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. 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
March 29, 1898
I was born in Perry County, Kentucky, February 9, 1838. I am
a son of Jesse Barger born in Perry County, November 6, 1811.
His father was Abraham Barger. He was born in North Carolina
and came to Kentucky a few years before my father's birth and
settled on the Middle Fork. He was among the first settlers on
that river. Henry Gay came about the same time and settled on
the mouth of Gays Creek. Ratliffs and Bowlings settled there
about the same time, also Peter Devees. My father is still living
at 86 years of age. I do not know that our name was first Steambarger.
My ancestors were German. I do not know how far back they came
T. M. Gay
I am a son of Nelson Gay, a son of Henry Gay. He is 82. He was
born in Perry County. His father, mentioned above, Henry Gay,
was in turn a son of Henry Gay, my great-grandfather's name was
also Henry Gay. He came from Ireland, and he was a soldier in
the Revolutionary War. He enlisted soon after he came over. Hon.
Edward Gay M. P. of Congress from Louisiana was my father's cousin.
He died while in Congress. His father's name was John Gay and
was a physician.
I was born in Leslie County on Middle Fork. My father was John
Chapel. My grandfather was George Chapel. He came from Abingdon
County, Virginia. He was the first settler on the Greasy Fork
of Middle Fork. I think we are of Dutch descent. I have so understood
it. My grandfather was fond of Dutch dishes. My grandfather had
two brothers who settled in central Kentucky 20 years ago. They
were on Dix River. My father had one brother, George. He died
in Oregon unmarried. My father had 15 children. He married Betsey
John F. McCarty
Big Creek, Kentucky
March 30, 1898
I was born in Laurel County, Kentucky, July 25, 1865. My father
was William McCarty. He was born either in Laurel County or Tennessee
in 1840. I think he came from Tennessee. My great-grandfather
was James McCarty. He came from Ireland when a boy. I am not
certain, but I think he came from the south of Ireland. I do
not know when he came, or where he settled. They were all Protestants
as far as I have any knowledge. My mother was Susan Seaborn before
her marriage. She was born in Laurel County, I suppose about
1840. Her father was Thomas Seaborn. He was born near Frankfort,
Kentucky, in 1805. He came to Clay County with his father when
small. I think not more than ten years old.
My great-grandfather was Jacob Seaborn. He came from Germany
to America when small with his parents and settled in New Jersey.
He was living there during the Revolutionary War but ran away
from his home at the the age of 16 and enlisted. He continued
to the close. He emigrated to Kentucky and married Anna Griffith
near Frankfort. He came to Clay County to operate salt furnaces.
My grandfather was small when he came to Clay County, yet he
was a wood chopper before coal was used, and that began in 1832.
My great-grandfather died in Clay, my grandfather in Larue County.
I took my degree from Marion Simms (Ewins?) Medical College in
1890. My grandfather was a pensioner for years. When he enlisted,
in order to evade his father, he enlisted in the name of Alex
Seaborn. His father came to the camp seeking him, but he could
not find his name on the rolls. He was hidden till his father
left the camp. He came to Kentucky on a flatboat.