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.

Manchester, Kentucky
June 4, 1898
I have just returned from the burial of ex-Sheriff William L. White. He was shot and killed on Sexton's Creek, the second instant, near Bud Goforth's. White met Thomas Baker, D. Baker, and a man named Helton in the road. Baker shot White with a Winchester, killing him in 20 minutes. The Bakers say that White made an attempt to draw his pistol. Tom Baker got the drop on him; his Winchester being already in his hands. The ball struck the body at the naval and passed through. The corpse was brought to Daugh White's yesterday, and at 9:30 a. m. today we buried it. Miss Alice Callahan and I sang I Will Sing You A Song. I prayed, and while they were filling the grave, we sang Nearer My God To Thee. There were 100 people present. Just as the grave was made ready to receive the earth, John G. and Gill White, brothers of William White, the deceased, rode up. They live in Winchester, and Theodore Cundiff went to Winchester to get them. Cundiff accidentally shot himself this morning at Pigeon Roost Hill. He has a flesh wound in the leg. The killing is the result of the Howard-Baker Feud. The Whites have shown a great sympathy for the Howards.
On the 19th, just as I was starting to Hyden, I saw William White (the deceased) jump onto Jim Tish Philpot, a mulatto, and beat and cuff him. It seems that Philpot was an ally of the Bakers. White was drunk. During his term of office, four years in length, he acquired the habit of drink. He has been the most offensive citizen of the county since I have been here. He was often drunk, and at such times he was insulting and disagreeable. He has a fine farm, a wife, and several children; he was about 35 years old. The Whites will now help the Howards to exterminate the Bakers. The Garrards have been in the habit of going on the bonds of the Bakers, I am told, so they are counted as allies of the Bakers by the Howard-White faction. If there could be such an upheaval here, as the French-Eversole War made in Perry County, we would have a new era in this county.
The old White-Garrard Feud has been going on for 50 years but has never broken out in a violent form. It has kept the county back in moral and educational progress and has really protected crime, as each took sides in nearly every trouble that has come up in the county. James Howard, who killed George Baker, came in and gave himself up about a month ago. Sid Baker, his brother-in-law, who shot Charley Outen, an ally of the Bakers, came in and gave himself up a few days ago. For this past week or ten days, the Howards and their friends have carried their Winchesters all the time. James Howard, two of his brothers, and Sid Baker, his brother-in-law, do this. The past few days a large number of the Whites and their friends have been under arms. I suppose there are 30 Winchesters in town today. The Bakers were in town a few days ago but kept off the streets.
Al Baker rode into town, and Jim Howard, seeing him, pointed at him with his Winchester but was prevented from doing any violence. Sheriff Beverly White, brother of the deceased William White, was present but no notice was taken of it.
Yesterday, Miss Ibbie Baker, sister of the Baker boys, was at the Lucas Hotel where I board. She sent for me to come out on the street and escort her out of town, as she feared the Howards would kill her. I complied, though I could not believe she was in danger, yet other people thought differently. We met Miss Emma Baker, another sister, as we returned from the burial today. Many people believe Jim Howard would kill who came to Virginia from Dorsetshire, England, in 1625.

About 1800, ______ Witherspoon, a native of Scotland, said to be a brother of John, the signer of the Declaration of Independence, lived near Raleigh, North Carolina, and was quite old when he married a young woman. In 1809 his two sons, John and Hardy, and his daughter, Betsy, moved to Allen County, Kentucky. There may have been other children, probably a daughter, Fannie.

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