"The Oldest Village in Greene County"
Located 8 miles north of Springfield in southwest Missouri, Ebenezer was settled by the pioneering movement of the early 1800's. Most notably by the widow, Elizabeth Robberson of Tennessee and her 14 children. Although there were already settlers in the area upon their arrival, the Robberson's became the largest landowners, hence the namesakes of the township named Ebenezer for the scripture and were instrumental in the organization and establishment of the first Ebenezer Class. It is quite possible they introduced Methodism to the village by way of the circuit rider, James H. Slavens in 1831.
Happy New Year! Hoping everyone had a Merry Christmas and joyous holiday season! Many things are on the horizon for the new year for EHS! As you can see, we have made some visual changes to the website and hopefully made access to our Legacies more simplified. We are working on a schedule of upcoming Legacies for each month, fundraising events we are sure everyone will enjoy. The Headlee Cabin is stored and ready for the final phase of documentation so we may start preparing the timbers for the sawmill. Click here: GoFundMe to access our site if you would like to make a donation to help with the restoration.
We have just posted a new Legacy, Ebenezer, The City That Almost Was, by Marilyn Smith. This article was previously published in a regional publication, Journal of the Ozarks in their Spring 2014 issue. Marilyn is a Fair Grove native, board member of the Fair Grove Historical and Preservation Society and has written and published several stories and poetry about the Ozarks region.
As always to all who have assisted in helping the EHS' efforts, I thank you so very, very much.
Laura K Miltenberger
Ebenezer Historical Society
Ebenezer heritage is farming and hard work. Before the earliest European settlers came into southwest Missouri, the Kickapoo, Delaware and Osage Indians used to wander these hills and valleys. You can still find arrowheads and other relics of their existence here if you look closely enough. Beginning in the late 1700s Europeans began to explore the area west of the Mississippi and after the Louisiana Purchase (1803), European settlers slowly began to arrive in this area, and after statehood (1821) the inflow of settlers began to grow. That’s when this area began to thrive and grow and of course in large part, it was farmers that settled this area. It was predominantly the men and women who knew how to make a living from the land that settled our area. The early farmers of this area raised vegetables and grain crops such as wheat, oats, and corn, and much like today, livestock. Of course, one of the commonalities of immigrants and settlers and farmers is hard-work. They didn’t have grocery stores and insurance companies or an electric coop to help them survive, they were on their own and smarts and toughness and hard-work ensured they survived and thrived. Many of the farmers and others that settled this area were Christians, and Methodism came to southwest Missouri by way of circuit riders.
A circuit rider is a preacher that rides to a different church every Sunday on a rotational basis. Back then a church typically held Sunday School every Sunday and had worship services with a circuit rider preacher either monthly or sometimes even quarterly.
Throughout the country a church, school or meeting house was the cornerstone of every community. It was no different here at Ebenezer. In 1832, the meeting house was built, the fourth west of St. Louis. The meeting house was (built) "equidistant from two springs about 100-yards apart, and there a campground was established in 1836 and camp meetings were held there annually..."(1)
(1)Woodard, W.S., Annals of Methodism in Missouri, Columbia, Mo, E.W. Stephens, 1893