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
Jason Walker Bolling
June 15, 1898
My great-grandfather, Jesse Bolling, came to Kentucky in 1810.
My grandfather, Elijah Bolling, was born at the Tree Forks of
Powell River in Lee County, Virginia, in 1798, and when he was
12 years old his father removed to Perry County, Kentucky. Daniel
Duff baptized my grandfather, Elijah Bolling. Rev. Andrew Baker
baptized my great-grandfather at Blackwater Church, now Hawkins
County, Tennessee. My great-great-grandfather was Maj. John Bolling.
He had 19 sons. I do not know that there were any daughters.
One of these sons, William Bolling, married Martha Jefferson,
sister of Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States. Other
sons were Jessee, above mentioned; and Benjamin, the oldest,
born in 1752 or 1753. Jesse was born in 1765. Robert, the wife
of U. S. Senator Archibald Dixon, was the daughter of Dilany
Bolling of Missouri and the granddaughter of Maj. John Bolling,
Gov. John Young Brown's wife was a daughter of Archibald Dixon.
Roger Cornett, son of the original William Cornett, built the
house where Hamp Coldiron lives. In 1802 he married Zilpha Callahan.
This makes the date of the Cornetts coming to Kentucky 1796-1799
probable. Men from Crug's Ferry at the mouth of Sexton were at
the raising. Roger Cornett was in slaves and land. He owned the
Coleman Survey, patented in 1783, 5,600 acres.
There are Bollings in western Kentucky. One went to Congress
some years ago, perhaps 1870 or 1872.
The first Bolling who came to America was Col. Robert Bolling
of London, England.
I think old Cava Baker made the rhyme on the "Cattle War."
I have always heard it that way. Old Julius Bob Baker and William
Neal were in St. Clair's Defeat. Baker held a major's commission.
They are both buried in Buffalo, Owsley County, Kentucky. Neal
requested to be buried beside Baker. John Gilbert and John Amis
married sisters of James Bowling; Eli; John, grandfather of Judge
Josiah Comb's wife; Christopher; William; Joseph; and Nancy (Sizemore),
was another sister. From these have descended most of the Bollings
in Clay County. Jesse Bolling, my great-grandfather, married
Mary Penn-ington of Lee County, Virginia. He was born in North
Carolina at Hillsboro. His father was born in Virginia. David
Pennington, her brother, was living during the War of the Rebellion.
My grandfather, Elijah Bolling, stayed with him in Lee County
during the late war. Jesse Bolling had children as follows: Hannah,
married Huff; Mary, married Abram Barger; Justice, married ________;
John, married Polly Lewis; Jesse, married Lewis for his second
wife; William, married a daughter of Daniel Duff; Elijah, married
a Roberts; George, married Lewis; a daughter married Joseph Spencer;
Betsey, married Abel Pennington; another married Magg-ard; and
another died single. A. P. Hill and Basil Duke married sisters
of John Morgan. His mother was the daughter of John Hunt, the
first millionaire in Kentucky. Dr. Foster of Kentucky was reared
by Mrs. Hunt.
June 15, 1898
My grandfather, David Benge (called King David) came to Kentucky
and settled in Madison County. While living there he used to
drive stock to this section and herd them on the range. If he
had any brothers and sisters, I never heard of them. Thomas Benge,
son of David Benge and father of Jane Benge, killed ________
Porter, stood his trial, came clear, and then went first to Indiana
and then to Iowa. It occurred near McWhorter. It was at a corn
shucking, the pile was divided and these men fell out, perhaps
were captains, and Benge struck Porter with a rake. He lived
a week or ten days and died. My grandfather was a soldier in
two wars, Revolutionary and War of 1812. My father was John Benge.
He volunteered in the War of 1812, and my grandfather would not
let him go but went in his stead. His other sons were William,
Joseph, and Lewis Franklin. His daughters were Nancy, married
William Cornett, son of Roger; Sallie Ann, married George Treeman;
Adeline, married Elisha Stiver; Zilpah, married Robert Stiver;
Lucinda, married Benjamin Johnson; and Mary, married Elijah McGee.
John, my father, had 13 children, ten girls and three boys, all
still living but one. The eldest is 86. My brother's name was
James, and he lives here in Clay County. He married Benge's second
cousin. I am next to the oldest. I married Nancy Lynx, daughter
of Fred Lynx. I had 12 children, all living but two. My oldest
sister, Sallie Ann, married John Johnson and lives near Bernstadt.
Lucinda married Zessa McWhorter, and they had a large family.
Lydia Ann married James Hawes, and they had a large family. Martha
married James Bolling, and they live on Goose Creek. Betsey married
Henderson Howes, parents of Mark and William Howes, and they
had a good family. Eliza married Adam Bolling, and both are living
and have eight or nine children. Bina married Gillum House, both
are living. Jennie married William Bolling, both living on Little
Goose. Nancy married Byrd, she died in child birth, left no children.
Evaline married William Martin and had a large family. I have
lived where I now reside 60 years. I used to make whiskey before
the war. I think it was a bad business. I never drank much whiskey.