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.

Manchester, Kentucky
December 6, 1897
I borrowed 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.

Manchester, Kentucky
December 8, 1897
Last Sunday 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 converted.
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!

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