A long time ago away off in the mountains of Kentucky, a baby boy was born, and all the gods smiled when they saw the little child, for it was such a pleasing little fellow, and smiled back at them in such a pleasant way that its parents saw its name reflected in its face and so they gave him the word for a name and he was ever afterwards called Pleasant Blakely. The same year and in the same locality a little girl came to the Girdner family and she was called Nancy. This happened in 1808, nearly a century ago, and Pleasant Blakely and Nancy Girdner grew up together, fell in love in the old fashioned way and in 1831 were married. Three years later, having heard the report of faithful spies that far away towards the setting sun there was "an exceeding good land, a land flowing with milk and honey," they resolved to go and possess a part of it at least, and in 1834 they landed in what is now Daviess county. They were not overburdened with wealth. Their earthly possessions were transported upon the back of an old gray mare and of filthy lucre they possessed one shiny quarter. But the lack of money did not trouble them. They had the courage that comes to those who have good health, cheerful hearts and strong right arms and thus equipped, they were ready for the battle of life. They halted on a beautiful white oak ridge, east of Hurricane branch, and looked about them. The soil was perhaps not of the best quality, but here was wood and water, the two things indispensable to the pioneer. The land could be cleared and as for the rest, well they would risk it. Here they built them a cabin—built it themselves and daubed it with mud, covered it with clapboards, held in place by logs, and built a fireplace with a stick chimney, cu tout a couple of logs leaving a square hole for a door, put in a puncheon floor, and their little cabin was complete, and not a nail in the whole structure. In this small and inconvenient cabin they lived while land was being cleared, crops planted, and provision made
for the necessities of existence. A patch of corn for bread, a small vegetable garden and wild game from the forest supplied their plentiful, but frugal fare. It was a slow and toilsome undertaking to carve a home out of the wilderness, but pluck and perseverance finally won. A larger field was cleared and fenced, a double log house erected and other signs of prosperity began to appear around their home. Through all the years of toil and privation Pleasant Blakely retained the cheerfulness of his youth. Happy and carefree, with the stature and strength of a man and the innocent heart of a child, he whistled and sang as he worked, and at night he would take down his fiddle and bow and forget the toils of the day in the joy of drawing from its consonant chords something of the music that was in his soul. The country was filling up and when the new arrivals got over the first worry of getting settled, they began to look about them for some sort of social amusement, and here Ann Nancy, with her utilitarian ideas and commercial instinct, came into prominence. The people wanted to be amused and what better amusement could be had than a good old fashioned dance, and if they wanted to dance, where could a better place be found than their new double log house and there was Pleasant to fiddle for them, too. So it was. Aunt
Nancy allowed it to be understood that their house was at the disposal of the people, together with Pleasant's services as fiddler and a good supper, all for a reasonable consideration. The offer was readily accepted and the people came and danced and all had such a jolly time that they decided to make the dance at Blakely's a fixed feature in the sweet amenities of their social life. The Christmas dance at Blakely's came to be the social event of the season, and brought together all the young folks for miles around. Here our mothers and fathers danced and their children grew up and took their places, and so for more than a quarter of a century these merry dances were kept up. It was at these dances that Uncle Pleas was in his glory. The boys would bring a little brown jug and after Uncle Pleas had been introduced to it a few times, he would begin to warm up. He didn't care then whether Nancy made a dollar or a dime, he was going in for a good time and he wanted everybody to help.
Two large rooms would be cleared of furniture and the young fellows would choose their partners for the dance, a "set" forming in each room. While they were thus engaged, Uncle Pleas was tuning his fiddle. When all was ready he would take his station by the middle door where he acted as prompter and orchestra for both rooms. As the night wore on, Uncle Pleas would step out occasionally to see how his friend was getting along and each tune he returned his eyes would sparkle a little brighter, he would spit a little oftener and his laugh would have a merrier ring. And how he could laugh. It was the very abandonment of mirth and joy; and as you looked and listened you caught the merry contagion and laughed with him from pure sympathy. Then he would tune his fiddle a little higher and in answer to some youth for "somethin' quick and devilish," he would plunge into a "Hornpipe" or "The Devil's Dream." and the wild, wierd strains of that old violin would quicken the sluggish blood and send it bounding through the veins and cause every nerve to tingle with the joy of exhilaration. Fast and furious the dance went on, each dancer trying to outdo the others in fantastic steps, and when at last he Sent them sweating and panting to their seats, each felt that he had gotten his money's worth. But while Uncle Pleas was giving the young folks a
good time in the big house, Aunt Nancy was out in the kitchen taking care of the financial end of the function. She, too, gave the young people their money's worth in good substantial food, and she saw to it that she got the money. Someone asked later one night if she wasn't nearly worn out, and her reply was characteristic: "Well," said she, I am purty tolerable tired, but I believe I could run a mile yit ef there was a dollar at the end of it." And so these two lived their life, did their work as well as they could, and were kind. They gave the world more smiles than frowns, lifted some clouds and scattered some sunshine and then they died, he April 10th, 1894, and she
Nov. 23rd, 1901, leaving William, Charles and Michael, their only surviving children, still living in the same old
From - Memories by J F Jordin
Pleasant BLAKELY was born on 28 Sep 1808 in Knoxville, Knox, Tennessee. He died on 10 Apr 1894 in Jackson Twp., Daviess, Missouri. He was buried in Clear Creek Cemetery, Daviess, Missouri. He entered land in Daviess Co. in 1834 and spent the remainder of his life there.
Spouse: Nancy GIRDNER. This family came to Daviess Co. in 1834 and experienced the hardships of the Mormon War. Children were: Catherine BLAKELY, Louisiana BLAKELY, William Hanford BLAKELY, Michael Porter BLAKELY, Martha BLAKELY, Charles Madison BLAKELY, Nancy Alice BLAKELY.
From: Green Hills Pioneers
Nancy Girdner Blakely