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
December 6, 1897
a horse from Dr. Manning Saturday afternoon, went out to Mr.
Carnahan's, stayed all night, and went to Benge yesterday morning;
but it was the preaching day of the "Campbellites."
I got in a talk in reviewing the Sunday School lesson at the
close of the service conducted by Elder Cornett. I dined at Bro.
Brigman's. I saw Miss Georgia Stivers and told her I had a home
for her at Mrs. Lucy J. Williams in London, which news was gratefully
received. She goes next Thursday. I trust she will develop into
a useful woman. She is bright, good-looking, and religious. Bro.
Brigman's family were very appreciative of my efforts to educate
Helen, their daughter. Miss Stivers is her cousin. They will
be company for each other at London.
I returned to Mr. Carnahan's and stayed all night. I came home
this morning. Bro. Pickett wrote Saturday that he would not come
Tuesday but later. This confuses me. I had dodgers printed for
Tuesday, but the Lord is in it, and all will be well. O Lord
give salvation to this people. Bro. May had a good day here yesterday.
December 8, 1897
a number of the leading young men of the town and county were
drunk on the streets, fighting, yelling, and brawling. Yesterday
Sheriff-elect Bev White, Jr., and William Treadway, ex-marshall,
emptied their revolvers at each other; but nobody was hurt. Today
some man was drunk and shooting on the street. He met Mrs. Burchell
and the girls coming to church tonight and shot on the highway.
Thus things go. Monday the petition was filed, but this cannot
relieve us for 12 months. O that we might get the saloon keepers
I have been at Col. D. Y. Lyttle's the last 24 hours, writing
up his life and much else of mountain history. He is in his 80th
year. I got much valuable information. This afternoon Bro. L.
L. Pickett and Dr. McDonald came to receive Dr. Burchell's three
daughters and Miss Emma Lyttle into the Presbyterian Church.
They were converted on one meeting. He goes back tomorrow. I
got him up a good audience by going to each house after sundown.
Bro. Pickett is feeble. He sang tonight and talked a minute or
so at my request at the close of the service about the meeting.
We must have it, or we fail. But He has promised it, if we only
believe. O for the faith of an Abraham! Nothing short of it is
equal to the work here. Sin and the devil reign. The town is
under a curse and has been for 50 years. O for its deliverance
from these hard masters. O for the holy fire to fall on my heart
and fit me for this work. God send the fire on us all!