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
January 29, 1898
afternoon with Dr. Sandlin I visited Mr. Owsley's school on Horse
Creek. He had a model school for 52 pupils. He is related to
Governor Owsley's family. He had perfect order and model work.
Everybody was interested. In the district there are 83 children
in the school age, and he made an average of 61 and two-fifths
for the five months term of free school which closed a month
ago. He has finished a month of his subscription school.
I stayed all night with Bro. Mike Horton, a brother-in-law of
General Garrard. He is 78 years old, has nearly run his race,
and yet I fear he is not prepared to die.
I spent the day at Judge B. P. White's. It was pleasant indeed
with such delightful ladies: his wife, two daughters, and Miss
Fannie their cousin. O that they had full salvation. Tonight
there is a dance in full progress at the Lucas Hotel Now at 10:00
p.m. they are dancing away in the dining room. O that this revelry
may be broken up by the power of God. I am ready to endure all
things for the elect's sake.
I have just returned from prayer meeting. There were three men
and two boys present besides the sexton, a colored man. A letter
from Bro. May this afternoon reports him teaching a singing school
in the church at Hyden with 40 scholars at $1 each. This will
enable him to live while he calls the people to repentance. I
am making poor progress here; I am standing by faith. The zeal
of the young converts has abated. The people do not attend the
regular services as a rule, of course, come. I have seen a community
so dead to everything like religion. Then there is so much outbreaking
In this hotel, cards are being played in two rooms while I write;
one the main office which I passed coming in, and in an adjoining
room. I can hear the cards shuffling. I think everybody about
the place swears and several of them the most blasphemous people
I ever saw or heard.
The news of the R. N. & S. B. Railroad will be extended to
either Pineville or Jellico, the coming season or that work will
begin. The road would come through Clay County, but it is not
certain that it would come by Manchester. I have already selected
two points in the county where I want to plant churches viz.
at the mouth of Big Creek and at the junction of Goose Creek
and Red Bird. I'm sure God wants the people there saved and I
think these points will be centers by and by. I see no way to
do this work but to get godly, young men and women to come and
teach in such neighborhoods and use them to teach winter schools
in the churches.
Last Monday, a week ago, hearing that Judge Parker was very ill
I went to see him. His wife and himself pressed me to stay from
day to day as the judge was dangerously ill and unsaved. I remained
until Sunday morning. The judge was somewhat anxious about his
soul. I prayed with him a great deal, read the Bible to him,
and helped wait on him. He is full of promises to reform. He
seemed a little better Sunday morning when I left to meet my
appointment in Benge.
I preached at Burning Springs Tuesday night. It is only two or
three miles from Judge Parker's house. That was the only time
I left the place, save to visit a poor blind woman in the neighborhood.
I preached at Benge Sunday morning and attended a Union prayer
meeting at Bro. Lewis' of the Disciples Sunday afternoon. I reached
home today with a boil on my ankle, which greatly retards my
locomotion. I spent the week doing all I could to lead people
to Christ. Praise God.