Pleasant Hill is a rural community that is located three and one half miles Northwest of Linden, Texas, on FM 1399. The heart of the community is centered the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church and was organized in the early 1840’s by Reverends C.C. Clark, Charlie Love, Matt Ellis and W.H. Whiten. The first meeting place was a Brush Arbor. The first member was Pleasant Warren who was the namesake for the community, and Reverend Love was the first pastor. Pleasant Hill is on record as the oldest church in the Unity Baptist Association and the oldest Black church in the Linden, Texas area.
Over the years four buildings were constructed. The first was a Brush Arbor. The second was a box style structure with wide planks running up and down set off by a front porch. I was built by George Nelson and Quitman Warren on land donated by Mr. Quitman Warren. The location was slightly northwest of the present church near a small branch. The third was a large white frame building with two steeples, one which housed a large bell. The bell was toned to notify community members of a death in the community and rung on Sunday mornings to call for worship. It was build where the present church was located. While that building was being torn down for the construction of the present church, church services were conducted in the old school house.
The present church was built in 1973 and is a modern red brick building with white trim. The church displays a tall steeple, a front and side porch to welcome it to welcome members and guests. The old bell was not placed in the new steeple but was placed on a brick display base on the North ground of the church. In 1987, a large brick multipurpose building was built on the South side of the present church. It houses a modern kitchen and a large dining hall and meeting room. The following persons have served as pastors: Rev. Charlie Love, Rev. C.C. Clark, Rev Dan Sherman, Rev. Pareen, Rev. W.H. Whiten, Rev. Matt Ellis, Rev. J.W. Wakefield, Rev. Brannon, Rev. A.B. Johnson, Rev. John Williams, Rev R.A. Granger, Rev. A.P Coosey, Rev. V.R. Fisher Rev. E.B. Humphrey, Rev. Floyd Harris. Rev. Charles Black, Rev. W. M. Spense. Rev. G. W. Warren, Rev. F. R. Flint, Rev. A.M.C. Walker and Rev. Richard Stern who is presently serving as pastor.
The first wedding in each of the church buildings were: in each of the church buildings were: Mattie Horsley Warren to Livi Knight (in the box building) around the time of World War I, Ether Jewel Warrern to A.C. Blaylock in 1968 (frame building) and Edna Jewel Pruitt to Al Hardy ( new brick building). The ceremony took place before the building was totally completed. The church has used five different sites for baptizing. They were: in front of the church, at Uncle Quitman’s wash hole, between the wash hole and the church, about a hundred yards behind the church and inside the new church which was equipped with a baptistery.
There are two Pleasant Hill Cemeteries. The oldest one is located approximately one half mile behind the old Warren Spring School building which is on Highway 8 three and one half miles North of Linden, TX. The other cemetery is across from the church on FM 1399, three and one half miles Northwest of Linden, TX. Many of the headstones at the old cemetery are made from local rock and engraved by Quitman Warren using nails. The new cemetery on FM 1399 is surrounded by a chain link fence with an archway bearing the name Pleasant Hill Cemetery. Each row is marked and a directory is housed within the cemetery do loved ones may find those laid to rest.The community of Pleasant Hill was once self-supporting. In the early years, the main occupation was farming. People grew their own food, raised chickens, collected their own eggs, raised livestock such as cows, pigs, horses and mules. Milk was drank or churned into butter, horses and mules pulled wagons and plows. The main crop was sugar cane, which was used to make syrup. Cotton was also grown.
Business in Pleasant Hill included Syrup Mills, one by C. Charlie Allen and Imanuel Warren, behind the church and another one operated by Joe Warren behind his home. A sawmill near the church, a mattress center near the school building, a canning house between the school and the church which was operated by Mr. T.B. Briegman. Stores in the area were operated by Mr. Neri Warren, near the graveyard, one run by Mre. Ike Warren on CR 1240 and a store and service station run by E.J. Warren across from the school. Other business was run from homes. Today, the only remaining business is Jim’s Signs & Things located at James F. Woolfolk’s home.
The first school house was a two story building constructed by Rm. Knight. It was located in front of the church and later moved on poles pulled by Quitman Warren’s mules to its location on FM1933. Students in the building attended up to the 9th grade. To complete high school meant going out of town. Many years later a more modern Rosenwald school with two classrooms and kitchen was built. Students had to go Fairview High School which was south of Linden. This building still stands.
The Pleasant Hill community had a park with a baseball field and hosted summer recreation programs. Boy Scouts and the 4-H Club were popular in the community. Then there is the story of Bill Gray, a desperado with the famous Cullen Baker gang.
He, his men and their horses hid out in a large cave located west of Clora Warrnen’s farm which was North of Green Stephens farm. Bill Gray was killed near the hideout and was so bad that white citizens would not allow him to be buried in their cemetery. He was buried in the new Pleasant Hill cemetery. He was buried with his body laying North and South, rather than the normal East and West everyone else was buried.
In 1944 Quitman Warren, a prominent Pleasant Hill resident, went to Portland, OR in search of a better job. After finding work at the ESCO Ship yard he sent for one of his daughters. Quitman returned to Pleasant Hill after a few years. By that time many of his family members had relocated there. Many of those family members are there today.
Today Pleasant Hillers keep in touch by holding their community reunion every two years. This event is held in different cities with a Pleasant Hill Homecoming event in Pleasant Hill once every 6 years.