yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee


compiled by Marilyn Henry

History of Pleasant Hill Church
Archie Brooks
George William Beal
Kizer School
Dr. Lue Douglas
The First Black:

Black Servicemen in World War II
Church Leaders 1974
Church Calendar for 1974
Deacons, Mothers, Honorary Ushers


Pleasant Hill Baptist Church began in the 18th Century with roots in North Carolina. The church started out as a Brush Habor, but through hard work and sacrifices ended up in the present building we are in today.

Rev. Jeramiah Henderson of Nashville, Tennessee, the grandfather of Mrs. Annie Mae Hillard was the first Pastor.

Sometimes both Blacks and Whites would worship together. There were times at Pleasant Hill Church during revival, Whites would fill the church. They would get up and go outside to make room for the Black church members. There were also times when Black and White ministers would preach in the same church.

Rev. Thomas and Rev. Hayes set up the 3rd Sunday in each month as the regular meeting day. This continued until the meeting days were two Sundays per month. These Sundays were the 1st and 3rd in each month. Now we have service every Sunday.

The following have served as Pastors of Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church:

Rev. Thomas
Rev. Bledsoe
Rev. Davidson
Rev. Hunt
Rev. Hicks
Rev. Lacy
Rev. Randles
Rev. .Jordan Williams
Rev. L. R. Swiney
Rev. Bryant

and the present Pastor, Rev. Ivy Jamison. Through hard work, faith and determination the church has grown under the leadership of these Pastors.

Some of the early deacons and mothers of the church were: Jack Walker; Eff Poole; Joe Taylor; John Harmon; Archie Brooks: Ike Mayo; Jerry Mayo; Jessie Henry, Sr.; Ess Boswell; Buddie Mayo; Bill Lee; Hubert Kizer, George W. Beal, and others.

Mothers: Ann King; Vire Johnson; Vinnie Mayo; Judy Walker; Mary Brooks; Jane Beal; Carrie Kizer; Willie H. Lee; Annie Henry; Nancy Mackey, and others.

There have been and are others both living and deceased who have had a part in building and organizing our church. Even though, they are not mentioned here does not mean that they are not appreciated.

Even in years to come, it will take all of us working, trusting, and keeping the faith to keep our church going.

In times like these it is up to us as Christians to keep Gods presence, His word, and His teaching before our children. All things are possible through Christ Jesus.

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Archie Brooks was born into slavery to slave parents about 1855 and died in November of 1957 at the age of 102. His mother was from Africa and his father from Ireland. His mother came from North Carolina to Henderson County during slavery. She was chosen to live near the home of the Brooks family and work in the kitchen. While there four children were born, one of them was Archie Brooks.

Archie Brooks was born in a log house in a cornfield where the present First National Bank (1st Bank) is now located in Henderson County, Lexington, Tennessee.

The family lived fairly well while at the Brook's house but when the slaves were set free they began to fill the pangs of freemen.

The entire family on his mother's side moved into one house. The house being too small to house all of them, the children played out of doors in the winter and played around a log fire outside until time to come in to eat and to sleep.

Archie saw his mother go to work day after day for what ever she could get in order to feed her now 5 children. When he was 12 years old he decided that he was tired of seeing his mother work all day for scraps and the bundle of bones she would bring home on top of her head. So Archie Brooks hired out to work at the age of 12. His first hired work was done for the elder Pat McCall family.

When he married times were a wee bit better. His first bed was two poles placed in holes bored in logs in the side of the house, with one rail and a plank across the end. His mattress was of straw. He and his wife worked very hard at what ever they could do and purchased the present home place in the third district at about 25 cents per acre.

He dug the postholes for the first Pleasant Hill Baptist Church which at that time was a brush hobber. He served as a deacon of this church and as treasurer for 60 years or better. He also hauled logs for the first Pleasant Hill School.

He was a leading and outstanding Negro in the community and County. He was respected by both Negroes and Whites. He was a man of his word, dependable and paid his debts; thus, he was able to get help anytime he needed it from both races.

