Pleasant Plains, Illinois

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Pleasant Plains
Location of Pleasant Plains in Sangamon County, Illinois.
Location of Pleasant Plains in Sangamon County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 39°52′27″N 89°55′12″W / 39.87417°N 89.92000°W / 39.87417; -89.92000
CountryUnited States
 • Total1.40 sq mi (3.62 km2)
 • Land1.40 sq mi (3.62 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
614 ft (187 m)
 • Total802
 • Estimate 
 • Density571.53/sq mi (220.69/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s)217
FIPS code17-60599
Wikimedia CommonsPleasant Plains, Illinois

Pleasant Plains is a village in Sangamon County, Illinois, United States. The population was 777 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Springfield, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Pleasant Plains is located at 39°52′27″N 89°55′12″W / 39.87417°N 89.92000°W / 39.87417; -89.92000 (39.874221, -89.920106).[3]

According to the 2010 census, Pleasant Plains has a total area of 1.4 square miles (3.63 km2), all land.[4]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2016799[2]−0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 666 people, 297 households, and 237 families residing in the village. The population density was 626.0 people per square mile (241.9/km2). There were 317 housing units at an average density of 255.4 per square mile (98.7/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 98.84% White, 0.26% African American, 0.39% Asian, and 0.51% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.51% of the population.

There were 297 households out of which 42.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.7% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.2% were non-families. 19.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the village, the population was spread out with 29.0% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $46,053, and the median income for a family was $51,111. Males had a median income of $38,482 versus $25,446 for females. The per capita income for the village was $18,714. About 3.5% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.7% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

Pleasant Plains Historical Society[edit]

In an effort to re-connect to its historical roots, the Pleasant Plains Historical Society was created by mayor Jim Verkuilan and his friends in 2009. Its stated purpose is “To acquire, restore and maintain historical sites surrounding the community.” The Historical Society promptly took steps to purchase the Clayville, Illinois site, a goal accomplished in 2010. Clayville, a Lincoln-era stagecoach stop, had been operated by a predecessor of the University of Illinois at Springfield from the 1970s until 1992. The Pleasant Plains Historical Society's affiliate, Clayville Historic Site, now operates the stagecoach stop and 1824 tavern building.[7][8]

Peter Cartwright[edit]

Peter Cartwright, a well-known circuit-riding Methodist preacher and Illinois politician, called the Pleasant Plains countryside home from 1824 until his death in 1872. Cartwright was born near Amherst County, Virginia on September 1, 1785. In 1790, his father moved the family to the Kentucky frontier where Peter was exposed to some less than desirable behaviors. Cartwright could be found playing cards, gambling, and racing horses among other things. But, in 1801, during the Great Western Revival he came to know Christ and was converted. In June of that same year, Cartwright was licensed to preach by the Methodist Episcopal Church. He continued as a circuit preacher in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio. It was in those places that his hatred for slavery increased. His distaste for the practice reached a breaking point in 1823. He sold his farm, packed up his belongings, and moved his family to Illinois. They eventually settled on a farm outside of what would become the village of Pleasant Plains. He continued his circuit preaching and became a strong voice for the Gospel in some of the most remote areas of country. Cartwright and others established a church near Pleasant Plains. It eventually grew so large that the congregation split in two. One group moved into the new village and, with Cartwright, founded a church which still stands today as Peter Cartwright United Methodist Church. Cartwright even donated the land and $3000 for the building.

But Cartwright was not just a preacher. He also put himself up for election to the Illinois General assembly a mere four years after arriving to his new home. In 1828, Peter Cartwright, a Democrat, won the seat and began his short-lived but ever-influential political career. He ran again in 1832 against a physically imposing Whig from New Salem, Abraham Lincoln. The two faced off in a campaign that was as ugly as anyone had seen. There were political hit pieces in the local newspapers written by supporters of each. Some even suspected that the two were writing the op-eds under false names. In the end, Cartwright came out on top. The two became hardened adversaries for most of their careers in Springfield but eventually each spoke highly of the other. Cartwright even endorsed Lincoln for the presidency in 1860.

Cartwright and his family continued to live in the area and Peter continued to preach. His ministry lasted over 60 years and the majority were spent on the vast prairies of Illinois, including Pleasant Plains. Cartwright died in September of 1872 at the age of 87. He was buried in Pleasant Plains Cemetery just south of the village. As Sangamon County grew, so did the need for local township governments. It was chosen that the township surrounding Pleasant Plains would bear Cartwright's name as it does to this day.

Notable people[edit]

Peter Cartwright's Tombstone
  • Peter Cartwright, politician and Methodist church leader
  • Pleasant Plains 2017 Football Team- The first football team in Plains history to win more than one playoff game. They had a regular season record of 6-3 and a total season record of 10-4. They lost to IC Catholic in the 3a State championship game 35-0.


  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jun 30, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  4. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-12-25.
  5. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  7. ^ Reavy, Amanda (May 7, 2009). "Pleasant Plains forms group to try to buy Clayville site". The State Journal-Register (Springfield). Retrieved June 10, 2009.
  8. ^ "Clayville Historic Site". Clayville Historic Site: The Broadwell Inn. Retrieved 2013-08-24.

External links[edit]