Pleasant Hill, Sabine Parish, Louisiana

The above is the charter name of one of the most substantial of the small towns of Sabine parish. The original town of that name was across the boundary of DeSoto parish, but near the line of DeSoto and Sabine. It was settled somewhere about 1840, and one tradition is to the effect that the first settlers hailed from a certain Pleasant Valley, in Alabama, and revived old memories, as far as possible in their new surroundings, by naming their new home Pleasant Hill. It was here the noted battle of Pleasant Hill was fought during the Civil War. This was a bloody and strongly contested battle between the Confederates under General Dick Taylor and the Federals under General N. P. Banks. The Confederates, flushed with victory at Mansfield the previous day, were here confronted by Banks' army, reinforced and greatly strengthened by a division of hardened troops under the veteran general, A. J. Smith. The result was one of the sternest and bloodiest small battles of the Civil War. Not so very small, either, as Banks' army was supposed to number 40,000 men; and Taylor's army, though smaller, was somewhat in proportion to its opponent. One of the most stirring scenes of that battle, doubtless, was the charge of Tom Greene's Texas cavalry across the old race track field, their surprise and sudden repulse by Federal infantry concealed in the woods beyond; and the second and more determined charge of the same cavalry, then dismounted, over the same ground, then strewn with dead men and horses; which last desperate effort was successful, though with heavy loss, while their opponents paid for their temerity with the loss of half their commands. These events belong to a former generation, and we conclude reference to them with the following extract from a poem written in commemoration of one of the many gallant Louisianians who lost their lives among those then unpleasant hills, amid the forest flowers of that fateful spring:

"No sounds but sounds of peace arouse
The echoes of the forest now;
The vales are furrowed by the plow,
Upon the hills sleek cattle browse.
The dogwood still, each spring, appears
Clad as in spirit robes, with smiles
Of snowy radiance lights the aisles
Of pine, then drops its flowers like tears."

With the building of the Texas and Pacific railroad, in 1882, Pleasant Hill performed the unusual feat (for a town) of shifting its base and making Sabine, instead of DeSoto, its domicile from that time. Since moving to its new location it has enjoyed a steady and healthy growth. (The railroad station is called Sodus). While its population of less than 1,000 still makes it, strictly speaking, a Tillage instead of a town, it has several mercantile houses, a couple of banks, several nice churches, a promising high school, called, for courtesy, a college, recently installed in a new and magnificent brick college building; a cotton gin, and is surrounded by a good agricultural country that is being developed by some of the most progressive farmers in West Louisiana.

On the reorganization of Pleasant Hill in Sabine parish, its first mayor was H. S. Kennedy, now deceased; a citizen, by the way, who is worthy of mere than passing notice. The charter is dated February 28, 1893, when H. S. Kennedy was mayor, H. Youngblood, H. H. Kenndy, R. L. Armstrong, Jr., W. C. Davis and S. E. Galloway councilmen, and H. H. Parker, marshal. In 1894, S. E. Galloway was mayor, and H. L. Davis, R. L. Armstrong, Jr., J. M. Fuller, N. W. Parker, councilmen and H. H. Parker, marshal, J. M. Fuller was mayor in 1895 and W. B. Adkins in 1898. In 1904, George S. List was mayor and J. P. Edmondson, clerk. In 1906, J. J. Browne was mayor and G. W. Browne, clerk, W. B. Adkins is the present mayor, having served since 1909, Frank H. Tarver, clerk, and other members of the council are T. W. Hardy, G. F. Keene and A. A. Hammond. W. H. Bartlett is marshal.

The territory which furnishes trade for the merchants of Pleasant Hill embraces portions of Natchitoches, Sabine and DeSoto parishes and a large annual business is transacted.

The Bank of Pleasant Hill was organized in 1904, with a capital of $10,000. The directors are H. H. Kennedy, J. J. Browne, T. W. Hardee, P. M. Gaddis, S. Y. Jordan, J. W. Ramsey and W. B. Adkins. H. H. Kennedy is president and Frank H. Tarver, cashier. This bank has been very prosperous and besides paying good dividends to its stockholders, has earned and added to its resources a surplus of $11,000. It occupies a substantial brick building, and the equipment is fully in keeping with modern banking methods. The officers are .capable and courteous and are always anxious to serve their patrons with the accommodations customarily accorded by similar financial institutions. Frank H. Tarver, the popular cashier, is a competent business man. He is a native of Bienville parish, acquired his education in the schools of that parish and came to Pleasant Hill in 1897 to take his present position.

The Citizens' Bank of Pleasant Hill was organized about four years ago with a capital of $15,000, A, A. Hammond, a prominent and substantial business man, is president. The bank owns a neat brick building which, with the fixtures, is valued at $5,000. C, E, Smith is the efficient bookkeeper and acting cashier.

