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
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.
I have just
returned from A. W. Baker's place. He is a member of the new
Board of Trustees, sworn in today. His brother and brother-in-law
are two others, so they have a majority. I went to talk to him
about closing the saloons. He and his brother own one of the
five that curse our town. I found him not only willing, but anxious
to talk on the subject. I found that he was sick of the business.
He opened the first saloon last May. He expected a monopoly for
the county. Judge William Parker was his partner, but there was
such a pressure brought to bear on the judge that he was forced
to do something, so he appointed a Board of Trustees for the
town, composed of men whom he believed would not grant license.
In this way he and Baker would keep the monopoly, but the Board
gave two licenses and then resigned. In the meantime the judge
sold out to Mr. Baker and his brother. The judge then gave license
to two others so that there are now five, and everyone is losing
money. The saloons have made so much disorder that Mr. Baker
is thoroughly disgusted with himself, as well as the whiskey
business when he remembers that he really got the thing going
by accepting the judge's proposition. I went to ask Mr. Baker
to say he was willing to quit if the rest would, and they would
not. So they put the license at $500 so that they would be compelled
to quit. Praise the Lord he made exactly that proposition without
my asking him to do so. I offered him my good offices to get
the others to accept his proposition. He said he thought I was
the proper one, as I would not be suspected of having any mercenary
motives. Tomorrow morning D. V. and I shall go to each saloonkeeper
and ask him to close up and thus put an end to the iniquity.
I believe that God is in it all that will be done.
Saturday evening I delivered for Bro. May Mrs. Burchell's Bible
and remained all night. I was rejoiced to find her and Miss Evans
growing in grace, taking up the cross, and following the Master.
O, what a blessing God will make them to this community. Miss
Evans consented to conduct Sunday School for me next Sunday afternoon,
as I expect to be in Hyden.
Sunday morning I had a remarkable experience. I had prepared
a sermon from the words, "If any man offend not in word
the same is a perfect man." I began to read the first chapter
of James as a lesson, paused to comment on the second, third,
and fourth verses and never got any further. With these as a
text I preached one of the effective sermons of my life. Persons
came and thanked me for it. Evidently all were deeply interested.
It was a God-given sermon. My soul was filled throughout the
service. The Lord is so ready to help those who ask Him and trust
Him for the answer.