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.

M. H. Horton's
Goose Creek, Kentucky
July 3, 1898

I stayed at Dr. Burchell's near Manchester last night. This morning I attended Sunday School at the Burchell schoolhouse. I preached at town at 10:30 on "Missions," dined at Dr. Manning's and tonight I am at Brother Horton's, one of our oldest members. About 9:00 this morning, as Gilbert Garrard and his wife were on their way to the Pace's Creek schoolhouse to hold Sunday School, two shots were discharged at him, one piercing his coat and the other cutting his horse. He cried out, "Oh Lord, I am shot." His wife said, "No, you are not, get away from here quick." He obeyed, and she looked around and saw where the smoke was 23 yards distant. The parties were concealed in the undergrowth with a mountain of timber behind them. Upon examination, the place where they were secreted showed that two or three men had been there. There were chicken bones and wrapping paper where they had eaten breakfast. They ran as their tracks showed and were worse scared than either Mr. Garrard or his wife. There has been a very bitter feeling between the Garrards and the Whites with greater or less intensity for many years, but it has never been so bitter as during the last eight months. The cause of this is the race for sheriff between Gilbert Garrard and B. P. White, just last November. Since then there have been frequent clashes that came near ending in death. Since the Whites have suffered in the death of William White, Fr (?). This feeling has been more intensified by the fact that Gilbert Garrard went on Tom Baker's bond last November when he was indicted for arson, though this was before the Whites and Bakers became enemies. The Whites hold this against him, I have heard some of them say. Last week General Garrard went on John Baker's bond who is in the Barboursville jail. This I think has caused the smoldering embers to blaze up, and the assault this morning is the result.

M. H. Horton's
Goose Creek
July 11, 1898

The Garrards think they are drawing a coil around the would-be assassins of Gilbert Garrard. They have evidence that implicates six persons. Three they think were in ambush. A man who has no interest whatever in Sunday Schools asked some children in the neighborhood when the Paces Sunday School meets, whether morning or afternoon. I changed from morning to afternoon about a month ago. The 16-year-old daughter of this man was heard to say, "I would not go to Pace's Sunday School on Sunday for $2,000." The father is capable of doing such a deed. Circumstances throws suspicion on others. The Bakers must be bad men. They have that name. They have always escaped punishment. They have been on rather intimate terms with the Garrards though so far beneath them socially. Both are Democrats and both are active in campaigns. The Bakers are now at war with the Whites, and the Whites interpret the action of the Garrards in going on bonds of the Bakers as an effort to destroy them. The Garrards deny the charge, saying it is only to repay them for past favors and that the Bakers have never been proven to be bad men in the courts. On my arrival here yesterday afternoon, I found that Mr. James Carnahan, a tenant on Mr. Horton's place, was very low with the flux. I went to see him last night and have been with him a good part of today. He says he is ready. His father was born in County Down, Ireland, and fought under Wellington at Waterloo. He is a good man. This is the 4th of July, the birthday anniversary of American independence. It is well to celebrate such anniversaries. The distracted condition of society makes it impracticable here. The nation will celebrate, today, this event with a view of the future never before seen. The last few months of national experience have completely turned the views of our people around. They are now looking for a future of helpfulness to other nations. We behold England against whom we rebelled in 1776, folding us to her embrace not as a child but as a sister asking for an Anglo-American alliance and standing behind us in our present benevolent work of freeing Cuba, ready to interfere if any other European hand is laid upon the contests. How things change! Chauncy DePew, at a meeting of his club in New York City a few nights ago said, "I am just home from a trip to Europe. The deeds of Dewey and Hobson have done more to elevate us as a nation in the eyes of the world than any diplomat could accomplish." Now is added the destruction of Admiral Cervera's fleet at Santiago, which was accomplished yesterday. At 9:00 a.m., the fleet or part of it slipped out of the harbor and attempted to escape. It was pursued by Admiral Sampson. At 2:00 p.m, the rest came out, and every ship was destroyed and 1,300 prisoners taken, Admiral Cervera being one of them. There was but one man lost of the Americans and one wounded. Shafter has given the Spaniards 24 hours to surrender Santiago, and if that is not done in that time, he will begin to bombard the city. It will certainly be surrendered. Today, the news came that General Anderson had reached Manila with reinforcements. On the way, the Ladrone Islands were captured. The fall of Manila will be looked for every hour till it surrenders. Perhaps the nation has never had so much to rejoice over, in addition to the great fact of her own independence, as today. Pemberton surrendered Vicksburg to Grank July 4, 1863. This was a great event in the history of the Civil War. It may require a great deal of fighting to conquer the Spaniards on the Island of Cuba yet, but there will be great pains taken to prevent the sacrifice of human life. Havana will probably be besieged and bloodshed thus averted. General Blanco, Governor General of Cuba, has declared his intentions of committing suicide rather than fall into the hands of Americans.

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