hosp., Albany, Gentry Co., MO, buried High Ridge Cem., Stanberry.

1. Lester Ray Birbeck*, born 1 May 1925 in Gentry Co., MO, died 20 Sep 2001 Houston, Harris Co., TX.  He never married.
2. Robert Leland Birbeck**, born 14 May 1926 in Gentry Co., MO, died 20 Oct 2015 Russell, Russell Co, KS, buried Kansas Veterans' Cem., WaKeeney, Trego Co., KS; married, Edith ****.  They had Billy Ray and Marsha Birbeck.
3. Herbert Evans Birbeck, born 25 Feb 1929 in Gentry Co., MO, died 17 Apr 2004 Mankato, Blue Earth Co., MN, buried Woodlawn Cem., St. Peter, Le Sueur Co., MN; married on 25 Aug 1957 in Onawa, Monona Co., IA, Marilyn Berrier.
4. Mary June Birbeck.
5. Virginia Mae Birbeck
*"Birbeck leaves positve mark throughout area:
     Lester Ray Birbeck was what you might call a man of the world, in the truest sense of the word.
     He spent most of his 76 years working, living and traveling in many countries throughout the world and yet his thoughts never strayed far from home, the place where he was born, grew up and possibly loved the best, the King City and Island City areas of Northwest Missouri.
     Funeral services were conducted for Mr. Birbeck on Sept. 24 at the Island City Christian Church, where he still remained a member, by his cousin, Rev. Russell Evans.  Burial was in High Ridge Cemetery in Stanberry.
     Lester was born March 1, 1925, the first child of Ray and Mollie Evans Birbeck.  Other siblings include two brothers, Herbert Birbeck, Mankato, MN. and Robert Birbeck, Springfield; two sisters, Mary June Birbeck Bush, Dallas, TX. and Virginia Birbeck Howe, Hays, KS.
     The family lived in the Beggs community, north of King City, and that is where Lester grew up and attended grade school.  He was a 1942 graduate of King City high school."   (obituary: Tri-County News; King City, MO, Fri., Oct. 5, 2001.)

**"Dr. Robert Leland (Bob) Birbeck passed away Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at the Russell Regional Hospital.  A former resident of Hays, he had resided at Wheatland Nursing Center in Russell for the past eleven months.  He was born in Gentry County, MO on May 14, 1926, the second of five children to Ray and Mollie (Evans) Birbeck.  He grew up on the family farm and attended elementary grades in a rural one-room schoolhouse.  He graduated from high school in King City, MO and after serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II, he continued his educational pursuits at Northwest Missouri State College.  He completed his education at the University of Missouri in Kansas City earning the degree, Doctor of Dental Sciences.  He maintained active dental practices in both St. Joseph and Springfield, MO.
     He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Lester Ray and Herbert Evans.  He is survived by a son, Billy Ray, and a daughter, Marsha; two sisters, Mary June (Jack) Bush and Virginia Mae (Virgil) Howe; and several nieces and nephews.
     Graveside services will be 11 AM Thursday at the Kansas Veterans' Cemetery in WaKeeney, Kansas with military honors courtesy of the Hays VFW.
     Arrangements in care of Brock's-Keithley Funeral Chapel and Crematory 2509 Vine Hays, KS 67601."   (obituary: Brock's-Keithley Funeral Chapel and Crematory, Hays, KS.)

Second Generation

3. Herbert Evans Birbeck# and Marilyn Berrier were married in Monona County, Iowa.  Herb becames a professor at Mankato State College (later Mankato State University and Minnesota State University, Mankato).

3-1. Victoria Jean Birbck
3-2. Thomas Herbert Birbeck
3-3. James Lester Birbeck
#"Herbert E. "Herb" Birbeck, age 75 of North Mankato died Saturday, April 17, 2004 at his home.
     Funeral service will be 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Centenary United Methodist Church, Mankato, with Rev. Dean Wolf officiating.  Interment in Woodlawn Cemetery, St. Peter, MN.  Visitation 5-7 pm Tuesday at Mankato Mortuary and one hour before services at the church on Wednesday.  If so desired, memorials may be given to Centenary United Methodist Church or to an organization of the donor's choice.
     Mr. Birbeck was born February 25, 1929 in King City, MO to Ray and Mary Ella (Evans) Birbeck.  Herbert graduated from King City High School and received a B. S. degree in Education from Tarkio College, Tarkio, MO.  Mr. Birbeck earned his Master Degree at the University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, and his Ph.D. from University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.  He served in the U.S. Army from January of 1951 to January of 1953 and then spent 3 years in the U. S. Army Reserve.
     He was united in marriage to Marilyn M. Berrier on August 25, 1957 in Onawa, IA.  He retired from State University - Mankato after chairing the Special Education Dept. for 25 years.  Dr. Birbeck was a member of Centenary United Methodist Church and Mankato Rotary Club.  He enjoyed the civil war period, spending time with family at their cabin on Lake Washington.
     He is survived by his wife, three children, three grandchildren, two sisters, one brother, nephews, nieces and cousins [survivors names omitted].
     He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Lester."   (obituary: Mankato Mortuary and Lake Crystal Mortuary, Mankato, MN.)

(unpublished notes)
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Additional Citations:

4. 1920 US Census Population Schedule for Gentry County, Missouri, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 133A, (microfilm: roll T625_919; img. 836).

5. 1930 US Census Population Schedule for Gentry County, Missouri, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 111A, (microfilm: roll T626_1188; img. 223).

6. 1940 US Census Population Schedule for Gentry County, Missouri, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 145A, (microfilm: roll T627_2106; img. 656).

7. World War I Draft Registration Cards, National Personnel Records Center, National Archives-Southeast Region, Morrow, GA, (microfilm: roll MO-1683214; img. 3781).

8. Death Certificates, Missouri State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Jefferson City, MO, (Death Certificate No. 62-042199 - Bureau of Vital Statistics, State of Missouri, Jefferson City, MO).

9. Don Raymond,"High Ridge Cemetery", unpublished. (Gentry County MOGenWeb Archives, 2005.)

10. High Ridge Cemetery, Gentry County, Missouri (, continuously updated).


11. Kansas Veterans' Cemetery at WaKeeney, Trego County, Kansas (, continuously updated).

12. Woodlawn Cemetery, Le Sueur County, Minnesota (, continuously updated).

13. Death Master File, Social Security Administration, Washington, DC, continuously updated.

14. Robert L. Evans, "Our Family's History", November 9, 2001, unpublished.

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