Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Very little is known about the Pleasant Valley Baptist Church; it was in existence but for only 30 years or so.

The first reference to the assembly appeared in the March 1875 records of the Line Creek Baptist Church: "Granted request from the Buffalo Church to send her official aid for the purpose of ordaining deacons at their next meeting." The last known reference is in 1895 when the favor is returned -- newly-formed Price Valley Baptist Church asked Pleasant Valley and Blue Springs for help in ordaining their deacons.

In 1875 the church made its first appearance in the records of the Rockcastle Baptist Association. That year the church is listed with 15 members and the messengers it sent to the Association meeting were George W. Decker, J. Hammock, and Harvey Taylor. The pastor was J.B. Abbott, a circuit preacher who lived at Woodstock.

It appears Pleasant Valley was organized by residents near Buffalo probably so they would have a church closer to their homes. Ingram and Elizabeth Renner and William and Rebecca Shiplet were known former members at Line Creek who lived near Buffalo. In 1874 and 1875, respectively, both families were dismissed by letter from Line Creek and show up in subsequent Pleasant Valley records.

From an 1878 Nichols heir's deed, we know at that time there was both a church and school in the general area of today's Buffalo Baptist Church. The school was located where the church is today. Pleasant Valley Baptist Church was most likely located across the road, adjacent to the Old Buffalo Church Cemetery.

At the time of its formation, the land where the church was built was owned by Margaret Claunch Nichols Ferrell, the widow of Thomas Nichols. Thomas had owned the land since 1838; it was once part of land claimed by Jacob Renner Sr. In 1878 the land came into the possession of Ingram Renner.

The church had a troubled history, with erratic membership and a shortage of preaching. For example, in 1883 the church was one of those reported with a "Sunday School in flourishing condition." However, by 1886 this note appeared: "Pleasant Valley church failed to send any letter or messenger to our last annual meeting, so we employed Elder J.C. Carmical to go there and hold a meeting of eleven days which resulted in 19 additions, 15 by experience and baptism, 4 by letter and the church greatly revived. Collected there $4.25 and we paid $6.75--amount, $11.00."

The largest membership number, 91, was also reported in 1886, but by 1891 it was down to 46.

Ingram Renner, along with William Shiplet, George W. Decker, and Francis B. Linville appear to have been the church's leaders. But in 1882 William died after falling from his barn. George passed away in 1896. By 1900 Francis had moved from the area. And Ingram, who had been one of the church's founders and served as clerk for more than 20 years, died in 1910. (Ingram and George are buried in the Old Buffalo Church Cemetery; George's stone is the oldest in the cemetery, although there are many unmarked graves.)

These losses, coupled with the lack of reliable preachers and a general deterioration of economic and social conditions in the area, most likely accounts for the demise of the congregation.

Below are the individuals we know were members at Pleasant Valley. An asterick indicates the person was also a member of Line Creek Baptist Church at some point.

Decker, Fountain
Decker, George W
Decker, Jonathan*
Hammock, J
Harper, Martha
Harper, William*
Linville, Francis B
Nichols, James
Renner, Ingram*
Shiplet, William*
Smith, G A
Smith, J H
Smith, W R
Taylor, Arthur*
Taylor, Harvey*
Taylor, Polly