One of the largest mercantile establishments in the town is that of T. W. Hardee and P. M, Gaddis, the style of the firm being Hardee & Gaddis. They entered business in 1907. Mr. Hardee is a native of of Alabama, while Mr. Gaddis was born and reared in Sabine parish. Both are young men and acquired their education at the old Fort Jesup high school. They are wide-awake business men and as citizens are in line with every progressive movement in their town and parish.

S. V. Jordan conducts an up-to-date mercantile house, and enjoys a good trade. He was born and reared in the Pleasant Hill community. Captain J. T. Jordan, who served in the 12th Louisiana Infantry during the Civil War, was his father, and John Jordan, one of the first settlers of this section and who owned stores and land in DeSoto and Sabine parishes, was his grandfather. He was born December 23, 1866, and received his education at Old Pleasant Hill. For fourteen years he followed railroad work, spending several years as station agent in his home town, resigning that position about six years ago to enter the mercantile business. In 1906, Mr. Jordan married Miss Anna Davis, daughter of H. J. Davis, a pioneer settler in the community.

The Sodus Mercantile Co., Ltd., was organized in August, 1910. This corporation is composed of B. F. Ramsey, president; E. W. Lafitte, vice president, and J. A. Lafitte, All are young men. They were born and reared in DeSoto parish, where they acquired their education in the public schools and were engaged in agricultural pursuits until they began their present business. This firm carries an immense stock of general merchandise and by their courtesy and splendid business methods have built up a good trade.

The Mutual Mercantile Co., Ltd., has a large store and carries everything in general merchandise and does an immense business. This company began business in 1910, the corporation being composed of Dr. J. C. Armstrong, president; H. H. Kennedy, vice president, and F. H, Tarver. S. C. Glaspie, a competent business man, is the store manager. He was born and reared at Marthaville, where he attended the public schools, and acquired his knowledge of the mercantile business in the store of Robinson & Kennedy. He has efficient assistants in the Mutual Mercantile Co.'s store in the persons D. L. and T. L. Dykes, who are proud to claim Sabine parish as the place of their nativity.

J. M, Bridges, who is also interested in other enterprises, conducts a mercantile business in Pleasant Hill. T. A. Rains is the courteous and genial salesman for this store; he was born and reared in Sabine and his ancestors were among the pioneers of the parish.

Jehu Graham runs a mercantile business here which was started in 1904, Mr. Graham is also justice of the peace for his ward and during his life has taken a prominent part in the public affairs of the parish. He was born near Many, December 25, 1840 (George W. Graham being his father). The family moved to Arkansas in his early life, but Jehu Graham later removed to Rapides parish and finally returned to Sabine after the war and was engaged in farming until he embarked in his present business. He served several years as a member of the Police Jury and was president of that body when the present jail and court house were constructed.

Among the citizens who have taken an active part in the business life of the town, James B. Brown deserves mention. He has been identified with the lumber Indus try of this section for thirty years, was the promoter of the Roberts Brown Lumber Co., and is now interested in a mill in Webster parish. Mr. Brown has been also engaged in farming and mercantile pursuits. He was married in 1889 to Miss Lula Kennedy, and they have a pretty home and interesting family.

One of the two recognized high schools of Sabine parish is located at Pleasant Hill. The erection of a large modern school building has just been completed, which shows that the people are determined to keep awake in the matter of education. The faculty for 1912-13 was as follows: Prof, J. C. Whitescarver; principal; Miss Kathleen Moore, assistant; Miss Alice Petty, 6th and 7th grades; Miss Hattie Champion, 4th and 5th grades; Miss Verrie Ross, 2nd and 3rd grades; Miss Gertrude Waller, primary; Miss Margaret McGee, music and art. Prof. Whitescarver is an educator of splendid ability. He is a native of Missouri and a graduate of the University of Nebraska. He has been instructor in the schools of four states and at the Meridian University. The physicians of Pleasant Hill are Drs. Mumford and Armstrong.

Pleasant Hill Lodge No, 230 F. & A. M, was organized at Old Pleasant Hill after the war, and was moved to the new town in the '80s. The present officers are P. M. Gaddis, W. M.; L. T. Dykes, S. W.; I. W. Jennings, J. W.; Jehu Graham; treasurer; F. H. Tarver, secretary. The Texas and Pacific railroad maintains a local division at Pleasant Hill and the road does a large business at this point.

Among the prominent farmers of the vicinity:

A. D. Ashby
M. T. Bostick
S. M. Bostick
F. P. Cobbs
J. A. Cranford
J. J. Fike
Henry Free
C. J. Gaddis
J. J. Grantham
Will Grantham
L. A. Horn
Robert James
James McFerren
L. S. McLeroy
Dan Phillips
J. C. Phillips
T. S. Ponder
Isaac Rains
D. E. Stephens

Many farmers now have the convenience of free rural mail delivery.

Sabine Parish | AHGP Louisiana

Source: History of Sabine Parish, Louisiana, by John G. Belisle, Sabine Banner Press, 1913.

 

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