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.



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 out.
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!

February 21, 1898
Manchester, Kentucky

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.


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