Born to William J. and Mary Jane (Buchanan) Walker on 1 January 1851 in Kentucky, Kate Walker Beall became a medical doctor before the turn of the twentieth century and a mother to daughters who became a physician and a lawyer. Kate married Peter Ray Beall in Hickman County, Kentucky, on 28 May 1873. They had their first child, a son, Burnes Walker, in 1874 in Kentucky. The family lived for some time in Texas, where Peter had family and where their daughter Mary Elliott was born in 1876. They were in St. Louis by 1880 living on Adams Street.

Mary Elliott Beall became a practicing physician before her mother, graduating from the Homeopathic Medical College of Missouri in 1895. Kate attended the same school, graduating in 1899. Upon graduation, Kate was licensed to practice medicine in Missouri and Illinois; in 1914, she received a license to practice in Colorado.

The 1900 federal census reveals that Peter Beall was a traveling salesman selling gloves. He and Kate lived at 5735 Bartmer Avenue with five children at home, and both Kate and Mary at work as doctors. Burnes was selling gloves with his father. Three daughters, all born in Missouri, were also at home: Maggie Ray, age sixteen; Letitia, age thirteen; and Katherine, age eleven.

Kate and her daughter Mary were practicing together in 1905 at an office in the family home, when Maggie Ray, who went by her middle name, graduated from the Benton College of Law, “second in a class of 37” and with an average of 94 percent. Ray intended to take up the practice of law “at once.” Newspaper articles reveal that Kate was active at that time in efforts to curb tuberculosis within the urban areas of St. Louis and she was a speaker at a talk on “summer complaints,” an old term for cholera infantum or infant diarrhea.

In 1910, the family was in University City at the luxurious Park Hotel, 6600 Washington Avenue. Burnes was no longer at home, but the girls were; Kate and daughter Mary were practicing medicine and daughter Ray was a lawyer for the publishing company run by E. G. Lewis, founder of University City. When Ray married Frederick Forrest Berry in April 1911, it was in Lewis’s home with Lewis officiating!

Kate was widowed in 1913 and her husband Peter was laid to rest in Texas. By 1920, she was living in Denver, Colorado, in a boarding house and still practicing medicine.

Mary Elliott Beall moved to California, where she was on staff at the Southern California State Hospital in Patton, San Bernardino County, and Kate went west to join her. Kate died in Patton of cancer in her right arm on 4 March 1929. She and Mary, who died in 1955, are buried together in the Mountain View Cemetery in San Bernardino.

(Sources include the federal census, newspaper articles, books, and Find a Grave)

Written by Ilene Kanfer Murray
December 2019
© 2020, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 25-Feb-2020 20:37