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 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.
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.