yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee

I REMEMBER (Pleasant Exchange)

H. J. Bolen

Henderson County Times
May 7, 1980

I wish to acknowledge the note of appreciation received from Ruth Bobbltt French.

My great-great grandfather, Sion Carrington, found the town of Pleasant Exchange, on the northern end of Henderson County, a thriving town when he came there from North Carolina in 1830. My great-grandfather, Reeves Bolen, followed him in 1836, and Pleasant Exchange became his post office throughout his entire life. Then when my grandfather, John Bolen, returned to Tennessee with his wife and two children (one of whom was my father), he occupied a house in the area of what had been known to him as Pleasant Exchange. It was from this location that my father, William Reeves Bolen, started to school at what was known as Star College, and was located in what became known as Old Wildersvifle. By this time Pleasant Exchange was no more, and of it came two other communities into existence, Wildersville, a mile and a half south, and Farmville, about three miles north. It was in 1870 that my grandfather returned with his family from Union County, Illinois, and with the coming along of my father. William Reeves Bolin, together with the others named, gave a family identity with old Pleasant Exchange for the entire forty years of its history. In addition, Jim Fowlkes, father of Dave Fowlkes, whom many readers may remember, and who was the grandson of Dave Fowlkes. who said he was present at a horse-racing event at old Pleasant Exchange in 1837, and heard Demps Cain challenge reeves Bolen to a fight just before the start of the races. The elder Fowlkes related that when he spied Bolen, he stated that be had learned that Bolen was the "champ" back in North Carolina where he came from, and that two champions could not exist at the same place. When Bolen did not respond to his challenge, but said nothing, Cain promised that if Bolen whipped him he would leave the next day for Texas and would never return. It was then Bolen walked over to him, grabbed him, picked Cain up and threw him over his head and to the ground, begin beating him good fashion and pulling his hair, when Cain begged to be let up. True to his word, Cain left the next day for Texas and was never again the terror of Pleasant Exchange. Jim Fowlkes always enjoyed telling this story, stating that before the fight with Cain, Bolen was hardly known, having come to Tennessee by horseback a year before, and married a year later Duriney Carrington. Sion Carrington's daughter, and who always received his mail at the Pleasant Exchange, Tennessee post office.

  Jim Fowlkes told of two famous visitors to Pleasant Exchange; namely, Andrew Jackson and David Crockett, when both showed up for horse-racing events. Pleasant Exchange started as a community center about 1819, with the race track being built about 1825. I recall the right of way of the track in my own lifetime, and the betting booth was moved to the Farmvile track about 1850, according many old timers.

Pleasant Exchange could boast of the first brick schoolhouse in the county, two saddlries, two saloons, a brick kiln, and two general stores. There was much agitation for building the courthouse here, but the more central location at Lexington was finally decided upon. The location of the town of Pleasant Exchange, as explained to me many times by-my-father, as told to him by his father, and as told to my grandfather by his father, who lived within the service of the Pleasant Exchange post office during his entire life after coming to Tennessee, might be described as follows: The location began on the sloping hillside about a half mile from the old river bed, and followed an upland ridge to a fordable road about a half mile north. The race track started just east and south of the old road crossing and ran in a northwesterly direction along a dry ridge that covered a little more than a mile. I have walked the distance many times before it was completely overgrown.

Pleasant Exchange got its name in a. most unusual way. It is said that a St.: Louis merchant and a Pleasant Ex change merchant had just completed the sale and purchase of a large stock of merchandise, after Which the St. Louis merchant exclaimed that the deal between them had been a "pleasant exchange," and thus the name of the new town in Henderson County, Tennessee.

In plowing the furrows for a new civilization, we must remember there had to be many struggles to endure and achieve. In all of their pioneering efforts they must have felt the heartbeats on the great ocean of life that must be spanned by mankind if progress ie ever to be achieved.

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