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
February 20, 1898
I have been in my room unable to walk for five days. My ankle
has improved and is about free of pain, but I still cannot put
my weight on my right foot. I have sat in my chair all this time,
with my foot lying on a pillow before me, the leg being elevated
on a level with the hip joint. The doctor lanced the rising yesterday
afternoon. The swelling extended from knee to toes, but most
of that was gone down. I have been otherwise perfectly well.
I have read and written almost constantly. There have been but
few in to see me, so I have had the time to myself, as usual,
when in my room.
The pulpit, of course, was not filled during Sunday School at
both churches. In the Homilite Review I noticed that the Southern
Presbyterian Church, for the church year 1896-1897, that 1,242
out of 2,812 churches report not a single addition. In the Congregational
Church last year 1,400 congregations reported no conversions.
In the Northern Presbyterian they reported 1,750. Last year the
Southern Presbyterian had 707 churches. In these churches additions
and conversions are synonymous, that is in name and number. This
is fearful. Perhaps there are more such churches in the Methodist
denomination because they are more numerous. The machinery of
the church was never so good, but there is a lack of power. The
world has gotten into the church and that crowds the Holy Spirit
Clarence B. Strouse of Salem, Virginia, has started a "Religious
Review of Reviews." I have seen the first number. The finding
in Egypt recently of a few leaves of a book called The Sayings
of Jesus is attracting attention. Proofs of the Bible are constantly
increasing, and so it will continue. Amen!
Tonight an attempt was made to kill one Davidson, a deputy sheriff.
Some half-dozen shots were fired, these taking effect, one in
Davidson's thigh, another in his horse's neck, another in his
horse's leg. As I sat in my room in the second floor of the Lucas
Hotel, I could hear the bullets whiz through the air. I have
not heard who did the shooting. Davidson and his brother had
a shooting match with others in town in December, but no one
was hurt. Since I came into the county on October 8, 1897, there
has been much fighting.
A Philpot and a Bundy were both killed in a row at Beatty's Saloon
on Horse Creek in December. The latter lingered a week or two.
A Gregory was shot over the bridge over Little Goose Creek in
a fight with the Bennetts. There were half-dozen of the latter,
but one of the former. He vanquished them. They followed him
to town to kill him. He had beaten them playing cards and won
their money. He recovered. Ben White and Bill Treadway emptied
their pistols at each other on the street, but neither was hurt.
They are good friends now. Ance and John Baker and a Hall and
Campbell fought a pitched battle on Laurel Creek on January 31st.
The Bakers were slightly wounded. Hall's residence and Campbell's
store were both burned that night. At Judge Parker's, at Sexton
Creek on January 29th, Bob Lucas let his pistol off accidentally
breaking the femur of Carlo Marion's left leg. He is getting
on well. On January 5th a Hays man was found dead at the spring
near Little Goose Creek by Stephen Caudell's farm with his pistol
lying by his side. It is supposed it fell out of his jacket while
he was drinking. A few nights ago on Bull Skin, near the Leslie
and Clay County line, a band of Ku Klux or White Caps, thought
to be after Abe Pace, killed a Barger. Abe Pace killed Allen
Lewis in Hyden last year and was sentenced to the penitentiary
for life, but was pardoned on account of his lost health. He
is now a terror to his home and neighbors. He killed his mother's
mule recently and chopped up her furniture. There have been other
violations of law. Howard Benge broke up a service conducted
by Brother May at the Corinth schoolhouse in November or December.
Quarrels, brawls, and pistol drawings are common, too tedious
to mention. Mr. Long of Knoxville, Tennessee, told me that when
I came here after canvassing the county, he concluded that more
money was invested in shooting irons than in agricultural instruments.
Most of the men go armed, and where this is the case, outbreaks
are liable to occur at any time. A little alcohol starts the
battle. There are distilleries in different parts of the county,
and these, with the 16 saloons, put liquor within the reach of
everybody. The disposition to fight and kill is appalling.
I forgot to remark that last county court day, as a young Hensley
man was leaving Woods and Sibert's Saloon in town, leading young
Dan Woods (son of Ruben Woods) whom he had sought to take him
home, the saloonkeeper shot Hensley through the hips and loins,
cutting the rectum. He is recovering. This was unprovoked, Hensley
being an unoffend-ing youth who never had any words with Woods.
Woods was held to answer in a bond of $1,500. A house and barn
were burned on Teges Creek a week or so ago. The owner had been
waylaid and killed previously.