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.

Baker - Howard Feud
I was at Manchester a little while this morning. Old man Wright told me that he heard Gilbert say, in the courthouse, when he signed Tom Baker's bond for arson, "I am for the Bakers, right or wrong. They are my friends, and I will stand by them." Gilbert Garrard is a nice man, a moral man, a clever and good citizen, but such statements as that put into action will ruin any country. Lloyd Walker says Jim Garrard said on the streets of Manchester last winter, drunk, to the Bakers, "Kill who you please, we will stand by you," Last week General Garrard went on John Baker's bond, which took him out of the Barbourville Jail and turned him loose on the country. The White boys, John G., Will, who was killed; and Bev., have been doing a great many reckless things, insulting men, running over them rough shod, and bullying them on every hand. The friends of the Garrards have been the victims of injustice very largely, though it is not confined to them. It is such things that make feudal wars. It has made this one. The Whites and Garrards are people of brains and wealth, but like other mortals they have their faults and cannot call these faults virtues. I heard the trial of Tom Baker's son and a fellow named Barrett, yesterday, for the killing of Wilson Howard and Stores. Mr. Hacker testified under oath that Tom Baker, Barrett, and Jim Baker, Tom's son, killed Howard and Stores; that they told him that if he told it they would kill him, and this was the reason that he testified just the opposite at the examining trial of Tom Baker. A woman made a similar statement, excusing her of perjury. It seems that one John Baker, half-brother to George Baker, hence half-uncle to Tom Baker, has turned against Tom and the others of the family, and he is stirring up this prosecution. There seems now a fair prospect of bringing the Bakers to justice. If the assassins of Gilbert Garrard could be convicted and about four more men either converted or killed, we would have a permanent peace. One of Tom Baker's brothers, D. or Gerrard, perhaps gave a$20 note to Bige Hampton to collect. Alan Baker, his brother, saw it and tore it up, telling Bige that it was forgery. Smallpox is reported in this county, and the town will probably be quarantined tomorrow. Tom Baker's second son was held to answer for drawing a pistol on Bal Howard last winter. He is out on bond. The criminal record of this county is fearful, so many men have killed their men and have thus made so many orphans and widows. It is a small thing here to kill a man. It is so common. I remember when I first went to Breathitt County how I was shocked at the stolid indifference with which the news was received of a killing near town one Sunday afternoon. No one seemed moved. No one offered to go and see about the dead man or arrest the murderer. They laughed about it. David Lunce-ford, a strong and stubborn half-deaf man, had killed a young (boy) man that had come to his house and raised a disturbance with him, then had gone away and came back either with a weapon or some other person and Dave killed him. It is so all over these mountains.

M. C. Horton
July 9, 1898

News comes today that William Treadway's horse was shot six times and killed last night in Mrs. Lucas' livery stable in Manchester. He had bought the horse from Tom Baker. I have not learned upon whom suspicion rests. Treadway has not been a partisan in (any) sense in the troubles. He and Reuben Woods guided Alan Baker from the store in town into which Jim ran him from a few weeks ago, to his residence. This is all I have heard. This was done at the insistence of Woods, the town marshal. A man named Beatty came to Gilbert Gerrard today and said that a compromise was desired. Gilbert said he did not know who to compromise with. A party of Cincinnati people are camping at the salt furnace tonight. They came to Berea on the train, then got horses, and are going through to Middlesboro. The ladies ride with a spur on either side of their horses. It is just a pleasure party taking an outing. The attitude of the United States toward the nations of Europe today is gratifying in the highest degree. At the beginning of this war, Germany, France, and Russia were very critical in their notice of our methods and showed great partiality to Spain. Our newspapers took up the matter and commented upon it. Our merchants began to boycott them. Orders for goods were cancelled and no new ones made. The tone of the press in those countries has changed materially. They are all praises now. We have furnished them vast amounts of provisions this year. England depends upon us for the most she eats and for the cotton for her mills. Self-interest ties all these people to us. They can't afford to fall out with us. This is a mighty power to maintain peace. This is what we want. May Heaven grant us this boon. As far as the weaker nations of Europe are concerned, we have nothing to fear from them. Heaven has certainly favored us above every nation under the sun.

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