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.

Edward Callahan Strong
Lost Creek, Kentucky
July 21, 1898

I was born November 5, 1823, in what is now Breathitt County, Kentucky, six miles from Strongville. My father was William Strong. He was born in Scott County, Virginia, Halston's Springs, in 1800. His father's name was William Strong who was born in Ireland. He came to America in 1790 and located in Virginia. He married Miss Jane Callahan of Scott County, Virginia, and to them were born in Virginia Edward and William, my father and Capt. Bill Strong's father. My grandfather came to Kentucky with his father-in-law, Edward Callahan, and the Davidsons. Old Sam Davidson married a Callahan, a sister of my grandmother, Elizabeth, by name. They all settled first on the North Fork, about the mouth of Grapevine. Old John Spencer and Peter Devees bought out Edward Callahan, and he went to Red Bird, first from Bull Skin.
William Noble, father of Nathan, was a Revolutionary soldier. I heard Enoch swearing about not getting his share of his father's pension. In 1797 six hunters were at the mouth of Lost Creek making saltpeter when some Indians were seen on the point where the graveyard is now. Five of the men shot several of them. The men fled and escaped to the mouth of Buck Horn where they killed a big elk, which gave the creek the name. At the mouth of Ball they killed a "bald" eagle which gave it the name. One man was left and escaped up Lost Creek. Three of these men were Barney Russell, Dickerson, and Jonathan Fugate. Their names are cut on a rock on the hill opposite my house 200 yards up the hill. There were names cut on a beech tree at Salt Spring here. I think all the six names were on that tree. Russell named Lost Creek when he got lost going out. Indians came to the rescue when the whites fired. Old Sam Haddix and his family, old man Miller, Old William Jones, who lived at the mouth of Smith's Branch, came with the Haddixes. Old Sam was a blacksmith. Jones and Miller were shoemakers. Miller was a moccasin maker. These hunters made salt for their own use. Barney Russell came back with his wife and settled on Lost Creek. Stephen Allen was another of the hunters, and he came back with Russell and settled at the mouth of Lost Creek. He and his wife died, and Barney Russell and his wife buried them, the woman dying first. I can't tell just when they came back. The Haddixes came later; I cannot tell when. Samuel Haddix was a Revolutionary soldier, drew a pension, and had slaves. They came from Roanoke County, Virginia. The Haddixes are Dutch. I found plenty of Fugates in Scott County, Virginia, during and after the Civil War. I think Barney Russell made one survey of Lost Creek in 1800. The Haddixes must have come near 1800. Daniel Boone's name was cut on the beech tree at the salt spring. The Haddixes brought salt kettles with them and the first Negroes that came to Breathitt County.
Sam Newberry was killed by Isaac Callahan, my grandmother's brother. I knew Cava Baker; he was a great poet. The Bakers and the Garrards were always together. I think the Garrards and Whites divided as early as this war. William Strong, my grandfather, was at Clay Court when Amis was killed. I heard him say so. It was his gun that killed him. I have heard him say so. I have heard him talk of these things in his preaching, warning people against violence and bloodshed.

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