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. 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.

Henry Spivey
June 16, 1898

My grandfather came from North Carolina in 1815 from Nollichucky River. His name was Zadok. He came to Clay County and settled on Sextons Creek at the mouth of Spivey Branch. His father's name was David Spivey. He was ten years old when his father removed to Kentucky. My grandfather was the first settler on Sextons Creek. My great-grandfather was a bricklayer and came from Germany. He died in North Carolina. He had but one child, Zadok, my grandfather.

George S. Wyatt
June 17, 1898

My grandfather, James Wyatt, was born in Virginia as was my father, Samuel Wyatt. My grandfather removed first to Missouri and from there came to Laurel County and settled on the Rockcastle River near Wyatts Chapel. He reared 14 children: James, John, George, William, Samuel, Wade, Jane (Edwards), Elizabeth (Lucas), Martha (Casey), Sarah, Nancy (Owens), and Lucy (Landrum). My father was a religious man and a devout Methodist. He had letters from attorneys in New York recently, stating that Sir Francis Wyatt had lately died in England leaving an enormous estate. He had gone to England from Virginia. The attorneys were seeking the Wyatts. They wanted $250 from each heir, and as such schemes had so often proven to be fake, we paid no attention to it. I was born July 20, 1853, in Clay County. I am a local preacher in the M. E. Church South. My grandfather, James Wyatt, reared seven children. My father, Samuel, was the only son. The daughters were Lucy (Colley); Lydia (Martin), mother of Joseph Young's first wife; Rebecca (Robinson); Margaret (Stivers-Phillips), one child by Stivers married Daniel Howse, mother of Reid and Sam Phillips was her daughter Eliza (Vaughn); and Minerva (Vau-ghn). Grandfather owned all the land from Joe Young's to the head of this creek, 2,000 or 3,000 acres. My father owned 600 acres and lived and died where Wade Wyatt now lives at Wyatts Chapel.

John Nicholson
June 17, 1898

My grandfather, Richard Nicholson, emigrated from Wales to America. He was a colonel in the Revolutionary Army. The brass mounted powder horn which he carried in the army is yet in our family. It holds exactly a pound of gunpowder. He came to Clay County very early and settled on Goose Creek. He owned a great deal of the land now owned by Judge B. P. White. He lived to be an old man. My father still lives in Clay County.

Augustus Asher
June 23, 1898

My grandfather, Dillon Asher, came from Tennessee to Ford of Cumberlands and in 1800 moved to Red Bird. His wife was Sally Davis. Their children: Blevins, Robert, John, Ira (Roberts), and "Pug" (Henry Sizemore). There were others, but I do not remember them.

Miss Davis
By Miss Davis, his wife's sister, he had children that took the name of Asher as follows: Jackson, Wilkerson, and Josiah who still lives, and, I think, Preston Asher was their brother. Bige, Matt, Jackson, Hugh, Tom, and Dillon Asher are sons of Jackson. These are the men that have become so wealthy. All are worth more than Bige, and he is probably worth 25,000. Jack is said to be worth $300,000; Matt $200,000; and Tom, who lives at Mas-iota, is worth $300,000. Hugh lives at Pineville, also Jack, though they have houses near Lexington. Matt, Jack, and Hugh were famous lumbermen who started booming logs on the Kentucky River at Ford of Cumber-lands and made big money. Their sisters are Mrs. Martha Morgan, Charity Howard, Puss (Bige Morgan of Sexton), and Polly Gibson.

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