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
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
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.
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
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.