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1874: Gifts for a faithful minister, E.B. Challenner

In keeping with the spirit of Christmas, let's go back in time 140 years to the basement of Hannibal's Christian Church. The congregation, in a tribute to their preacher, Elder E.B. Challenner, surprised him with a bevy of gifts, "intended to provide bounteously" for his household.

The Hannibal Clipper reported on the occasion, which took place on Christmas evening.

"About 8 o’clock a committee went to the residence of Eld. E.B. Challenner, and informed him that his presence at the church was wanted just then. Donning his hat and coat he accompanied the committee to the church, where he was received and escorted to the table, when W.O. Bashore, Esq., on behalf of the members and friends made the presentation in a short, impromptu speech suited to the occasion.

"Mr. Challenner was taken wholly by surprise, having received no previous intimation whatever that any movement of this kind was on foot. He thanked them for the kindness which had thus been manifested for him; and assured them that while he prized the gifts for their intruinsic worth, the spirit of Christian love and friendship thus displayed was far more highly prized, and would be a source of joy and comfort to him while he lived."

The articles donated consisted of baskets of apples, potatoes, sacks of flour and meal, canned fruits, groceries, cabbages, preserves, jellies, butter, set of knives and forks, pair of splendid blankets, dress goods, a fifty dollar suit of clothes, and a sum of money.

Data gathered from and FindAGrave:

Elijah B. Challenner was born in Virginia circa 1833 and died in 1896. He is buried in Taylor, Texas. He and his wife, Clarinda Eusebia, had four children,

Annie Challenner

Clarence Challenner

Lulie Challenner

James Allen Challenner 1872-1954

The inscription

Purple Bells

on Rev. Challenner's grave is as follows: He was a faithful minister of the Gospel.

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