The Eberhart Cabin sits on the east side of the Buffalo Head Prairie Historical Park as a welcome to visit the park. In the 1970s the Dallas County Historical Society had discussed being able to obtain the log cabin and restore it. It was on the west edge of Moon Valley east of Windyville about one and one-half or two miles and north of what is now Moon Valley Road. The society did not have the land to be able to place the cabin on.
In 1977, Mrs. Helen McDowell donated a piece of land to which the cabin could be moved and a museum could be erected. In spring of 1978 the society was told the cabin was to be destroyed. It was in very sad shape at that time. Owners of the cabin were James and Leslie Kishler, who wanted to donate the cabin to the historical society, but it needed to be moved as soon as possible. Arrangements were made with Ed and Charles Woods House Movers to move the cabin, which was accomplished in a few weeks. It was placed at where it now stands. The move was from the cabin site to Windyville into Buffalo (route unknown), then through Buffalo on Locust Street to a country road that connected with Highway 65 by the Bison Camper Factory, and then the short distance to the permanent home. Repair work was begun by local Green Thumb workers.
Many tales have been told about the cabin’s history. It seems to have had a romantic history while in Moon Valley. Nothing can be verified as to the events that have been told of the history. One story states the school was started early before the area was Dallas County. That is incorrect, as can be shown by a number of records.
The beginning of the cabin remains a mystery. No one knows when it was built or by whom. David and Frances Lawson were the original owners, according to U.S. government land records. It was purchased by them in 1858. In 1871 they sold the property to John N. and Delilah Eberhart. It isn’t known who built the cabin, but in the 1970s, residents of the area stated it was over 100 years old then, so it might have been built by the Lawson family. As far as anyone can remember, it went by the name of Eberhart Cabin because of its being in the Eberhart Community, and school was held there at different times. A Mr. Eberhart was said to have donated the cabin for the school. This was probably John N. Eberhart.
John N. and Delilah Eberhart were in Dallas County by 1860. They were gone from the area by 1880. They went to Texas and then to Kitsap, Washington, where they lived the rest of their lives. The family lost a number of young children by 1860, but there is no record of those burials. John was not an original landowner in Dallas County. In 1867 he paid taxes on 240 acres of land five miles east of Buffalo near Highway 32. The 1860 census shows the family in Washington Township, and in 1870 they were in Benton Township. A present-day descendant of the the Eberhart family states that John N. Eberhart donated a school in a number of places the family lived.
David W. Babb was an early teacher at the log school and possibly the first teacher. His daughter Berniece Babb Sweaney might have taught in the old cabin, also. A new building was erected for the school. Sometime later that building burned, and school was again held in the cabin until another building was built. From that time on, the cabin was home to a number of people.
The following people were known to have lived in the cabin: Tom Moss family; Hela Bennett; G.D. Wilson; John and Bessie Franklin; Bob and Sadie McKee; Mr. and Mrs. Mark Evans; Hobart and Nellie Burton; Noah and Pearl Keith; Mr. and Mrs. Flanders; Ralph and Ann Poole; Lewis Morris family; Lillard and Minnie Rice; Lester and Luly Wise; and Oscar and Ressie Wise. The cabin was lived in as late as 1960, according to area residents.
Visitors are always welcome to visit the cabin when the park is open. The historical society would like to hear of anyone with history of the cabin.