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.

William Cornett
Coon Creek, Leslie County
January 17, 1898

I was born in Perry County, Kentucky, February 3, 1814, on Leatherwood Creek. My father's name was Archibald Cornett. He was born in East Tennessee on either Little or Big Moccasin. His father's name was James Cornett, who came to Perry County, Kentucky, when my father was a boy seven to ten years old. My father was 84 years old when he died in 1873. This would make the coming of the Cornetts to Kentucky from 1796 to 1799. My grandfather was married twice, once to a Gillam and once to an Everedge. He had children as follows: Nathaniel, Samuel, Roger, Archibald, William, John, Robert, Lucy (Woolery Eversole), Elizabeth (Campbell), and Nancy (Samuel Combs). Archibald, my father, married Judy McDaniel. Robert married a Combs. Roger married Charlotte Callahan. I have been married three times. First, Nancy Mainyard; second, Rebecca Morgan; third, Malinda Garrison. Most of these families were large. There were eight in my father's family, and they all lived to have grandchildren. I was the oldest and am the only one living.
I believe I have killed 30 bears in my life and from 500 to 1,000 deer. I killed 21 in one season at a lick and never missed a shot. My father-in-law said he killed 705 in five years. He kept tally on his gun stock. He sold the hams and the hides and said he made more money than at anything else he ever did. Wild turkeys were abundant. There are a good many in this country yet.
Old Frederick Lewis was the first teacher I ever had in school. Old David Fee is the best teacher I ever went to. Brashears was next.
Old Robert Hicks was the first preacher that I remember. He was a Baptist. My father and mother were members of the Baptist Church. My grandfather, Lewis (Cornett?), was not a member of the church, but his wife was.
We had hand mills when I was a boy. We also had pound mills run by a sweep and later pound mills run by water power. Stories are told of mice, rats, and many things getting pounded up with the meal. One story is told of a cow who learned to take out a mouthful while the pestle was lifted. We used graters when corn was soft.
My great-grandfather was a Revolutionary soldier. I do not know whether he was a private or an officer or what regiment he was in.
My grandfather was in the War of 1812. He was in the Horse Shoe Battle and in the Battle of New Orleans. Robert Cornett married Charlotte Callahan. Roger married Zilpah Callahan. Robert lived in Benge. His son, Isaac, moved to Madison County.

Reuben Maggard
Wooten, Kentucky
January 18, 1898

I was born in Letcher County, March 5, 1840. My father was born in Virginia. When he was a small boy, my grandfather moved to the Poor Fork of the Cumberland. My father's name was John, my grandfather's name, Sam-uel. My grandfather's children were David, Samuel, John, Moses, James, Reuben, and Rebecca, who married Boggs, the father of Jesse Boggs of Hazard, now wife of John S. Combs near Hazard. Another daughter, Margaret, married an Adams, and they removed to Missouri.

Samuel Maggard
January 20, 1898

I am a brother of Reuben Maggard. I was born in Harlan County, now Letcher, January 20, 1826. I am 72 years old today. I think my grandfather came from North Carolina. My grandmother was a Robison. My mother was an Adams. In 1847 my father removed to Cutshin, two miles below the Fords. My father's children were Henry, Isaac, Moses, Samuel, Jesse, John, Reuben, Gilbert, Polly, Rebecca, Nancy, and Sallie. Polly married a Boggs, Rebecca married Basil Lewis of Harlan, Nancy married John Melton, and Sallie married Jackson Baker.


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