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.

William M. Combs
Jackson, Kentucky
July 19, 1898
Henry Combs was my grandfather. He married Rachel before he came to Kentucky. They had children as follows: Mathew, my father; Henry; George; James; Stephen; Frank; Bettie; Polly; Winnie, who married John Miller; and Polly, married Downey Stacey. My grandfather moved to Indiana about 1837 or 1838. He visited Kentucky about 1848. He reared a large family by his second wife, Phoeme (Phoebe) Francis. George died in Perry on Troublesome. His descendants are still there. Henry married Nancy Brown on New River, North Carolina, and reared a family on Big Creek, Perry County. Frank married Bettie Oliver first; second Polly Couch, and lived and died in Perry County. Stephen lived and died in Breathitt County, Kentucky.
My father married Frankie Brown on New River, (sister to) my aunt Nancy Brown (who was married to Henry Combs). His children were Aaron, married Ruth Dickerson; Alfred, married Peggy Noble; Mathew, married Sallie Williams; Henry, Temple Davis; Richard, married Polly Back; Isaac B., married Louvisa McIniver (?); William M., married Jane Combs, daughter of Washington and granddaughter of Mason Combs, one of the original Combes; Nathan, married Miss Cli ve of Arkansas and still lliving there; and Rachel, married Isaac Back. Alfred and Henry lived and died on Troublesome Creek, Breathitt Co-unty. Aaron and Mathew lived and died in Missouri; Richard in Montgomery, County, Kentucky; J. B. in Wolfe County, Kentucky; and Rachel on Quicksand, Breathitt County, Kentucky.

John Skeman
Ned Callahan and Captain Strong compromised their troubles in Jackson, and in a few days Strong was killed. Their excuse for that way of doing was that Captain Strong did the same way with the Amises. He, John Amis, and old Wilson Callahan agreed to go home and go to work, and he would not trouble them. In two days, he had them killed, at least it was only a few days. Old Wiley, Tom, Ause, and Bob Amis bundled up and left at once. I don't think any of the Strong men were killed. I do not remember that any besides these were killed on the Amis side. This lasted over a year. Strong kept his men around him. The others did not have the means to support their men in a body as Strong had. Old John Deaton declared that they killed 40 head of sheep for him during that war.

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