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
This is the
last day of the year. It is 9:00 p.m. Bro. May is with me. Mrs.
Lucas asked us to change our room after supper to give place
for a man and his wife who wished to board here. She asked us
to take a little room with the ceiling only four feet high on
one side, but large enough to give us room to walk about where
the ceiling is higher than our heads. The room is comfortable,
ceiled with grate, and here we sit by a good coal fire; happy
as though we were in a marble palace.
It has snowed all day. A number of men had a big time shooting
Roman candles at each other. They laughed and shot and shot and
laughed. It was some of our best citizens, but two became angry
at length and all quit.
There was a dance at Tom White's last night and somewhere tonight.
I am happy, happy, happy. I feel that the blood of Jesus Christ
cleanseth me from all sin. I have victory every moment. O how
sweet to have Christ an abiding guest.
This year I have seen the Sue Bennett Memorial School building
completed and the school opened in it. The success of the enterprise
is all I ever anticipated. A splendid faculty of six teachers
with perhaps 200 students, next Tuesday, will be in the magnificent
building. A joy of all that look upon it. The possibilities of
this institution are wonderful. The turning of Clay County patronage
thither, which seemed almost impossible, has been accomplished.
Prof. Carnahan's going settled that question. Then I have gotten
out into purely ministerial work once more this year. This I
have long desired. Not until this year have I felt strong enough
to do it in 17 years. Again this year I have reached Manchester
and Clay County, the consummation of a purpose long in my mind,
then the single victory given me in my efforts here, is cause
of continual thanksgiving. The outlook is bright, looked at from
a position on the promises. How wonderfully God has led me.
Sin still runs riot here. Sixteen saloons in the county, give
of them in town and the consequent evil, but God is able to overthrow
them all and inaugurate a reign of righteousness, and I firmly
believe he will do it. I praise God that the work of redeeming
the mountains is so graciously going on. There are schools in
every county seat now, except Manchester. There are schools of
high grade. McKee has none. What an advance in 15 years. I feel
like shouting God's praises for calling me into this work. I
am now beginning in the worst county in the mountains, morally
or as bad, and especially the county seat, but I was never happier
nor ever more delighted with my work.
I am lying in God's hands, not so anxious to do as be. I have
learned that the highest attainment in grace is "to be what
God wants us to be." I want to be so filled with the Holy
Ghost that through me God can accomplish His will. I know not
what the future will bring me, but I know it will all be for