McBee Family History Page
McBee Chapel in rural Braymer Mo,originally
built in 1878,rebuilt in 1938 by
the McBee Family,including J.W.
Mcbee, brother of Vardry. (photo by
Pat Pryor of the Braymer Bee)
McBee Chapel in Conestee,South Carolina built in 1841 by Vardry McBee. He was J.W.'s uncle or greatuncle..
There is a great McBee resource available at The Great McBee Search page.
We even have some  researchers who are researching our family who are Tri-racial.

I dedicate this page to the memory of my late godparents, John and Carrie McBee of the McBee Chapel community near Braymer Missouri. No trip to my home area is complete without a drive by their old house,now unfortunately falling down.  My goal is to pull together some resources to help other people who are wanting to know more about our family. Click here to read Carrie's memories of how the McBee Chapel was built. One of the interesting things is the number of people in the Braymer Missouri area who are related through marriage to the McBee's,due to the 17 children of J.W. McBee,which is where my great grandmother Carrie McBee Kelly came from.

Some great research has been done on the McBee's by Janice Hardie Mercer Our cousin, Bill Holder, has done some additional comments on her book "Out Of The Wilderness" which she has graciously agreed to allow me to post a 'copy' here. She asked that I add the following preface:

In compiling the family record of McBees and their descendants, we have
depended a great deal on the various families and what records they kept.
It was felt if we did not make some attempt to get down as much as possible
of the early legends, relationships and the like, that they would be lost
forever in the coming years as the older generation in that area would not
be thre to help. We hav tried to be as accurate as is humanly possible ,
but also, being only human we realize our errors and beg readers to
concentrate on the accurate accountings rather  then dwell on the mistakes.

Janice Mercer-Author
Virginia McBee- co. Author"

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Want to know more about the Clan MacLean which the McBees are part of?
PLEA TO ALL MCBEE researchers.  I believe it is important that we help maintain the public buildings that our families built. The McBee Chapel in Braymer Missouri has a small aging community and I fear that its historic building could end up like many of the country churches-abandoned-unless enough money is raised to create a fund to make sure the building is preserved for all times. Send a check in the memory of your family to The McBee Chapel Preservation Fund, c/o Mrs. Faye McBee,Box 57,Braymer Missouri 64624--even if it is only $10 or $25 it all adds up. Perhaps we should start a McBee Foundation to help foster research and help maintain the history of our family. What do people think? See below the article that I submitted to the Braymer Bee

Two McBee Chapels,lots of McBees, and the History by Dean Hughson

For every person who drives out in the McBee Chapel community of rural Carroll County,Braymer,Missouri if you take the time to look on the mailboxes you will see that the name McBee is a very common name in our area. But for many of us,myself included, we can trace our family history at some point to the original McBee's in our area who came up the River landing near Hardin,at a place later called McBee Landing.

From the great publication "Out of the Wilderness"  by Janet Mercer Virginia King McBee comes this explanation for how the McBee's ended up in our area in 1835.

"Taken from papers of Bob McBee, Kansas City, Mo.
     The family or clan in Scotland was known as the McBeans, a sect of the clan McBain it seems probable that the name originated from the personal appearance of the bearer, Ban or Bain meaning "fair," consequently the name is found in many districts and associated with several clans. Originally the MacBeans are said to have come from Lochabar in the suite of the heiress of the Clan Chattena and settled in Eastern Inverness-shire. The principal family was the MacBeans of Kinchyle. It may he that the whole clan left Scotland for Northern Ireland, America or parts unknown. The Belief is that while crossing the water the MacBeans  changed their name to MacBee later dropping the "a" and placing the "c" hence the name McBee. The name Is sometimes spelled as "McBee" with a hyphen to represent the missing "a"
The McBees have a proud and hard history. McBees have been farmers, military men, clergy men, newspapermen, politicians, manufacturers, plantation owners, frontiersmen, and more. They have played their part in making and protecting that vision of the United States. Theirs: is a heritage to be respected.

