Mount Pleasant Enters a Period of Decline
Miss Amelia Schmidt (Schmitt), who was described as a single woman, purchased the 642 acre Mount Pleasant tract and its improvements from B. F. and Emma E. Wingfield on October 29, 1887 (Surry County Deed Book 22:365). By 1888 the county tax assessor had commenced crediting Schmidt, a Surry County resident, with Mount Pleasant which contained 642 acres and had $1,300 worth of improvements. Meanwhile, William C. Wilson and C.W.Wilson (James D.Wilson’s sons) were credited with 245 acres and 200 acres, respectively, both of which tracts were described as “part of Mount Pleasant.” Neither of the Wilson tracts contained improvements. Although Amelia Schmidt’s property’s improvements were valued at $1,300 during 1889 and 1890, by 1891 the assessor had reduced their estimated worth to only $1,000.
The assessment remained at that level through 1892, but then in 1893 rose to $1,300. Again, the county tax assessor failed to note why he had altered his evaluation. Then, in 1894 he reduced the buildings’ value to $1,000. They remained at that level until 1896, at which time they were reduced to only $800. This pattern suggests that the condition of the structures on Miss Schmitt’s Mount Pleasan tacreage was deteriorating, perhaps due to lack of maintenance, for there was no apparent overall adjustment in the county’s tax base. However, a catastrophic event occurred at Mount Pleasant after the assessor’s visit in 1897 but before his return in 1898. In 1898 when he formulated his assessment, he noted that he had taken “$500 off for buildings burned.” As a result of the fire, the remaining buildings on Amelia Schmidt’s 642 acres were worth only $300. They were taxed at that level through 1900 (Surry County Land Tax Lists 1888-1900). Perhaps on account of the disastrous fire, in May 1899 Miss Amelia Schmidt sold Mount Pleasant to her nephew and niece, John and Amelia M. Schmidt of Surry County, for $1,000 (Surry County Deed Book 28:363).