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.

March 19, 1898
I have been at my Benge appointment since the 11th. Preached Sunday the 13th. Married P. McDaniell and Laura Brigman on Wednesday night the 16th at Rev. Isaac Brigman's house. I visited 20 families. I got 39 saw logs "pitted" and teams engaged to haul them to the saw mill as soon as the roads are solid. The interest in the church building seems good. I had not been able to visit many of the people since I have been in the county. With the building of the church, a new era will begin in that community. Three distilleries curse it, but if prayers are answered they will be removed. I predict for the community a bright future, though at present there is much bad conduct.
Last Sunday at Pleasant Grove Church two drunk men disturbed the meeting just after adjournment. One of them is now in jail for the offense and paying his fine.
Praise God for a place in His service. I visited two persons last night and today who will likely soon die.

March 20, 1898
I attended both Baptist and Union Sunday Schools today and preached morning and night. We had about 30 in the morning and 20 at night.
I took the library which Miss Bennett sent us to the church today, and the children seemed pleased to get the books.
Brother Baker, the young Baptist preacher, has concluded to stay and labor here, and I am glad, as we need more workers. There is little yet seen as a result of my labor, but I fully expect to see the fruits later on. God has promised and will perform. I feel highly honored of God to have a place in the ministry. It is infinitely above what I deserve, but praise His name He is not dealing with me according to my iniquities. It is His abounding grace that shapes my portion. Praising Him for healing my ankle, at last.

March 21, 1898
Today, the whiskey was voted out of Manchester, and the first magisterial district by a vote of 264 to 20. The day was very pleasant, a good day to work, and yet the farmers came in to vote, of course not all. But considering there was no fight on, it was a large vote.
The saloons have made things so desperately bad that the people were aroused and came forward with a fixed purpose. No one made an attempt to influence votes for whiskey. It was almost like the recent vote in both houses of Congress on the appropriation of $50,000,000 for public defense. Other precincts will follow suit. It is a long step forward toward reform. The battle, however, will come with the blind tigers when the saloons close. There will be a strong effort made to sell, but we hope to drive the sale beyond our borders.
William Treadway, a saloon-keeper, voted against whiskey. James Price and James Stivers were about the only men who talked in favor. I praise God for His favor and trust Him for still greater manifestations of His grace.

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