He was the father of nine children, one of which, Mrs. Willie H. Lee taught school. Mrs. Annie Henry and Mrs. Salley Bomer were land owners. At this date (1/24/95) Mrs. Willie Lee is the only living child and is 95 years old.

Some of this grandchildren are Jessie Henry "Sandy", Jr., Mary E. "Pinkie" Parker, Madgerine Jefferson, Archie W. Henry, Willie Lee, James M. Lee

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George W. Beal was born on September 2, 1891 near the Pleasant Hill Community where he attended school through the eighth grade. From there, he finished high school in Jackson, Tennessee at the North High School. Later, he worked his way through Lane College where he graduated. Mr. Beal taught school for a number of years. He was married to Clara West.

Mr. Beal struggled for his education. During his time the students walked to school. On several occasions he did not have any shoes to wear. He wore his mother's shoes and other times he wore one of his mother's shoes and one of his aunt's shoes. For lunch, he carried fried onions and cornbread in a dipper which had the handle broken off. The students constantly laughed at him, so during lunch time he would go outside and eat behind a tree to keep the students from seeing his lunch.

In spite of his obstacles, he was the only student to continue his education and graduate from college. He received his first Temporary Elementary License, No. 2511 on July 1, 1914 which was signed by S. H. Thompson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Two years later in July 1916, Samuel W. Sherril, State Superintendent of Public Instruction signed a second grade State Certificate, No. 3059. On August 9, 1926 he received his Permanent Elementary Certificate from the State of Tennessee Department of Education, No. 1568. This certificate was signed by P.L. Harued, Commissioner of Education and by Roy Myers, Supervisor of Certification. On July 15, 1940 he was assigned as teacher of Timberlake School and his contract, No 115 was signed by Ira C. Powers, County Superintendent. His teaching salary started at $45.00 and reached a total of $75.00 per month.

Most classes were held in the community church. Black citizens only attended school 5 months during the calendar year -- 3 months in the winter and 2 months in the summer. This time was allowed for chopping and picking cotton.

In spite of Mr. Beal's handicaps, he began teaching school at the age of 17. The name of the school was "Who-Would-Have-Thought-It". He also taught in Kizer Town. The county later built a school in Chesterfield, and the name of the school was "Walker School," built on Walker's land. He also taught in and out of season in the Timberlake Grove Community until he received his contract in 1940.

Near the 1920's he became principal of the Lexington Elementary School. This school was located in front of the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church. This school was destroyed by a storm. After this disaster, Mr. Beal and Prof. Vinson started a two year high school near the present Montgomery School. The name of the school was "Rosenwald." They taught there several years. Later, Prof. Bond set up a brick high school which became Montgomery High School. This school was for grades 1-12.

In 1924, Mr. Beal founded a school in Cedar Grove, Tennessee. The name of it was "Pritchard's School". In the last days of his teaching career he taught in Sardis, Tennesssee. This school was later closed because the Negroes in that area moved from Sardis.

Despite of the fact that Professor Beal taught off and on for several years, he taught for a total of 29 years. He was known as "Fessa Beal." His friends laugh at him but, he proved that "you can make it if you try". After teaching, he began working at the Lexington Depot and at the Jackson Depot. The pay was much better than that he received for teaching. He worked at the Depot until he retired.

He served as Master of the St. John's Lodge no. 43.

He was the father of 6 children: George Washington Beal, Oscar G. W. Beal, Earl Thomas Beal, Georgia Lou Beal, James Earl Deal, and Joe Murry Beal.

He died on January 14, 1960 at the age of 69.

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[Note: The following is a clipping from the Lexington Progress, November 15, 1995.]

Kizer School among first of county's black schools

A 1925 photo shows students of Kizer School, formerly located on Old Huntingdon Road near the Beech River Cemetery, which was at that time was called Kizer Town.

