William Henry Pleasants was born in Piquenoque, VA, educated in the local schools, and later graduated from the University of Virginia. He received a law degree from Washington & Lee University.
Brother Pleasants married the sister of Dr. Charles L. Cocke, who, in 1852, took control of the Valley Union Seminary, now known as Hollins College. He and his wife raised two children.
In 1852 he began a long career of teaching at Hollins, later becoming a Dean of the College. It was said that as a teacher, William H. Pleasants had no superior or rival.
Brother Pleasants began his Masonic affiliation at Mazeppa Lodge at Botetourt Springs (now Hollins) in 1870. He served as the Master of Mazeppa in 1874. Mazeppa Lodge later changed its name to Turner Lodge in honor of another Hollins College affiliate, Joseph A. Turner who was business manager of the college.
Traveling by train or horseback, Brother Pleasants served as the District Deputy Grand Master of the 17th Masonic District in 1875, 1879, and 1880 and in 1891 and 1892 served as Grand Master of Masons in Virginia.
Pleasants Lodge No. 63 was granted dispensation in May of 1889 as a result of permission granted to a group of Masons then affiliated with Lakeland Lodge No. 190. These men felt it appropriate to name the lodge after “Uncle Billy”, a name used by his many friends.
- The first dues of Pleasants Lodge were 50 cents per month, but were later reduced to 33 cents per month or $4.00 per year (1890).
- The Worshipful Master took everybody to dinner and gave each and every one a cigar on January 28, 1915. The cost was $79.96. Attendance was estimated around 100.
- In 1905, the Lodge sent two children to become guests in the Masonic Home of Virginia (at the time, MAHOVA was an orphanage).
- On April 20, 1903 a request for assistance was received from W.D. Adams. The Lodge voted to honor his request and he was sent $5.00.
- Pleasants Lodge celebrated it’s 100th anniversary in 1989. Wor. Wayne Stanton presided over this historic year, marking the milestone with several special events, including the publication of a book on the history of the lodge and the Roanoke Valley.