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Ebenezer Christian Church

"The Fairfield Ledger"
February 2, 1871
Page 3, Column 5

Rev. W. H. PHILLIPS has been holding a series of meetings at Ebenezer Chapel, during the present month with great success. The church has been abundantly revived and many a prodigal has found peace in believing on Christ. The meeting is expected to continue for a number of days.

Brother PHILLIPS has been preaching to his present congregation for twenty-one years, during which time much good has been accomplished by his ministry. May the Lord bless both pastor and people.


"The Fairfield Ledger"
July 20, 1881
Page 3, Column 4

The Union Christian Conference will meet at the Philips church, Cedar township, on Thursday, August 24th, the meeting continuing over Sunday.


"The Fairfield Ledger"
Friday, July 13, 1973
Page 3

In Wooster Community --
Old Church Structure Razed

An old landmark in the Wooster Community located eight miles southeast of Fairfield is soon to disappear.

It is the former Ebenezer Christian Church building one-half mile east of old Cedar No. 6 rural school on land owned by Mr. and Mrs. Norman Baird.

Although it had not been used as a church for many years and had been deteriorating badly, it served as a link with the past and its presence and forlorn appearance brought back many memories, especially to older people in the area.

With the help of his two teenage sons, Randy and Ron, Baird has started to tear it down. In 1974 the spot will be in crops and only those memories will linger.

When Mrs. Baird was unable to locate church records, or a history of the old building, she enlisted the help of Mrs. Orville Prill and with articles taken from old issues of the Ledger and the Republican dating back to 1871, she came up with the following information about the church and its founders.

The church was organized 120 years ago March 12, 1853, by Elder William H. PHILLIPS. At that time he had just purchased the farm where the Baird family now lives and built the home.

PHILLIPS had a large family and was determined that his children and those of his neighbors should not run wild.

He organized the congregation and it held meetings in a barn until the original Ebenezer Chapel was erected on the PHILLIPS land.

The church grew rapidly and PHILLIPS served as its pastor for 21 years until his death in 1875.

A bit of history was made in 1863 when a funeral for Cyphret Talley was held in the little country church.

Talley was a southern sympathizer and was killed by a mob in Keokuk County. Feelings ran high. Gov. Samuel Kirkwood called out the State Militia and he himself accompanied the troops to Keokuk County.

The impending trouble made it impossible to hold a funeral near the scene, so arrangements were made to hold a memorial service at the small church 35 miles away.

The Ebenezer Church was rebuilt in 1897 at a cost of $600. That is the building that is now being razed.

In May, 1909, the church held its first Homecoming. It is believed to be the first of this type of meeting held in the county. Early clippings stated the meeting was held "in memory of the founders and the several generations of members who have succeeded the founders of the church."

Plans called for the meeting to be held in the maple grove around the church, but the cold winds drove all 200 people inside. The preacher at that time was the Rev. William BERDINE, remembered by many of today's older generation.

By 1935 the services were no longer being held at the church but Sunday School classes continued. One of the last services held at Ebenezer was a funeral conducted in April, 1935.

The property reverted back after one year to the landowner at that time who was E. E. LaBaugh. For years the building was used as a corn crib. When Norman Baird purchased the farm in 1962 he installed two large doors in the east end of the building and since then it has been used as a machine shed.

In September, 1912, the Ebenezer Ladies Aid was organized to help take care of church's debts. Several years ago the ladies changed their name to the Ebenezer Club.

They continue as an active group, meeting each month in a neighborhood home.

The club will hold its annual picnic in Chautauqua Park Sunday, July 15, at 6:30 p.m. All former members are invited to attend. If you are unable to attend the covered dish supper, come later and visit with the group.

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