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A family history of the ancestors of Mary Roberta Sympson. This is by no means complete, but will serve as a starting place until I develop a more practical way of presenting the information.

CAVEAT: Although Iím fairly certain of most of this information, please do not take my word for it. Always seek primary sources for verification!

I have some information on collateral lines; if you would like to know more, or want to know my sources, please contact me.


Mary Roberta SYMPSON was born on Aug 23, 1901 in Edgerton, Platte Co., Missouri. She graduated from Excelsior Springs High School in 1919, and from Warrensburg State College, Johnson Co., Missouri in 1927.  She died in Phoenix, Maricopa Co., Arizona on Apr 4, 1998, when she was 96 and was buried there on Apr 7, 1998 in Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery. She was a school teacher before her marriage, and later the bookkeeper for the auto dealership.

Mary lived with her Aunt Julia (GUNN) and Uncle Alex in Excelsior Springs to go to high school, as she couldnít get a teaching certificate from Edgerton.  She wanted to be a doctor like her father, but could not pass chemistry because she had no sense of smell.  She was a tomboy most of her life, and majored in Industrial Arts in college.  Mary was a charter member of Eastern Star in Parkville, Missouri, and started Girl Scout troops both in Parkville and in Cameron, Clinton Co., Missouri. 

On Dec 13, 1930 when she was 29, she married Herbert Henry KORDES, in Emporia, Kansas.

They had three children.


Mary Sympsonís parents:

Robert Butler SYMPSON M.D. was born on Nov 12, 1864 in Taylor Co., Kentucky. His family moved to Kansas in 1867, then Buchanan Co., Missouri in 1876. He graduated from Ainsworth Medical College, St. Joseph, Missouri in 1891 when he was 26.  In 1894, at the age of 29, Robert was employed at the State Asylum in St. Joseph, Missouri as a doctor.  In 1898 he lived in Edgerton, Platte Co., Missouri, where he died and was buried in 1903, when he was 38.

Robert was not yet ten, and the oldest living child, when his mother died in 1874.  He is not present in the 1880 census in his fatherís household.

He married Mary Jane GUNN.  She was born on Jul 22, 1867 in Adams Co., Illinois. She lived in her parentsí household in the 1880 Platte, Buchanan Co., Missouri census.  She died in St. Joseph, Missouri on Aug 10, 1947, when she was 80, and was buried on Aug 12, 1947 in Mt. Zion Cemetery, Edgerton, Platte Co., Missouri.  A picture of the family in 1902 shows the house in Edgerton.


  • Mary Roberta (1901-1998)
  • Harold
  • George H.
  • Ransom P.
  • Robert B.

Dr. Robert SYMPSONís  parents:

Amon Durham SYMPSON was born on Jan 6, 1837 in Green Co., Kentucky. In 1858 he participated in the storming of the jail where his fatherís accused murderers were held.  Amon moved his family to Kansas in 1876, and was on the 1870 census in Jefferson Township, Jackson Co., Kansas in 1870.  He relocated to Agency Ford, Buchanan Co., Missouri about 1876, and was head of household in Agency, Buchanan Co., Missouri in the 1880 census.  With him was his second wife, Susan A. Reeves YOUNG, daughter Eunice and sons George, Richard and Charles A.  I believe the last two are his children with Susan.  He died in Missouri on Oct 28, 1910, when he was 73. He is buried in Smithville Cemetery, Smithville, Clay Co., Missouri. He was primarily a farmer.

On May 30, 1861 when he was 24, he married Mary Etta RIVERS, in Campbellsville, Taylor Co., Kentucky.  She was born on Jul 2, 1845 in Green Co., Kentucky. She died in Kansas on Jan 18, 1874, when she was 28, of injuries received during an Indian raid, and is buried in Circleville, Atchison Co., Kansas.


  • James H. (1863-1864)
  • Robert Butler (1864-1903)
  • Eunice (Eunie) Amelia (1867-1925)
  • Elizabeth A. Jane (1868-1957) married Douglas Clay HIGHBAUGH
  • George Durham (1869-) married Ida WILLIAMS
  • Anne (Annie) E. (1873-) married Caswell BETTIS

Mary Gunnís parents:

James Daniel GUNN was born in Dec. 1838 in Kentucky. In 1870 he brought his family to Buchanan Co., Missouri, and was head of household in the 1880 census for Platte, Buchanan Co., Missouri, with his wife and nine children in the household.  He was a carpenter and built the house in Edgerton, Platte Co., Missouri where his daughter Maryís family lived.  Occupation:  Farmer

On Jan 28, 1858 he married Eliza Matilda PEER, in Hannibal, Missouri.  She was born on Jan 30, 1838 in Ohio, and lived with her parents in Pike Co., Illinois before she was married.  She died in Edgerton, Missouri on Aug 21, 1900, when she was 62 and is buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery.


  • John W. (J. W.) (~1859->1900)
  • Elisabeth C.  (~1863-)
  • Mary Jane (1867-1947)
  • Julia (~1869->1900)
  • Albert (~1872->1900)
  • Minnie (~1872->1900)
  • Laura (~1874-)
  • Ruben H. (~1876->1929)
  • Curtis B. (~1878->1900)
  • Cora (->1900)
  • Lena (->1900)

Amon SYMPSONís  parents:

Henry SYMPSON (SIMPSON) was born on Sep 4, 1800 in Green Co., Kentucky. He was murdered during a robbery in his home in Green Co., Kentucky on May 27, 1857, when he was 56.  He is buried on Sympson farm, R.4, Campbellsville, Kentucky.  Occupation:  Farmer and justice of the peace

On Aug 29, 1822 when he was 21, he married Elinor (Elainor) BARBEE, at the Good Hope Baptist Church in Green Co., Kentucky.  She was born on Sep 20, 1805 in Green Co., Kentucky. Elinor died on Nov 5, 1877, when she was 72, and is buried on the Sympson farm, R.4, Campbellsville, Kentucky.


