The church committee of Pleasant Valley was to be duly appointed, or elected, by the citizens of Pleasant Valley. This appointed committee then superintended construction of the Arbor Church around 1873.
This building was used as a meeting place for the Baptist, Christian, Methodist Episcopal, and Cumberland Presbyterian church members. Thomas G. Cherry and D. W. Griffin were appointed to represent the Baptist.
The Antioch Baptist Church of Garland voted to establish a new church and eighteen members were given letters of dismissal in June of 1873. These eighteen members then organized the Antioch Baptist Church at Pleasant Valley.
Church Meeting Minutes: Antioch Church Meeting No. 65
The church met Saturday before the second Sabbath in June 1873 and after prayer by Bro. Glenn sat in conference.
1st Appointed Milton Whatley Moderator.
2nd Invited visiting brethren to seats with us.
3rd Gave an opportunity for the reception of members.
4th A charge was preferred against Bro. James Merrell for intoxication which was deferred until next meeting.
5th Granted letters of dismission for the purpose of organizing a New
Church at Pleasant Valley to the following brethren and sisters:
Thomas Raney, M. C. Raney, F. M. Raney, (three names illegible)
James Thomas, David Griffin, Thomas G. Cherry, John Merril, S. A.
Rennington, Mary E. Raney, Matilda A. Raney, Mary Whatley, Rachel
Bunch, Laurinda Thomas, Sarah Griffin, Permelid Robinson.
Attest, J. M. Wright, Clk. Adjourned. M. Whatley, Mod. Pro-tem
Early church records indicate that E. S. Haynes was responsible for most of the preaching. Many early-day Dallas County marriage records bare the name of E. S. Haynes “Minister”. Church member Thomas Raney was the father of Mark C. Raney. Mark Raney was the father of Harmon Raney. F. M. and Matilda Raney were the parents of John A. Raney. Rachel C. Bunch was living with the family of Thomas Thomas. Thomas Thomas was the father of John Kinchole Thomas. John Kinchole Thomas was the father of James Thomas, Fannie Thomas Ellis and Mary Elizabeth Thomas Wells.
The Pleasant Valley Arbor Church was disbanded in 1884. The building was moved in 1904 and served as Harmon Newman’s barn until sometime around 1935. by Jim Foster, 1998
FIRST PLEASANT VALLEY PREACHER
James M. Parker
James M. Parker was born October 1, 1801 in Shelby County, Kentucky. He came to Pleasant Valley in the early 1850’s and settled on a farm that consisted of wild prairie grass so thick that it would take a double yoke of oxen just to break it open.
James had married Anna Carnell while in Humphrey County, Tennessee. Anna was born July 27, 1798. James and Anna traveled first to Memphis, Tennessee where they crossed the mighty Mississippi. They then traveled over to Little Rock, Arkansas and finally to Pleasant Valley. James and Anna had ten children total. At least eight of those children accompanied their parents to Pleasant Valley.
James had been raised in the Methodist Episcopal church and was by this time a Methodist Preacher. His son Oliver, following in the footsteps of his dad, was also a Methodist preacher. Oliver Parker performed many area weddings including the one held on November 18, 1874 for Gus and Mary Ann Newman Poovey. Many early day members of the Pleasant Valley Methodist Episcopal church were descendants of Gus and Mary Ann Poovey.
Several of their guest were Peter Wallace, Violet Ann McCallum, Thomas Jackson and wife Sarah Compton McClain (grandparents of Jack McClain), as well as Langdon McCallum and his new bride Mollie Foote. Gus and Mary Ann Poovey were grandparents of Joe Poovey, Bea Elliott, and other P V members.
Since James M. Parker was the first known Methodist preacher at Pleasant Valley, he then is most likely responsible for giving the community its name. That story, according to Mae McCallum, goes like this, “In a little log school house, a crowd had gathered for Sunday service. After the service the preacher stepped outside and said, we must find a name for this place. As he viewed the beautiful surrounding scenery he remarked, this is a very pleasant valley.”
Oliver Parker also conducted the wedding ceremonies of W. W. Williams and Sarah E. Kirby; Taylor Wallace and Elizabeth Davis; James Morrison and Sarah Drake; Samuel Myers and Mary Ray; Wylie Wolford and Martha Coulson; J. C. Anderson and N. P. Myers; J. G. Todd and Laura Rives; Thomas Drake and Mollie Townsend; Joseph Erwin and Ruth Davis, as well as Bishop Compton and Lenora Hargrove.
James M. Parker made out his will on December 12, 1858, and died on June 12, 1859 at the age of 57. He was buried at the Old Decatur Cemetery which is now known as Murphy.
(Antioch Baptist became First Baptist Church of Garland)