In 1912, the OZARK HOLIINESS ASSOCIATION met for the founding of a holiness community. A scouting committee came upon a site which suited well their purpose. J. M. O'Brian, who later became the head of the school, said, "This is the place." And so it was that OZARK HOLINESS ACADEMY came into being.
It had been the Bill Huffman farm, consisting of 360 acres. This was surveyed and platted into lots and blocks to be sold to families who were interested in moving here to place their children in the school. Others might set up businesses. Several acres were designed for the school campus and campmeeting grounds. Their idea of a city seems to have failed, but some businesses were set up.
The school operated several years. There was a strong emphasis on holiness as a second work of grace, but after several years, the school fell upon hard times financially and closed. It seems that the Nazarene people re-opened it for a while, but they, too, had to close.
It was then that T. F. Evans, who lived nearby and was a member of the original board, felt a burden to reopen the school. The old board turned it over to him.
In 1936, Bro. Evans opened the Mt. Zion Bible School with grades 1-12, plus 2-year college with a thrust for training ministers, teachers, and/or other Christian workers.
Bro. Evans sold his cows and invested in the school. He served as president, teacher, boys' monitor, etc., while his wife Clara served as cook and girls' matron. A few others helped them, and Mt. Zion Bible School stood as a monument of sacrificial love, and so it has continued until now.
The spirit of sacrifice has kept us going. When we lose it, Mt. Zion Bible School will have lost her soul.
In 1951, Bro. Evans stepped aside and turned the operation totally to the board. We have tried to continue operation in the same vein. However, at times the board has had to barrow, but not excessively.
Our roots are deep. For instance, August Ward Murray and his son, Robert L. Murray, were on the board in 1912. This spring 2016, we are graduating a sixth generation Murray involved in MZBS. Congratulations, Calli! Cooper is following along just a few years behind.
Another family with close ties to MZBS is that of G. A. and Laurel Clouse. George was a student here, and all of his children and several of his grandchildren graduated from MZBS. Now we have one of his great grandsons, Ronnie Joe Clouse, graduating from kindergarten.
Our other kindergarten graduate, Caston Elwood, is a great, great, great grandson of the E. H. Hamby, long-time friend of Mt. Zion. Our eighth grade graduate is Keeton Freeman. He is first generation MZ graduate, but his family is deeply involved In the school.
Family loyalty to MZBS has helped and strengthened our school.
Our alumni Association has lost within the last few weeks, Esther Ruth Collins, who came here as a girl, then gave us sixty years of teaching, by precept and example of what a Christian should be. Then Gerald Pugh, a great motivator and friend of MZBS, left us just this month. He was always a loyal fan of MZBS.
Mt. Zion's ongoing depends on us, but some of us have neither the strength nor the means to carry the burden as in the past. The future of Mt. Zion rests upon you younger ones.
May God bless you and make you a blessing!
LONG LIVE MT. ZION AS A HERITAGE OF HOLINESS TO OUR POSTERITY!