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
John S. Milton
April 23, 1898
I was born in Johnson County, Indiana, May 1, 1834. My father
was Terry H. Melton. He was born in the city of Knoxville, Tennessee,
17__. My grandfather lived and died in Knoxville, Tennessee.
I do not know where he was born. My grandmother, Polly Pollard.
Both Melton Pollard are Irish. I have heard my father say so.
I do not know when my ancestors came to America. My mother was
Sallie Templeton. She was born in North Carolina on New River,
Ash County. Her father, James Templeton, was born in Pittsburg,
Pennsylvania. He was English. His father came from England. He
died on Bad Creek, Leslie County, aged 105 years about 1859.
His wife died first at the age of 109. She was 13 years his senior.
My mother lived to be 96. My youngest aunt to be 96, also. My
father served in the War of 1812. He came to Harlan County, now
Leslie County, Kentucky, and married. I have the record. He had
seven children all are living in this county except one which
is dead. I was elected assessor in Perry County in 1866. I was
chosen the first county clerk of Leslie County in 1877. My opponents
were R. I. Wooten, Mc-Roberts, Matt Howard, and John C. Dickson.
I got 81 votes more than all of my opponents. James Duff was
chosen sheriff but failed to give bond, and Mac Napier was appointed
in his stead.
John Hyden came to my father's house on Wooton Creek on Cutshin
in June 1853. He had $60 worth of dry goods and notions, which
he carried on two small horses. He was accompanied by Ferguson.
Each had a horse. The bundles were small. He opened his goods
in a small round log storehouse, in which my father and old James
Dixon had sold goods. He exchanged his goods for hides, bear
and deer furs, ginseng, and other produce as feathers, beeswax,
etc. and transferred them to Jonesville, Virginia, on horseback,
80 miles. Ferguson would go to Jonesville with the produce and
return loaded with goods. He prospered greatly. He remained at
my father's two years. He then married Elizabeth McIntosh and
removed to the mouth of McIntosh Creek. He then took in James
L. McIntosh, his brother-in-law, as a partner, and enlarged his
business. He went to Maysville for his goods and brought them
from Clay's Ferry in canoes and freight boats. These were made
in Cutshin and loaded with produce and taken down to Clay Ferry.
I have gone many a trip with them. Later, he went into partnership
with Joseph Eversole, father of Capt. William Eversole. They
were not together long. He sold out and moved to Sextons Creek,
Clay County. I pushed the boat down Middle Fork up South Fork
to the mouth of Sextons. His wife was in very delicate health.
He was a man of fair complexion, blue eyes, and weighed 175 pounds.
He was a fine looking man and would be easily taken for a man
of force among a thousand men. He was very industrious, economical,
had no bad habits, was the soul of humor, and was fair, just,
and equitable in all his dealings. I have worked for him a great
deal, had dealings with him in various ways and always found
him true to the principles of a high standard of manhood. He
was very prosperous and popular as was clearly shown by his election
to the Senate in 1877 without opposition in a Republican District,
while he was a Democrat, he was ambitious, held himself up among
the first class of people. He would have liked to go to Congress.
He amass-ed considerable wealth. I knew his father, John Hyden.
He used to visit his son at my father's. He spent a winter there.
They called him Jack. I also knew his brother, Wilson. Old John
was poor but a high-minded man. He said he had a poor mountain
farm in Lee County, Virginia, on which he reared his family.