| || Notes for PLEASANT "PLEZ" NICHOLS:|
PLEASANT NICHOLS (PLEZ)December 1870 - September 10, 1939
Pleasant Nichols, known by his friends and associates as "Plez", was born in Pike County, Alabama during December 1870. He was the 3rd child of Kinchen Elias Nichols and Martha Margaret Carroll-Reeves. Only six when his father died, Pleasant spent most of his child hood without his father working on his mother's farm. He is listed in the 1880 Pike County, Alabama Census as Pleasant Nickels, age 9.
When the 1900 Pike County Census was taken Pleasant, age 29, was living in the home with his half brother, Samuel Reeves. Samuel was Sheriff of Pike County during this period and Pleasant worked as a jailer. Sam's younger brother James was serving as Deputy. Pleasant is listed as a dry-goods salesman in the 1910 Pike County Census. He likely was working with his brother Payton, a groceries salesman, with whom he shared a room in the home of Willard and Nettie Howard. He was not working in the Sheriff's office at the time due to someone outside the Reeves family who served from 1911 through 1913. The Sheriff at that time was a McBride.
The Reeves family again took control of the Sheriff's office in 1916 and Pleasant again became jailer. He is listed as such in the 1920 Pike County, Alabama Census. In the 1920 Census Pleasant is listed at age 49, a sister to Nettie Howard. From 1927 to 1930 the Sheriff of Pike County was a Galloway. During the time he was in office Sam Reeves, feeling he was too old for office, had Pleasant run in his place. Pleasant won and served a term as Sheriff. He is listed as Sheriff in the 1930 Census. Some have his term as starting in 1931.
Pleasant never married and spent the remainder of his life with the Reeves family. He died in Troy, Pike County, Alabama September 10, 1939. He was buried at the Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, Alabama. There is no marker at his grave.
From the Research of "SONNY" William Joiner
The Reeves family has played a prominent role in Pike County politics since the 19th century. From 1892 until 1931 only two four-year terms broke the family line held in the sheriff's office. The families hold on that office began in 1892 when Marion Carroll, a great uncle of Ben Reeves, was elected. In 1896 Sam Reeves, father of Ben Reeves, took office. Since the sheriff was not permitted, under the existing law, to succeed himself, Sam Reeves alternated terms with other members of the family. Sam Reeves served three terms as sheriff. Pleasant Nichols (half-brother of Sam Reeves), Burr Reeves (son of Sam Reeves) and Jim Reeves are other members of the family who served in the office.
From the Research of the Nichols Family, 1790 -1978,by Thomas Compton
Pleasant Nichols - The Pike County Sheriff' s Office was kept in the Reeves family from 1893 to 1955, except for two terms, 1911 - 1915, when McBride held office, and 1927 - 31 when Gallaway was in office. Marion Carroll, a brother of Martha, (Pleasant's mother), started the trend in 1893, with Sam Reeves, Sicily and Fate Carroll serving as deputies. Sam served next and over the years held office for three separate terms. During one of his terms in office there was a famous murder trial that involved two men named Johnson and Hale. It seemed they broke into a private home, killed the entire family, and burned the house in an effort to camouflage their crime. A song was written concerning the incident. I have heard my mother sing it many times. A part of it was as follows:
"Johnson, oh Johnson, come see what you've done,
Killed a whole family and never fired a gun.
Johnson said to Reeves, paint the gallows white,
Reeves said to Johnson,that will be alright."
A Negro was hung along with Johnson and Hale. His only crime being that he was forced to carry a beehive to the house so the two white men could enter through a window.
Sam's son, Ben Reeves, held the Sheriff's Office for four terms. He was Sheriff during World War II and was called into military service. His wife was acting Sheriff during his absence. He vacated the office in 1955 and served one term in the State Legislature. Immediately following his term in the Legislature, he was elected Probate Judge of Pike County, a position he has enjoyed to this very day. In 1931, when Galloway's term as sheriff was expiring, Sam Reeves thought he was too old to serve another term, and decided to run his half brother, Plez Nichols, for the office. Ben Reeve's, Sam's son, who is currently Probate Judge of Pike County, tells an amusing story concerning Plez's first day of politicking.
"Plez could never drive a car and it fell upon me to act as his chauffeur during his campaign. The local ford Dealer had been kind enough to provide Pleasant with a Model-AFord of questionable serviceability.
I was 15 or 16 years old at the time and eager to take the assignment. It turned out that Plez wanted to do his first day of politicking in a very unsavory section of the county. His first contact was a local character that we will call John Harris, who was repairing a fence beside the roadway, with the help of a Negro laborer.After the usual amities were dispensed with, Plez stated the real purpose of his visit.Mr. Harris stated his confidence in Plesant's ability to handle the job, but wanted some specific answers to pertinent questions before committing his vote. Mr. Harris stated that the incumbent Sheriff was undoubtfuly the sorriest SOB that had ever held public office. He accused the Sheriff of harassing honest moon shiners to a point where even he had to go to the next county to obtain descent-drinking whiskey. He wanted to know how Plez stood on the issue.
Plez assured him that he believed in living and let living. Said he knew the times were hard and families must be fed and clothed. He told the man as long as the moon shiners were not too flagrant in plying their trade, did not sell to minors or create a disturbance, he would leave them alone. John stated that he believed Plez was a man of his word and that he would vote for him, however, he warned Plez that he could not vote for his wife Nancy, and advised Plez to stop by the house and talk to her.
When Plez knocked on the front door Nancy was in the Kitchen making flour dough (cathead) biscuits from scratch. She came down the hall wiping her hands on her apron preparatory for the usual handshake. When Plez stated his business she said she wanted a few points cleared up before committing her vote. She stated that the sheriff currently in office was the poorest excuse for a law enforcement official the county had ever elected. She went on to state that most any morning she could walk out her back porch and see the smoke from half a dozen moonshine stills. She further stated that by going to the front porch she could see still half a dozen more. She stated that the district was literally floating in moonshine whiskey. She said that John stayed so drunk that he could not do a descent day's work. She wanted to know what Plez was going to do about this mess, if he were elected.
Without batting an eye, Plez assured her that he was fully aware of the deplorable situation that currently existed and sympathized with the good Christian people of the district who were forced to tolerate a condition caused by inefficiency and corruption exemplified by the current administration.Plez assured her that if he were elected Sheriff the district would become dryer that a desert well. With this assurance, she pledged her vote.
I learned a valuable lesson in politicking that day.Ben Reeves