Dickey's Diary


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.

January 23, 1898
Manchester, Kentucky

I arrived here at 10:30 a.m. Today I was overtaken by night and a rainstorm at John E. White's place and came from there this morning. I stayed Friday night at Taylor Marcum's at the mouth of Big Creek. I hope to establish a church at that point. It is about halfway between Manchester and Hyden. I rang the church bell as soon as I arrived this morning and had services. Only a dozen were present. At Sunday School we had a fairly good attendance at 2:00 p.m. Last Sunday Dr. Sandlin acted as superintendent, the Sunday before Miss Evans, and Bro. Farmer conducted prayer meetings on Wednesday nights during my absence. Only four or five were present. Thank God for someone to stand in the breach.
Tonight as I sit in my room, card playing is going on in an adjoining room, profanity and obscenity, most shocking, is heard. The card playing has been going on all afternoon, perhaps all day. At the table one speaks a word to me. The devil seems to have set everything against me, but God will use me yet for their conversation.

January 25, 1898
Manchester, Kentucky

Last night I stayed at Dr. Burchell's. Miss Evans, who has been teaching school there for five months, expected to begin a subscription school yesterday morning, but enough pupils did not come in so she was preparing to go to her home at Greensburg, Indiana. I told her that I thought she could get a school at Big Creek here in Clay County. She wrote to the trustees this morning or rather Dr. Burchell wrote for her. I trust she will get it for that would begin my work here at once. I stayed all night there last Friday and told the people that I would visit the neighborhood and preach for them and send them a religious teacher. Perhaps she is the one. I hope so.
Tonight Bro. Hiram Farmer came to my room. He said that he wanted something to do. I told him we would go out to the schoolhouses in the country near town and preach. He said he was ready. He said he believed God had called him to preach or rather that he ought to preach. He is a Campbellite converted during Bro. Pickett's meeting. I decided today to keep Loan Fund Day in February.

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