Pleasant Valley (Scott County)
Pleasant Valley is an unincorporated community in eastern Scott County located along Highway 80. The community was established east of Waldron (Scott County) along the Poteau River. The agricultural industry has contributed to the economy and way of life in Pleasant Valley.
Prior to European exploration, the area surrounding Pleasant Valley was a wilderness. Several species of wildlife that no longer inhabit the area, such as elk and buffalo, were present throughout the region. Numerous archaeological sites and burial mounds are located along the banks of prominent waterways such as the Poteau River. Archaeological findings have provided evidence of early inhabitants dating to the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Further archaeological evidence has indicated that the people of the Caddo tribe later inhabited the area.
During the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, French hunters and tradesmen traveled west from the Arkansas Post, exploring portions of western Arkansas. These Frenchmen often traversed rivers and streams throughout the region. Several rivers that flow through Scott County were likely named by these explorers, including the Petit Jean, Poteau, and Fourche La Fave. It is probable that the explorers traveled along the Poteau River near present-day Pleasant Valley.
Settlers began arriving in the area now known as Pleasant Valley during the late 1830s and early 1840s. The area was settled throughout the early twentieth century.
Men called to fight in the war served with both the Confederacy and Union. The women, children, and elderly were left to look after family homes and farms. Instances of bushwhacking occurred in the area during the Civil War.
With an influx of people into the area, Pilot Prairie Cemetery was established circa 1864. The Pilot Prairie Cumberland Presbyterian Church was founded in 1869. Mount Pleasant Cemetery was established north of Pleasant Valley circa 1873. The Mount Pleasant Methodist Church was constructed in 1891 next to the cemetery. The original church still stands in the twenty-first century and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In May 1882, the Scott County Courthouse burned, thus destroying all records that defined the boundaries of the various school districts that had been established throughout the county. In August, the county court reestablished the boundaries of the fifty-six school districts active in the county, including Pleasant Valley School District (Number 47). The school district was also known as Far’s Chapel, Blacks School, and Fairs Chapel. The name Far’s Chapel was given to the school district by the compiler. The name also appeared on the Waldron Quadrangle, surveyed in 1937–1939. The name Blacks School came from Lewis C. Black, who made the original entry on the land in 1882. Black was named one of the school directors when Enterprise School District (Number 48) consolidated with Blacks School. Later, the name Fairs Chapel was associated with the school because E. F. Fair bought the land that the school was located on in 1888. The school was called Pleasant Valley by the early twentieth century. The exact origin of the name is unknown, though it is likely associated with Mount Pleasant just north of the area.
A second church was built in Pleasant Valley sometime in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries and was named Fairs Chapel Methodist Church in conjunction with the school.
The Pleasant Valley School District was consolidated with Waldron sometime between 1930 and 1940. Sometime after World War II, the Fairs Chapel Methodist Church congregation was disbanded. The church was later torn down.
The Pilot Prairies Presbyterian Church is still active in the twenty-first century, though a newer church building is in use. The Mount Pleasant Methodist congregation is also active. Agriculture continues to be important in the area, mostly in the form of cattle and chicken farms.
For additional information:
Cate, Michael. History of Scott County, Arkansas. Dallas, TX: Curtis Media Corporation, 1991.
Echoes: The Scott County Historical and Genealogical Society Quarterly. Waldron, AR: Scott County Historical and Genealogical Society (1986–).
Goodner, Charles. Scott County in Retrospect. Mansfield, AR: Frank Boyd, 1976.
Goodner, Norman. A History of Scott County, Arkansas. Siloam Springs, AR: Bar D Press, 1941.
McCutcheon, Henry Grady. History of Scott County, Arkansas. Little Rock: H. G. Pugh and Company, 1922.
Richardson Preservation Consulting
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