Kizer School, located on Old Huntingdon Road, in 1925. Pictured are (front, from left) Lonnel
Taylor, Totlo William, Vernon William, Virgel Taylor, (second row) L.H. Kizer, Velma
William, Leana Johnson, Martha Lou Ellis, Ramell Easley, Lucille Taylor, Willie Lee Easley,
(third row) Professor George William Real (JoAnn Beal's grandfather), Vernell Kizer
Raymond Johnson, Artie Mae Ellis, Sam Johnson, Ramell William, A.D. Hart, Earline Taylor,
Clyde William, Ray Taylor, (fourth row) Alice Taylor, Vernon William, Dera Easley, Webster
Easley, Roberta Pearson, Arbie Pearson, Vera (Sis) Easley, Manuel Easley, D.C. Easley. Photo
courtesy of JoAnn Beal & Mrs. Lottie Laster.

Professor George William Beal 1891-1960, was one of the early pioneers of education in Henderson County, beginning prior to the 1920s. He taught at four of the seven schools for African Americans. These schools were Coopers Grove, Kizer, Lexington Colored School, Park Meal, Pleasant Hill, Pritchard and Timberlake School, where he was principal in 1941. Six of these were rural schools and one was within the city. In time, people in the community expressed a desire for a new school. The community had to raise $5,000 before the board would grant the citizens the necessary funds to build what eventually became Montgomery High School, which originally housed grades one through eight. The citizens, doctors, lawyers and members of the business community of Lexington were asked to donate money for construction of the new school. Each teacher was asked to raise $60. Montgomery School was then built and served eight counties. In the early years, girls from outside the county were able to stay in a dormitory, while the. boys roomed out and then traveled home on weekends.

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Lue Douglas was a doctor, school teacher, and a businessman, whose interest in improving the life of his race will be long remembered. He is chiefly remembered for his efforts to improve the education, health and living conditions of those with whom he came in contact.

Douglas was born in Henderson County, in 1851. He worked hard as a child, going to school when he could. Sometimes he walked as much as eight miles one way to get to school. Of course when he got home he had his chores to do. In the midst of this struggle he was able to finish grade school.

When Douglas was about 20, he journeyed to Nashville where he attended college and medical school. After eight years of hard studies he was ready to return to Henderson County. He was now a Doctor and a schoolteacher.

Dr. Lue was married to Laura Douglas. He was the father of eleven children. He was able to acquire a farm of six hundred (600) acres. He had his own cotton gin, gristmill, sawmill, and for pasttime he played in the band.

The people on the Northern end of Henderson County (older ones) are still talking about Dr. Lue Douglas. He died in 1923 at the age of 72. He is the grandfather of Mrs. Leara Douglas Parker.

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CHURCH: Pleasant Hill Baptist Church

BUS DRIVER: Willard Buck [handwritten note; "Drove for Prof. Bond], Isaac Hall, Ed Douglas

BUS: J. C. Campbell (with cover on back of truck.)

BARBER: Chester Crutchfield, Wren Kizer, William "Tody" Johnson

BEAUTICIANS: Alice Pearson, Elva Shirley (Mrs. Tut), Helen Steele, Ora Cooper


WOMAN PRINCIPALS: Clara Mae Parham, Mary E. Parker, Marie Young

SECRETARY: Marilyn Henry


[handwritten] LHS VALEDICTORIAN: Deane Arnold

FUNERAL HOME: Nathaniel Parham, Sr.

MORTICIANS: Big A Stanford, Willard Buck, Wesley Westbrooks

DOCTORS: Lue Douglas, Hillard, Cannon

MID WIVES: Judy Harmon, Lila Mae Mackey

NURSES: Lila Mae Mackey, Lucille Teague Beal


BUSINESSES: Isaac Harmon [handwritten: "service station"], Arthur Cooper, Roy Harris, Gene Cathey


POLICE: Will Hem

UNIFORM POLICE: Reuben Buck, Clarence Cathey, John Logan Kizer, J. W. Kizer, Sr., Erlie B. Donnell

DEPUTY: Thomas Arnold, Aaron Campbell


CONCRETE CONTRACTOR: Leon Seats [handwritten "Clyde Williams"]

BLACKSMITH: Will Chambers, Reuben Buck

WELDER: Henry Clay

MECHANIC: Big A Stanford


RUN FOR CITY OFFICE: Nathaniel Parham

ALDERMAN: Ernest Ray Thomas




Henderson County

CARPENTERS: Eld. John Hays, Jessie Henry, Sr.

