Samuel Gale Ebling was born on December 11, 1893, in Bellefontaine, Ohio. He attended Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, and later spent part of his undergraduate years at the Universite de Nancy, France. He received his AB degree in 1920 from George Washington University. In 1922, he attended the Centro de Estudios Historicos at Madrid.
Ebling's association with the Federal government began in 1916 when he was a clerk with the Department of Agriculture and the War Trade Board. He spent the year 1918-1919 overseas in the U.S. Army. On his return, Ebling become a clerk at the Department of State (1919-1921). On May 23, 1921, he was appointed as clerk at the American consulate in Marseilles, followed by postings to various American consulates in Europe over the next three years.
On July 1, 1924, Ebling became a Foreign Service officer, remaining with the State Department until retirement in 1950. Consular appointments included Ceylon, Penang, Germany, Nicaragua, Africa, Iran, England and Wales.