This interview from Phena Fincher with Mrs. Leara Cantley Martindale was taken on October 16, 1984 about the Pleasant Ridge Methodist Church.
Phena: Do you know, Mrs. Cantley, when the Pleasant Ridge Church was started?
Leara: No, I can't remember that far back. I can remember when I was just a little child going to Pleasant Ridge Church, and how the elder people would bring the children and a quilt and make a pallet. You can't remember anything like that.
Phena: Yes ma'am.
Leara: Oh you can?
Phena: I can remember people telling about it.
Leara: And they'd leave the children on the pallet.
Phena: Did you ever lie on the pallet?
Leara: No. But I had, at that time, my brother and sister had come along and I guess they laid on the pallet. I just can't tell you much about it. My mind is bad and I can see the first 94 and my 95th birthday is 'round the corner.
Phena: My goodness, that's wonderful! And you can remember going there when you were a little girl.
Leara: I can remember it well. And you know, it was back of the Oscar Johnson place, and I don't remember what year it was moved where it is now, but Mr.
Phena: Yes ma'am, 'cause I grew up in the country.
Leara: Well now, in most of the country churches, I wonder if it isn't that way now?
Phena: Most of them have it 2 Sundays a month now.
Leara: Now Moscow and Mt. Moriah are the two oldest churches in Nevada Co., aren't they?
Phena: I don't know.
Leara: If I'm not mistaken they are. Now probably some of the people around Mt. Moriah could tell you about that, but listen, Mt. Moriah is on the road from Camden to Washington. Have you ever heard anybody speak about that? It was the two main places, and they all had to go horseback. Moscow and Mt. Moriah, I think, may be the two oldest churches in Nevada Co. Now I used to hear people talking about that, especially Moscow. They had a schoolhouse over there. I don't know whether they used the church...
Phena: Was that the one called Thomasville school?
Leara: This was where Mama went to school, and I imagine it was Paine's schoolhouse, because I believe he's the only teacher I ever heard Mama speak of, and then there was something else about that, it's not clear in my mind, but they had church or school somewhere else then. Now, you're talking about Pleasant Ridge Church, and I don't remember what year it was they moved it from its homeplace, I'll just put it that way, over to the Pleasant Ridge Cemetery.
Phena: Do you know when they stopped having services there? What year?
Leara: It hasn't been many years, and I reckon it has been quite a few years, too. I don't know just what year it was.
Phena: Weren't you one of the last ones to keep going?
Leara: Yes. We would go there to church, but my membership was up here. I'm a Baptist. But now, we all don't believe alike, we don't see alike, and I don't fight any true church.
Phena: But we're all Christians.
Leara: That's right and we all are trying to get to the same place. Now that's - you have a right to your belief. You never see 2 people that can see things alike.
Phena: Can you remember when they had lots of people at Pleasant Ridge?
Leara: When it was over at the old place, back of Johnson's house, we had good crowds, and we had lots of shouting. I can remember my Daddy, one time, the only time I heard him shout, I believe, you know they used to have testifying meetings, testimony meetings. They'd have testimony meetings and I can remember my Poppa getting happy one day, and my, you talk about how he hollered, and there was quite a few of them, we had quite a few that would shout at different times. One woman especially. You knew Jim Mann? You knew his mother? You talk about a shouter, she was one of 'em.
Phena: Did they have what they called the mourner's bench?
Leara: Yes, they had the mourner's bench. I can remember that.
Phena: Did you ever go to a baptizing?
Leara: They sprinkled. I don't remember about immersion after they quit having church there. I come to the Baptist Church and I can remember them having - you knew Hazel and Dub Woosley?
Phena: Yes ma'am.
Leara: Well now Hazel, they were living on my place south of
Phena: That's about all you see, but you could be immersed. It's you choice.
Leara: That's the way it was then, and that was her choice. I believe in that immersion. I believe that's the way Christ - the Bible speaks of Him coming out of the water. But I don't know whether they have church there - I don't suppose they do, because there's not anybody in that settlement and I don't know whether they still have church at Moscow or not.
Phena: I don't much think they do, but I'm not sure.
Leara: But I think Moscow and Mt. Moriah was the two oldest churches. Are there any real elderly people living around Lanburg now?
Phena: No ma'am.
Leara: I'm gonna tell you, there's not too many of 'em anywhere.
Phena: Can you remember any other stories that you've heard about that church?
Leara: I don't remember anything about it. Now I can remember a preacher by the name of Parker preaching there, and McKay. You've heard of him? Wasn't he considered one of the best preachers they had?
Leara: That's the way it seems to me. The Lowdermilks, Cantleys, Reeds, McMillans, they were the main members and at one time they was a Mr. King lived there; Mr. Alf King. He was one of the main members, too.
Phena: Do you know who built the church?
Leara: No, I never did hear anybody say anything about that, who built it.
Phena: Is it still the same church?
Leara: Yes, but not in the same place.
Phena: They moved it.
Leara: They didn't have services there and they moved it over to the cemetery. Have you ever been into that cemetery?
Phena: Yes ma'am.
Leara: I haven't been down in quite a while, but seems to me like, the last time I was there, it just looked so pretty.
Phena: It is.
Leara: You know, Cornish said that it - now this is away back there before this - now what do they call that fund? So many of the churches pour in and get a fund that will draw enough interest to keep it - perpetual care... (Tape gapped)
Phena: Mrs. Martindale, I surely do thank you for sharing with us. I feel it has been such a pleasure to listen to you reminesce a little bit about the Pleasant Ridge Community. It's quite an honor to be able to talk to a lady who is 94 and still walking around and doing things. A little bit of information regarding Pleasant Ridge Church, as reported in the issue of Arkansas Methodist for May 14, 1936, indicates that the Pleasant Ridge Church was first organized in 1888 and it was situated on land given by Levi Moore. Among the charter members were Burton Riggs, the Cantley's, Ogdens, Smiths and Oakleys. At that time, the name of it was William's Chapel. It is thought that George Sexton was the first pastor of Pleasant Ridge Church. I I am told by Mrs. Elizabeth Crane, who is secretary and treasurer of the Cemetery Association there, that several years ago when the church stopped having regular services, the land and the church building itself was deeded to the cemetery. It is seldom used anymore.
The original copy of this interview can be found at the Prescott/Nevada Co. Depot Museum, Prescott, AR. Orginally organized as William's Chapel around 1888.