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March, 1945


"May God bless you and keep you, wherever you may be"

Ruben Buck
Ben Cecil Cathey
Clarence Cathey
Jerome P. Cooper
Geanie Douglass
Paul Doyle
Ranson Dickerson
Webster Easley
Marshall Easley
Lancaster Flakes
Issac Harmon
Mcall Howard
Noble Howard
Robert L. Hardge
Clint Harmon
Thomas H. Johnson
William Johnson
Terry Kizer
Edward Kirby
H. L. Kennedy
E. H. Kennedy
Charlie Kennedy
Dee Laster
Odell Parker
Jay Will Pearson
Herman Pearson
Robert Raspberry
D. J. Robertson
L. J. Small
Murry Timberlake
Jesse Taylor
Harold Trico
Edward Timberlake
Joe Henry Westbrook
Add Westbrook, Jr.
James E. Westbrook
Commodore Williams
James Williams
Herdiso Yarbro
O. C. Miller
Jack Harris
Odell Harris
James F. Wright

Cooper's Grove
Coolidge Ford

Millard Neeley

E. B. Collins
Essie P. Simpson
Arnathia N. Benson
James N. Bond

Holly Springs
Arthur Lee Greene
Raymond Flakes
Otis Greer
J. L. Flakes
J. B. Cooper

Harmon Grove
W. L. Arnold
Lank Arnold
C. H. Carter
R. D. Carter
Goan Boone
John Dickerson
Wardell Harmon
Melvin Burns
J. C. Hillard
R. D Hillard

Joyner's Grove
Larco Parker
Ama V. Parker
J. T. Cawthon
Edward Randles
Thomas Randles
Clyde Phelps
Claude Hodges
John H. Cawthon
Nathaniel Barham

Joe Ellis
L. H. Kizer
James Williams
John A. Parker
Charlie Bomer
Bruce Harmon

Maxwell Watson

Charles H. Hart
L. J. Hart
C. W. Pritchard

Holly Springs
Arthur Lee Greene
Raymond Flakes
Otis Greer
J. L. Flakes
J. B. Cooper

William Thomas Jones
Willie H. Long
Freddie Fisher, Jr.
William P. Arnold
Sam Phelps
Howard Culp
L. Fain Culp
B. D. Carver
Clarence R. Coffee

Park Meal
Edward Douglas
W. H. Douglas
A. G. Nesby
Odell McClerkin
Jessie Lee Pearson
Willie Bell White
J. L. Hart
Matthew McClerkin
Nathaniel Edwards
Joe L. Cogdell
Floyd Eugene Seats
Ivory Williams

Pleasant Hill
Relford Boswell
I. J. Mayo
Stewart Mayo
J. W. Kizer
Paul W. Mayo

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Superintendent, Hal Mayo
Asst. Supt., Joe M. Beal
Secretary, Joe W. Beal
Asst. Secretary, Mamie Mayo
Treasurer, I. J. Mayo

Adults, John Johnson
Asst. Adult Teacher, Raleigh Harmon
Senior Teacher, Vivian Johnson
Asst. Teacher, Emma Taylor
Intermediate Teacher, Martha Mackey
Primary Teacher, May K. Mayo

Senior Choir President, Leara Parker
Vice. President, Alma Mayo
Treasurer, Raleigh Harmon
Secretary, Marnella Mayo
Junior Choir President, Nathaniel Beal
Vice President, Jerry Johnson
Director, Georgia Stanford
Little Peoples Choir President, Beulah M. Prid__
Vice President, Mae K. Mayo

Church Secretary, Gracie A. Timberlake
Asst. Secretary, James Johnson
Church Treasurer, J. R. Mackey

Missionary Society President, Doris Harris

Senior Usher President, L. B. Harris
Vice President, Ivor Lee Quince
Secretary, Mary E. Parker
Treasurer, Dill Mayo

Junior Usher President, Lila Mackey
Vice President, Walter Beal
Secretary, Clara H. Beal
Treasurer, Velma Mayo
Director, Denise Mackey

