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.

Third Quarterly Meeting

I came home Saturday morning, found Bro. W. B. Ragan, P. E. here to hold Q. M. He conducted services Saturday morning and night, Sunday morning and afternoon. We paid him his claim of $7.50. He has gotten $15 on the Circuit thus far. Just what I have received. I told him of my plans and purposes and he was well pleased, viz, that I thought of proposing to the people of Manchester to enlarge the school building, and I would open a school this fall, provided the trustees would give it to me. I have looked at the field for six months, have been in correspondence with Rev. J. W. Hughes and Miss Bennett about a teacher here for the coming year, and I do not so much as get a response. I know, in reason, no one else will undertake such an undesirable task, and I feel that the Lord has put me here to serve this country. I see no other way except to undertake the arduous work of teaching here. I told Bro. Ragan that I wanted an understanding with him that as Presiding Elder he would cooperate with me by putting a good man here to preach and by sustaining him by a liberal appropriation. He said he would. Now, men can be found for that work but none for the school because it will not pay. My plan is to employ a lady assistant, who can teach music and primary classes, as I did at Jackson and begin in August next, if the people will build the addition. Of course it will be my work to create sentiment in favor of the enterprise and capitalize that sentiment into action. I think the best thing for the London school is to have a good graded school here and not a church school and perhaps the best for Clay County. The people need to have contact with a higher and better civilization. I mentioned the enterprise today, first to County Judge John Wright, second to Rev. Baker, Baptist minister, and third to Mr. John Treadway, chairman of the Board of Trustees. They all approved. Bro. Baker was enthusiastic and offered to do all in his power for my success. He, at once, told of a cousin of his, Mrs. Hutton of Tazwell, West Virginia, 28 years old, an experienced teacher of music and letters who would come to my assistance he believed, that she was a good Methodist and devout Christian. Mr. Treadway did not believe the people would assume the work of building unless they could be forced to do so, though he would do all that he could to help me on the enterprise. I told him that was all I asked of him, that Bro. Baker and I would look after the sentiment. I had promised myself never to teach again, but if God will is it, I am willing, hard though it be. The salvation and elevation of this people can be accomplished in no other way in my opinion.

April 15, 1898
I have been discussing school with the people, yesterday and today. They seem to think nothing can be done. The present school is entirely sufficient for the needs of the district so the county superintendent has no power to condemn it and give the trustees the opportunity to levy a tax for an additional room. If one is built it must be done by subscription. But there is not more than 125 by 200 feet of land in the lot. I would not be a party to improving such a lot and yet the house on it is 4 years old. The land adjoining is garden land and cannot be condemned. We can purchase on one side but not on the other. I have written to the State Superintendent to know whether or not the trustees can buy and collect taxes for the purchase of ground as well as when it is condemned. I will keep agitating the subject till something is accomplished or till I see that nothing can be done.
The Baker-Howard examine trial goes on, 30 guards on duty.

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