Kentucky author Grimes explores
decline of small-town America
New book delves into the history of Pleasureville, Ky.
PLEASUREVILLE, Ky. (December 2015) – Wanting to know more about the area in which you live is not unusual, especially if you did not grow up there. Mike Grimes took his curiosity about the town of Pleasureville, Ky., so far as to write a book about it.
“I love this area and wanted to learn more about it,” said Grimes, 49, originally from Henderson County, Ky. A second reason he penned a book about the town was because he had read a remark by the Kentucky Travel Blog that stated, “Pleasureville appears to be heading for ghost town status.”
“I disagreed with that,” said Grimes. He envisions his book similar to a TV commercial in the hopes that it will “draw attention to the town.”
Grimes describes his book as an exploration into the national trend regarding the decline of small town America. It documents the history of Pleasureville by pulling together information from histories, biographies, newspaper articles, oral history, interviews and numerous photographs. It also traces how some of the momentous events in American history are intertwined with Pleasureville and its people.
In “The Pleasureville Connection 1784-2015,” Grimes touches on historic milestones in the history of the town. He relates the town to life-changing events in American history such as the War of 1812, the Civil War and World War II. “I show how the people of Pleasureville were involved in those events,” said Grimes.
He starts at the beginning with the Low Dutch pioneers and goes up to the present time. “They bought land from Squire Boone in 1874. They didn’t permanently settle it until the 1790’s because of Native Americans.” It was a large tract of land covering Defoe to Pleasureville to Cropper to Elmberg.
“The Low Dutch settlement was originally called Banta-town. Then North Pleasureville and South Pleasureville merged in 1962,” he said.
Grimes relied on newspapers from the 1800s, biographies, oral histories and personal interviews with many of the people who lived through such events as World War II. He also spent countless hours perusing microfilmed information at the Henry County Public Library.
He transcribed nine oral history interviews conducted by the Eastern Kentucky University’s Kentucky River and Small Towns Project. Included in the interviews were the stories of such individuals as Mayor Rodney Young, J.C. Shuck, Col. William Pollard and Spencer Bond.
There are many pictures in the 339-page book that visually depict Pleasureville and its people. The pictures date “from the mid-1800s to 2015,” he said.
In fact, he came across so many pictures that a friend encouraged him to publish a picture book. This is a project he has set aside to work on in 2016.
Grimes is retired from a position with the state government. He and his wife, Terri, moved to the area in 2002. He had been working in Louisville but wanted to get transferred to Frankfort.
His plans worked out, and he fell in love with the town of Pleasureville. He decided to write a book to preserve the memory of the people who built the town.
Grimes said the most fascinating part of writing the book was learning the history of the people. One story in particular that intrigued him was that of Capt. Easley who lived during the Civil War.
In doing research, “I came across his name and learned that his great-grandson lived in the area,” Grimes said. He met him and learned more of Capt. Easley’s story.
Capt. Easley and his soldiers had the unpleasant job of executing prisoners. At one point during the war, four were executed in front of the old depot, and three more were sent to meet their death, Grimes said. Capt. Easley received a telegraph from President Abraham Lincoln telling him to let one prisoner go free. Easley misunderstood and thought the telegraph said to let all three go free, which he did.
Grimes includes a photo of Capt. Easley in the book. The thing about this story that caught Grimes’ attention the most was the fact that “Lincoln sent a telegraph to Pleasureville, Ky.”
As to who would like “The Pleasureville Connection 1784-2015,” Grimes replied, “Anyone who is interested in history would like it, and anyone who has a connection to Pleasureville would be interested in it.”
A few pages of the book focus on how small towns across America are disappearing. “Pleasureville is not disappearing any time soon.”
Many people in the community are working to make sure it remains a vibrant town. He cites the Pleasureville Economic Development Council as responsible for bringing such businesses to town as the Main Street Bakery and Café and an indoor Farmers Market.
The council has also helped promote existing businesses that include Sweet Home Spun, Pleasureville Hardware and Clark Heavy Equipment.
Grimes has self-published his book, which is available at many upcoming book signings. After Dec. 12, copies will be available for purchase at the Pleasureville Farmers Market, 1120 Main St. The book us also available from Grimes by emailing him at: Grhymes@outlook.com.
Future book signings include Dec. 12 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Pleasureville Farmers Market, Pleasureville, Ky.; Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Shelby County Public Library in Shelbyville, Ky.; and Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. at the Henry County Public Library in Eminence, Ky.
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