Entertainment Committee, Regetta Quince, Joseph Parker

Program Chairman, Nelson Henry

Poor Table Treasurer, John B. Harmon

Sick Committee, Marnella Mayo, Pumpy Mayo

Food Committee, Lila Mackey, Hazel Parker, Birdie Beal

Lila Mae Mackey

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May 19, Homecoming, Raleigh Harmon, Chairman; Hazel Parker, Co-Chairman

June 16, Youth Day, Bennie Johnson, Mary E. Parker, Clarence Mayo

July 21, Mens Day, Archie Henry, Chairman; Hal Mayo, Co-Chairman

August 16, Choir Day, Leara Parker, Chairman; Alma Mayo, Co-Chairman

August 19-23, Revival

September 15, Ushers Day Sr. & Jr.

October 2, Womens Day, Birdie Beal, Chairman; Vivian Johnson, Co-Chairman

November 17, Pastors Birthday, Mary Bomar

December 15, Pastors Appreciation & Christmas Gift, Alpha Kizer, Chairman; Bessie Tole, Hazel Parker, Evagene Taylor, Lina Boswell

December 22, Bennie Johnson, Mary E. Parke_, Clarene Mayo & Mary Priddy

Christmas Tree, Pumpy Mayo

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[Note" "Memories" contained nine pages of photographs. I am making this web page from a xerox copy of a xerox copy and the photographs are generally too poor to scan. Four of the better quality or more interesting appear below--David]

Annie B. Henry, wife of the late Jessie Henry Sr., celebrated
her 93rd birthday on Monday, November 12. She has four children
Madgerine Henry Jefferson of Sommerville, Mary E. Parker, Archie W.
and Jessie Henry, Jr. of Lexington, fifteen grandchildren and eighteen
greatgrandchildren. She has one sister Willie H. Lee, also of Lexington.
[This is a newspaper clipping.]

Marnella Mayo

Football Team in the 1940s

1st Row: 51 Marshall Easley; 42 Lenzie Bomer; 27 George T. Beal
2nd Row: 12 Terry Kizer, 24 James Tomahawk Taylor, 29 Haywood Pearson;
32 Rudolph Taylor; Robert Taylor
3rd Row: 21 Thomas Randles; 68 Leon Pearson; 0 Tap[?] Westbrooks, A. L. Robinson;
48 Murray Pearson; 60 Ervin Bobby Johnson; 33 Roy West Jr.; 20 John Werthering

Not reproduced:

Page 1:
Edd John Mayo, Ike Mayo, Plez Mayo, Annie, Ada & Alpha Mayo
Leuie [?] Mackey
Patty & Raleigh Harmon

Page 2:
I. J. Mayo
Pleasant Hill Church before it was bricked
Addie Boswell
Services for Richard Harmon

Page 3:
Alpha Kizer
Alpha and Raleigh Mayo
Will Kizer
Annie Hamilton, mother of Alpha Kizer and Raleigh Harmon

Page 5:
Annie Henry, Archie Brooks
Gracie Timberlake, Mary E. Parker, Paul T. Parker, Willie H. Lee, Sally Bomer

Page 6:
Making Molasses (Jessie Henry Family) (4 photographs)

Page 7:
Madgerine Henry Jefferson
Annie & Jessie Henry
James T. Taylor, Annie Henry, Sandy Henry

Page 8:
John B. Harmon
Archie Henry
Quillie Parker
L. B. Harris

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(Elderly -- Living and Deceased)
Bro. James Priddy -- oldest living deacon
Bro. Curtis Hillard
Bro. William Fortney, Sr.
Bro. J. R. Mackey
Bro. L. B. Harris

(Elderly -- Living and Deceased)
Sis. Willie H. Lee -- oldest living member of the church
Sis. Lila Mae Mackey
Sis. Anna Mae Hillard
Sis. Dorothy Harris
Sis. Mable Forney

Bro. Herman McKinney
Bro. Billy Porter

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To the Program Committee, Rev. Jamison and members, thanks for all of your help. Your cooperation was greatly appreciated. Thanks to all of you for pictures, food and suggestions and words of encouragement.

Marilyn Henry

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