  • Melvina (Malvina) (1824-)
  • Joshua B. (1825-)
  • John Arthur (1827-)
  • Sara (1828-)
  • Rebecca (1830-)
  • Bettie (1831-)
  • Ella (1832-)
  • Aruthur (1833-)
  • Lucy J. (1835-)
  • Amon Durham (1837-1910)
  • Edwin (1838-)
  • Henry A. (1840-)
  • Elizabeth Barbee (1845-)
  • Mary (1847-)
  • Nancy Mildred (1851-)

Mary Etta Riversí parents:

James RIVERS was born on Dec 13, 1802 in Green Co., Kentucky. He died in Taylor Co., Kentucky on Mar 26, 1863, when he was 60.

On Dec 16, 1830 when he was 28, he married Mary Irene SHORT, in Green Co., Kentucky.  She was born on Mar 13, 1812 in Green Co., Kentucky. Mary was the head of house in the 1880 census of Saloma, Taylor Co., Kentucky.  Her son, Thomas J., who was crippled, lived with her.  She died in Taylor Co., Kentucky on Jul 17, 1894, when she was 82.

For more information on the ancestors of Mary Etta Rivers SYMPSON, please visit Janeen Proctor-Davisí Rivers page.  I owe a large debt of gratitude to Janeen for the information she has extended to me.


  • Thomas J. (~1842-)
  • Mary Etta (1845-1874)

James Gunnís  parents:

William S. GUNN was most likely born on March 21, 1811 in Harrison Co., Indiana, although the 1880 census for James indicates in Kentucky. William S. died on June 14, 1881, when he was 70.  According to the History of Buchanan County, Missouri, he studied to be a stone mason when he moved to Jefferson County, Kentucky in about 1829.  He then moved to Adams Co., Illinois, where he lived for 12 years. He also resided in Platte Township, Buchanan Co., Missouri. He was a farmer and a local preacher.  Religion: Methodist Episcopal Church.

On 30 Jul 1835 when William S. was 24, he married Lavina Cornwall,in Jefferson Co., Kentucky.  Lavina was born in Kentucky and died in Illinois, sometime before 1842.

They had the following children:

  • John W.
  • James Daniel (1838->1902)
  • Reuben H. (1839-) married Mary Jennie COX on October 10, 1871.  He ďentered the army, in 1861, at Quincy, Illinois, joining the Fiftieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company B., and remained through the war.  He received a wound at Fort Donaldson, through the right arm.  He was promoted to the rank of Orderly SergeantĒ - The History of Buchanan County, Missouri
  • Susan Elizabeth

On December 22, 1842, when William was 31, he married Julia F. Gill, of Shelby Co., Kentucky.  They had three children, one of whom died in the army.

Eliza PEERís parents were probably both born in Virginia.


Henry Sympsonís parents:

William SYMPSON was born in 1766 in Pennsylvania. His parents lived for a while in a part of North Carolina that is now Tennessee, and William came to Kentucky in about 1795.  There is evidence that he served in the Revolutionary War and fought the Cherokee Indians.  He died in 1843, when he was 77.

William was a farmer as well as the sheriff of Green County, Kentucky.  He was very involved in politics, and encouraged his sons to be likewise.

William may have married a Rebecca CLENDENNIN and/or a Peggie DONAHOO.


  • James C. (1792-1878)
  • George C. (1798-1870)
  • Henry (Twin) (1800-1857)
  • Jack (Twin) (1800-)
  • Alexander (Twin) (>1800-)  Alexander was an acquaintance of Abraham Lincolnís

Elinor Barbeeís parents:

Gen. Elias BARBEE was born on Jun 14, 1763 in Culpeper Co., Virginia and enlisted from there into the army, fighting in the Revolutionary War. He moved to Kentucky in December of 1782.  He died in Green Co., Kentucky on Oct. 6, 1843, when he was 80. He is buried with his wife in a stone vault in Barbee Cemetery (Winlock Cemetery), Kirtley farm, off Hwy. 210.

Elias was a wealthy and prominent citizen of Green County, serving in both the state House of Representatives and in the state Senate.  In the 1970ís he was honored with a Kentucky State Highway Historical Marker for sponsoring the bill that created the first public school for the deaf in the nation.  His daughter Lucy was deaf, and one of the first students at the school.

On Aug. 2, 1788 when he was 25, he married Elizabeth SLAUGHTER, in Culpeper Co., Virginia.  She was born on Jun 12, 1768 and died on Jul. 12, 1836, when she was 68.


  • William (1795-)
  • John (1795-)
  • Elizabeth (1797-1858)
  • Lucy (1799-1852)
  • Frances (1800-1845)
  • Mildred (1801-1874)
  • Sarah (1802-<1828)
  • Elias (1803-1862)
  • Elinor (Elainor) (1805-1877)
  • Thomas (1807-)
  • Polly (1809-)
  • Joshua (1810-)
  • Nancy (1811-)

William Sympsonís parents:

Michael SYMPSON. Born in Ireland.  Immigrated to Pennsylvania.


  • William (1766-1843)
  • Michael

Elias Barbeeís parents:

John BARBEE came to Kentucky in 1779, his son Joshua helping him in the move.  He served in the Revolutionary War, along with several of his sons.


  • Daniel (~1757-1834)
  • Joshua (~1760-)
  • Elias (1763-1843)
  • Thomas
  • John
  • William
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