Pleasant Hill was founded in the 1840s by Isaac Smalley. He held aspirations that Pleasant Hill would grow due to the Chicago and Alton Railroad as well as a bridge crossing the Mackinaw River being constructed nearby. Smalley had prepared the town for growth by plotting several streets, building a school and a two-story female seminary. However, the Chicago and Alton decided to build the tracks through Lexington, only three miles to the northwest of Pleasant Hill. Pleasant Hill never reached a population over 75 and all that is left are a few homes, a few streets, and the bridge that crossed the Mackinaw River.
This collection includes correspondence and documents of the Isaac Smalley family and the Harrison Lawrence Family who were prominent families of Pleasant Hill, Illinois. The collection also includes receipts, newspaper articles, obituaries, contracts, genealogical information, and Isaac Smalley’s School Master’s Book (1822-1825). This collection was donated by Dale and Ruth Putman.