|About Pleasants Family - Halifax County, VA
This site has been set up primarily for the descendants of GEORGE AND MOURNING PLEASANTS and collateral family connections.
On January 21, 1997, I went to the newly built facility for the Library of Virginia in Richmond that houses the archive records
for the state. My plan was to do some quick research. Cranking my way through microfilmed records for Halifax County on
manually operated readers, I located the death record for my maternal 3x great-grandmother, Mourning; a slave. Mourning’s
death is recorded as July 1853 in the Roanoke District of Halifax County, Virginia. Her recorded age at death was 75. The
cause of her death was pneumonia. If her recorded age is accurate, she would have been born in 1778 while the
Revolutionary War was progressing. The information for the death record was provided by the slaveholder - J. S. PLEASANTS.
John Smith Pleasants had enslaved Mourning and her husband George from the time they were bequeathed to him as an
inheritance from his father, Jesse Pleasants, in a will probated the 22nd day of October 1804. John was 7 years younger than
Mourning and may have known her all his life. He died three years after she did. George and Mourning had at least four
children; sons Joe, Thomas, Edmond and Wyatt. Edmond Pleasants was my great-great grandfather.
I started on the journey of researching my family history in April 1992 when I lived in Atlanta Georgia. The 1920 Federal
Census had just been released to the public domain. Census records must remain private by law for 72 years after the census
is taken. The 1940 Census was released April 2012 and the 1950 Census will be released in 2022. So I visited a regional
office of the Census Bureau located south of Atlanta in East Point. I was curious to see what I would find. My parents would
have been born by the time this census was released, so the first goal I set was to see if I could find them. I found both of
their family records and so much more, and my passion for genealogy was birthed.
Over the years I have talked with family members, traveled to courthouses, perused records at libraries, archives, historical
societies, and cemeteries. Getting beyond the “brick wall" of the 1870 census (the first census where formerly enslaved blacks
appear in records with surnames) has been the most exciting part of this research. It has resulted in three identified
generations of the Pleasants family that were enslaved.
The slaveholding family line of Jesse Pleasants descended from John Pleasants of Norwich England, the emigrant (b.1644/5-
d.1698) and Jane Larcome through their son Joseph, grandson Joseph, and great-grandson Jesse. This family is extensively
documented. Following their paper trail leads me to my family records
My ancestors adopted the name of the slaveholder - Pleasants - but there is no known blood connection to that family. My
mother was Mattie Christine Pleasants -> the daughter of John Waverly Pleasants -> the granddaughter of William Lee
Pleasants -> the great-granddaughter of Edmund Pleasants -> the great-great granddaughter of George and Mourning
Pleasants. In her direct family lineage, her father was the first not born enslaved.
If you're wondering why I am recounting the slavery connection of my family, it is twofold. First, it is impossible to trace
ancestry with a slave connection without identifying and tracking the lineage and history of the slaveholders. Second, I am
grateful for the sacrifices, strength and stamina of my ancestors. I carry their DNA and all that they endured made me
This will continually be a work in progress, so look for changes and updates. Putting this information online accurately is
challenging, so please be patient. Also, if you are aware of anything not yet included or needing changes, please supply the
missing information or corrections to me. I will be so grateful!
And send photographs so I can add them - ESPECIALLY OLD FAMILY PICTURES!!!