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Local History 

Edwards Cabin, Wilson's Creek Battlefield

 Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield received a unique donation in 1973.  Found along the Old Wire Road near the town of Battlefield, a mid-nineteenth century cabin was given to the National Park Service by Mr. and Mrs. Roger Patterson.  Pictured here at the time of its donation, the cabin was transported to the battlefield and ultimately used to mark the location of Sterling Price’s headquarters, located near the base of “Bloody Hill.”  Price used the cabin of farmer William B. Edwards in 1861, but the original structure was not standing when the park was established one hundred years later.  Restoration work was finished on the cabin in 2003, appropriately marking this important location on the battlefield.   

“Cabin of 130 Year Old Logs to Add Authentic Touch at Wilson’s Creek,” Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, June 24, 1973.

"Logs hewn by early Greene County settlers about 130 years ago are to continue in service when an ancient cabin adds another historic touch to the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.  The cabin, now at the edge of the town of Battlefield on the Old Wire Road, was uncovered several months ago when an old frame house that was built around it was being razed.  The land was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Roger E. Patterson, who are preparing to build a home on it.

"The couple offered the log cabin to the National Park Service, which happily accepted it as an authentic relic of the time of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.  It will be moved near the home of Robert J. Schumerth, management assistant for the battlefield, and final plans for it then will be made. 

"It seems likely that later the structure will be restored and placed on the site of a house that stood on the battlefield, Aug. 10, 1861.  That was known as the “Edwards Cabin” was near the headquarters of Gen. Sterling Price.  The two cabins then were about two miles apart, both on the Old Wire Road, along which marched the menacing armies.  Indications are they were similar in appearance. Incomplete research indicates the recently discovered log cabin was built about 1850 and that the frame house which was over and around it was constructed about 1880.  There was a full basement under the house lined with hand cut limestone rocks.  There are wooden pegs in the old logs and square nails in the remainder of the frame which later surrounded it.

"Local historians have been much interested in the structure and have given great assistance in plans for its disposition.  Ed Bearss, historian for the National Park Service, viewed it last fall and immediately placed its age at between 1830 and 1850. 
Charles Sheppard, president of the Greene County Historical Society, and John K. Hulston, chairman of the Wilson’s Creek Battlefield Commission appointed by the state, arranged for part of the fund from the battle centennial observance to be made available as help for moving the buildings.  The fund of about $750 was left after expenses of the centennial of the battle were paid and it recently was placed in charge of the historical society for use at the battlefield. 
 
"Hulston expressed the opinion that when the log cabin is restored and placed at a meaningful site, it will be second in attraction only to the Old Ray House at the battlefield.  The Ray House is the only remaining building that was actually there at the time of the battle.  It also awaits restoration when funds are available, but is well preserved in almost its original state.  It is made of sawed lumber.

"The abstract of title of the land purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Patterson indicates it is part of an 80-acre tract bought for $1.25 an acre, May 26, 1845, by Elias Cannefax from the United States government.  It is thought likely the cabin was built shortly after that.  Following owners listed on the abstract are Joel Phillips and William B. Edwards.  Descendants of the Phillips family, however, believe that it was owned by Thomas Phillips at the time of the Civil War.  It is not know if Edwards was related to the owner of the “Edwards Cabin.”    
 "Three Phillips brothers -- Thomas, Nathan, and Columbus -- lived on farms along the Old Wire Road.  Mrs. Gola Fry, 606 West Cherokee, born in 1884, recalls that as a child she often visited with her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Phillips, and the house has been enlarged from the original log cabin at that time.

"Restoration of the cabin, like other projects at the battlefield, will await appropriation of money by Congress.  Funds have been authorized for the long delayed development, but appropriation of them was not made this year because priority was given to the 23 areas associated with the 'American Revolution Bicentennial Celebration of 1976.'"

The Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Foundation is hosting a sesquicentennial reenactment near the park August 12-14, 2011. Go to their website, www.wilsonscreek.com/ for more information.  Or view the new Virtual Museum at civilwarvirtualmuseum.org . 


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