Editor's Note: Readers of The Kentucky Explorer have been introduced to the Rev. John J. Dickey in past issues. Remember that he was a traveling preacher throughout the eastern part of the state during the years between 1880 and 1925. He helped to establish numerous churches and at least two colleges. He was also a teacher and a newspaper editor. However, his most enduring gift to us today may well be his diary that he kept faithfully during some 50 years of his later life beginning in the 1880s. In all, over 6,000 pages written in his own hand make up this interesting digest.
In this journal of his, Dickey often wrote down accounts of events daily. Much of the material concerns his day to day life. However, during the late 1890s he began to gather family history on various families he met in his travels. Beginning in this issue we are offering these interviews to our readers in the hope that they will be appreciated in the sense that Rev. Dickey intended. These interviews were written word for word as they were given to Rev. Dickey. Nothing has been changed.
November 20, 1897
I left Benge at 2:30 p.m. and arrived here at 5:00 p.m. I officiated at the marriage of Mr. W. S. Young and Miss Catherine Gilbert at the house of Mr. Roat Patter. A few friends were present. Miss Gilbert is one of our converts at the late meeting. Her father lives on Red Bird Creek, on the first settlement made in this county (Clay). She has been at her aunt's (Mrs. Patters) for several weeks. Last night Bro. May preached a wonderful sermon. The most impressive I have ever heard him to preach on: "The rich man and Lazarus." Three came to the alter; one professed conversion, Myrtle Brigman, a nine-year-old daughter of a local preacher. The people seem attentive but slow to move. I preached this morning to 15 people and left Bro. May with the meeting. I would like so much to conduct services here Thanksgiving, but do not see my way clear on account of our meeting at Benge. The Lord lead me.
I read a letter from the editors of the Jackson Hustler, Mr. T. M. Morrow, a few days ago urging me to come to Jackson and hold a meeting. O, how I would like to go but I cannot leave this great work that I have here on my hands. O, Lord lead me. Bro. May heard the letter and said, "Let's go." O, for the power of God upon these mountains. Lord use us.