Perhaps one doesn’t hear the name Groblebe around Eureka Springs as often as years ago, but they’re an old local family. They inhabited these hills and hollows before the town did.
Ed Groblebe was born about the same time as Eureka Springs and spent his professional career as an engineer with the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad. Growing up, he worked around sawmills, loading and unloading railroad ties and lumber onto wagons. This kind of work either cripples you or makes you strong. I understand that he was like most Groblebe men – tall and easy going with a ready grin.
When Ed Groblebe was about 17, he was driving a lumber wagon pulled by two mules up Main Street in Eureka Springs. When he reached the bottom of Planer Hill, a man jumped out and grabbed the reins of one of the mules and yelled, “I’m going to kick you to pieces.” Or maybe what he said wasn’t quite that polite. Ed Groblebe knew him and had no reason to doubt that he wouldn’t or couldn’t do what he said. The man was known to be a bully and downright mean. I’ll not repeat his name in case you’re kin: I’m not looking for trouble.
Fearing for his life, Ed Groblebe jumped down off the wagon and, as he landed, he drove his fist into the jaw of the bully as hard as he could. The man promptly fell to the ground as if shot. Stunned by the turn of events, Ed Groblebe felt sure he’d just committed murder. He climbed back on the wagon and left town as fast as possible. He did not show his face in Eureka Springs for a full month.
When he finally returned, the law wasn’t waiting to arrest him for murder. In fact, his adversary wasn’t even dead. The only thing Ed Groblebe ever heard about the incident was that when the local bully was questioned by the attending doctor, he claimed that he’d been kicked by a mule.