        The following is a tradition that has been passed down through the families. William McBee left Maryland and settled in Halifax County, Virginia. His wife's name was Susannah Vadry. They had four sons and three daughters; Samuel, Vardry, James, Mathias, Elizabeth, Joannah, and Mary. At the time the McBees were Quakers, but they renounced the faith at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.  Vardry and James married and moved to North Carolina.  Later the boundary was changed and they ended up living in South Carolina.   James stayed in South Carolina, but his children moved on to the West. One son, named Thomas, married Rachel Riley and moved to Ohio. He died in the 19th century, but left nine children. They were Elizabeth, Margaret, James, David, William, Levi, Thomas, John and Henry. The boys and their mother came to Missouri from Canton, Ohio, in 1835. They came to St. Louis by boat and from there they moved and settled two miles east of Hardin, Missouri. The river crossing there was called McBee Landing for some time. That first winter was very cold, and they suffered many hardships. When spring came they planted their crops, but the heavy thaw and high waters drove them to the hills. Later the family moved to just south of Millville, Missouri.   William, Levi, Thomas's family, John, their families, and their mother left Ray County in 1852 for Portland, Oregon. They stopped at Fort Kearney, Nebraska for two or three weeks, where they became sick with cholera, which was spreading through the country at the time. Several of them died on the way west and were buried on the plains. The mother Rachel Riley McBee, died and was buried in the Black Hills of South Dakota;   John and William, with their families, and that of  Thomas went on to settle in Oregon.  Three sons remained in Missouri. David remained in the New Hope area, James moved to the family home one half mile east of the McBee Chapel in Carroll County, near Braymer, Missouri, and it is said that Henry moved to Chillicothe, Mo., and later to Gainsville, Texas, in 1895, leaving no descendants."

From that humble beginning many of our families can be traced back to the original families and especially the 17 children of J.W. McBee.

The purpose of my article is this. Many people drive out in the gravel roads and drive by the McBee Chapel and never realize  the significant history of that building. Built originally by the McBee families in 1878, the original building burnt in 1938 and was replaced and continues today as a Methodist Church with some of the gggg grandchildren of the original settlers still as members. Unlike some of our country churches, the building continues to be used and has been kept in fairly good condition,with recent painting,concrete work, and central airconditioning being installed plus a ramp to make it easier for the aging congregation to access the building.

Recently I decided to do a web page on the Internet at and posted a picture of the McBee Chapel shot by Braymer Bee's own Ms. Pat Pryor but in the process of doing this research I learned that there is another McBee Chapel  built in 1841.  I was amazed to learn that the nephew of J.W. McBee, Vardry McBee had started that Chapel and thus when his relatives moved to rural Missouri they too started a Chapel. Reading some information on the internet I learned this:

"McBee Chapel
Designed by Vardry McBee's millwright, John Adams, this 1841 church is one of the few remaining octagonal churches in America. 1 mile south of SC Hwy.
291 on US 25, turn east on Fork Shoals Road in the town of Conestee. "  

When you call the number attached to the McBee Chapel article  it is answered by the Greenville County Historical Society. In speaking with Delos Cordeman,Secretary of the Annual Conference of the Methodist Church, I learned that the church  currently has 14 members. Those who would like to send a check in memory of family members may send them to Rev. Gareth D. Scott,1395 S. Church Street,Greenville,S.C. 29605, tel 864-233-3611 and mark them for the McBee Chapel.

This made me think that we, many of us descendents of the original McBee's, need to be thinking about how we preserve our Mo McBee Chapel  building for the future generations and people who will follow us in the future who may want to know more about their history.  The people who belong to the Church have done a good job preserving this building but we need to work to keep this building in the good shape it is. I would urge all who share my belief to send donations,whatever amount to The McBee Chapel Preservation Fund,c/o Mrs. Faye McBee, PO Box 57,Braymer, Missouri 64624.  For those who would like to learn more about the McBee History or to share artifacts,pictures,etc. please contact Dean Hughson,1812 Quail Point Court, Las Vegas, Nevada 89117, tel 702-360-5419, by email or visit his webpage at Http:// Dean plans to facilitate the donation of  a computer in the future that will be made available to those interested in genealogy to use in a suitable location in the Braymer area which can be used to help further the historical work of our community. I would like to thank McBee researchers like Bill Holder of Climax Springs and Janet Mercer and the late Virginia King McBee
who have made it easier for we novices to learn our history.We need to do the same thing for future generations. I have placed the McBee Chapel Cemetery online also to help others find grave information.

email me
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Visit RootsWeb - Get to the Roots
There is a fascinating story about some of the family who left Missouri and went to Oregon,with some of the kids becoming orphans on the way.
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