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.

Gilbert Garrard
June 10, 1898

Last night I stayed at Pittman Reid's. His wife is a member of the Methodist Church, a daughter of Judge White, and a very bright woman. I dined at James Root's. His aged father has gangrene in his foot and must die. He is nearly 81 years old. I dined today at Thomas White's. His wife is of Ringold, Georgia. Her parents were Methodists. Tonight I am here, having called on General Garrard this afternoon. These people are Baptists.
Judge Brown returned today with state troops. He will now proceed to administer justice. I feel that he has acted wisely. He was at the mercy of one faction, as they were principal officers of the court, sheriff and clerk. The people are not fit to try cases, as they are afraid to convict men. The cases should be (tried) transferred to some other county. I trust that will be done. The work which Judge Brown has on his hands is delicate and difficult. May God guide him. The soldiers are from Louisville and Peewee Valley. The people will rejoice at deliverance.

June 11, 1898
Benge, Kentucky

This morning I came to Manchester. There I found 37 soldiers. It is a Peewee Valley Company, Captain McCain, Colonel Forrester, Assistant Adg. General of Kentucky is with them. They came in yesterday afternoon. Judge Brown left Manchester Wednesday morning about daylight, and Friday afternoon he had the soldiers on the ground. He went to Frankfort in person. This is pretty quick work. He found after two days' observation that this was necessary, and his conclusion was correct. There is not the respect for local authority necessary to enforce the law. Again, the Whites are the officers, and they are now parties to the feud. If Judge Brown will do as Judge Lilly did in Perry County, indict all the parties and then transfer the cases to some other county without bond, he will stop bloodshed. If, however, a few more men were killed, it would go a long way toward permanent peace. First class funerals are greatly needed here. This may seem harsh, but it is true. If all the participants in the feud were in prison for four months, they would become quiet and pacific. Their wrath would assuage, and in a distant county the guilty might be convicted, and the proper punishment inflicted. A better sentiment must be formed here before we can have a permanent peace. There is such a disposition to take sides. The Whites and the Garrards have had strife so long that their people, or many of them, seem to think that is the proper thing, at least the thing they like to have. I met my old friend, Baxter, a reporter of Lexington. He had written me for an account of this feud a few days ago, but I did not feel that I could afford to give it to him, but I took him into a room at the Lucas Hotel where he is stopping and gave him a great deal of the inside of things. He was ready to leave but woefully ignorant of the true status. He had seen but one side. I did this in the interest of truth and justice. I felt that I would be guilty if I allowed falsehood to be published when I had such an excellent opportunity to give the truth. It is sometimes criminal to keep silent.

June 12, 1898
Benge, Kentucky

I lodged last night at Bro. Joseph Rigg's, a very intelligent Christian man, S. School superintendent, and steward. This morning I attended S. S. preached at 10:30 on, "Bodily exercises profiteth little but Godliness is profitable unto all things, etc." At 4:00 p. m. I preached on, "I exercise myself always to have conscience void of offense toward God and man." The Lord helped me at both services, especially the latter. At the afternoon service Miss _____ Fields joined the church. She is the daughter of a Campbellite preacher, J. N. Fields. Her father is talking of joining, I learn, with his wife. The congregations were fairly good at both services, especially in the afternoon. O, for the salvation of these people. God is able to stop the three distilleries which are pouring out their floods of liquor over this country. With these closed out, a new era would begin.

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