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.

December 16, 1897
Manchester, Kentucky

Bro. Pickett is preaching some wonderful sermons. Monday night he preached on "Influence" and Tuesday night on "Indifference." "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion." I have never heard him or any other man surpass them, for pungency, cogency, power of illustrations, lucidity, and gospel truth. He is a mighty man. He hailed fire and brimstone on dancing. To effect this, I suppose the dancers met en masse at James Reed's, three miles from town, at the old Judge Reed place last night.
As we came from Dr. Bur-chell's to church we met buggies, equestrians, and a two-horse wagon load going. Praise God. Misses Lucretia and Gertrude Reed, who live with their mother in a house in the yard of the "old place," were at church testifying and praying. A few weeks ago they were leaders in the dance. Tuesday night, the 14th, Miss Evans, the teacher at Dr. Burchell's schoolhouse, professed sanctification at church. She is a Presbyterian from Kingston, Green County, Indiana, a most elegant young lady; very devout and consistent. She has been very greatly exercised about sanctification ever since we began our meetings here and after a long struggle she has come out into the light. It is my honest opinion that she has only gotten regeneration, and when she is convinced of that, as she will be by her experience, she will be anxious to go on to sanctification.
Bro. Pickett's sermons will tell on this community. He is breaking up the fallow ground from which will come a great harvest.
I received a letter last night from Bro. B. S. Taylor, pastor of our church at Jackson, urging me to join Bro. Harvey and himself at that place on January 15th in a meeting. I am anxious to go. I think I will write to Bro. Harvey inviting him to Hyden from Jackson and offering to help him there if he will help me at Hyden. My work is so great that I must get all the help that I can. Bro. May could take care of things here while I am at Jackson, so that both of us need not be absent but a short time during the Hyden meeting.

December 17, 1897
Manchester, Kentucky

The dancers are raging over Bro. Pickett's terrible onslaught. He read his attack Tuesday night, and Wednesday night they had a dance. They are muttering over it still. The surgeon evidently pressed the place where the splinter had struck. O that they may be led to repentance.
Last night Bro. Pickett presented his plan for forming a library association. It is to make membership fee $3 to be paid in 12 monthly installments. This money is to be invested in books for a library, to be used only by the members. I hope to get 15 or 20 members. This will give us $45 to $60 worth of books, a good library to begin with.
There have been several professions of sanctification this week. The meeting is doing good. Bro. Pickett is preaching wonderful sermons. They are so strong, clear, and pungent. Glory to God! I want to be like Him and see Him as He is.

December 20, 1897
We closed the meeting last night with the largest attendance yet. Bro. Pickett did not come out. I preached from Matthew 5:14, "Ye are the light of the world." The audience was serious and very attentive. Misses Mary Jose and Lucy Burchell were at the alter for sanctification, but they did not receive the blessing. Bro. Pickett preached a powerful sermon yesterday morning on "This is the will of God, even your sanctification," to a good-sized audience. There was a strong opposition awakened in certain quarters by his denunciations of dancing, but reaction has set in. A number came back to the meeting last night and yesterday.
The series of sermons preached by Bro. Pickett has convinced a great many people that the doctrine of sanctification is a Bible doctrine. He has planted good seed and I believe in good ground. I expect an abundant harvest. The people gave Bro. Pickett $22.40. He stayed at Dr. Burchell's. The following persons professed sanctification: Miss H. H. Evans, Mrs. Burchell, Mrs. Carol Lyttle, Mrs. Bettie Duncan, Miss Rachel Wilder, and Miss Bowling; all professed conversion. The prospect for greater results is bright.
The meeting has opened some homes to me. Having been touched by the sermons, the inmates have been brought closer to me or I to them. Several of those names above who professed sanctification have only been converted in my judgement, but they have found God and have, now, a real experience of grace. They promise much for the cause of God to this community. They have a deep interest in the salvation of the community, have had before but having no genuine experience they had no fervor or no power. Now they have liberty, strength, and power. I praise and thank God for them.
O He has been so good to me since I have been in Manchester. He has blessed my poor efforts with abundant success. There is great opposition in some quarters. We are scoffed at by some. This is usually by persons when drinking. It is an overflow of what is in the heart. The Lucas Hotel, where I am boarding, has then regular borders, and I believe there is not a single one in sympathy with me. The madam of the house has a barroom. Seven of ten boarders are enraged against Bro. Pickett. Bob, the oldest son, gets wild, drunk and curses the "sanctified preachers," downstairs and out in the yard, so we can see him.
As we (Bro. Pickett, May, and I) were returning from church Saturday morning, some fellow just inside the door of Bill Treadway's saloon sang among other things, "Preacher, come in, take a glass of gin." He called us hypocrites. As Bro. May and I were going to church Saturday night, from the same saloon they shot at us with Roman candles. When Bro. May and Pickett were at the hotel with me, one night when we came home from church, the bed clothes were taken off and put under the beds. Similar things occur frequently. The devil is aroused. I am so glad there is something here to stir his ire. A religion that makes the devil mad is genuine. There was not a single addition to the church during the meeting.

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