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 Washington White
Manchester, Kentucky
March 7, 1898

I am a son of Hugh White. My father came to Kentucky before Alex (1799), Margaret (1800), John (1802), and Susan (1804).
I have always understood that Bollings first made salt, at the Upper Lick, in pots. My grandfather's name was William White. He died on Yellow Creek. My grandfather was Irish. I had an Uncle Washington who lived and died in Louisiana. Aunt Isabella married first Benson, then Felix Gilbert, Sr. Nancy married a Baugh. She died on Goose Creek; he went I know not where.
I have a sister, Sallie Russell, now living in Richmond, 84 years old. John Gilbert said he loaned my father $360 when he was starting in business, not knowing whether or not he would ever get it again.
Claiborne White was not related to our family. Uncle James White sent him here to sell goods for him on the hill in Manchester. He married my sister Susan. My Uncle James was a man of great energy and sagacity. He was a good judge of men and said he was rarely deceived. He used everybody to carry out his purpose. He had ten children, and I think he left them about $100,000 each.
My father was poor when he began life. My grandmother owned some slaves, when I knew her in her old age, on Yellow Creek in Bell County.

Dr. T. M. Hill, Sr.
I was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky, January 28, 1842. My father was Carey A. Hill. He was born in Queenstown, Ireland, I think. He died in October 1845. His father, Clement C. Hill; and his uncles, Thomas and John Hill, came with him. Tom settled in Perryville. Clement C. settled in Marion County now. They came with him, his mother, Nancy Douglas Hill, and her brothers, Samuel Mathews and William Douglas.
My father had a brother, George Duglas Hill, who settled in Texas before Texas was a state. W. Duglas Hill of Williamsburg may be my relative, I do not know. My mother's name was Sarah Marshall. She was raised in Franklin County, Virginia, but came to Kentucky the year before she was married, about 1829. She lived and died in Jefferson County, as did my father.
I came to Clay County in 1869. I began my study of dentistry with Dr. Rudd of Cincinnati in 1858. I practiced in Louisville first until 1861, then at Lebanon until I came here. About 1878 or 1879, after Bob Potter had made an assignment, Robert Bradley of Lancaster, father of Governor William O. Bradley, came to the Clay Circuit Court. He had formerly visited this court but had not been here for a long time. I got him a fee of $600 from Robert Potter's mother. They had sold their interest in Barton Potter's estate for $5,000 each and had never paid anything to them. They were about to lose all they had. Mr. Bradley took the case and made perhaps the speech of his life before the court, Judge Randall. At that time he was old, his hair was white as cotton and very long. He showed the court the law, and then to win this community, he led out into a speech which was for pathos, for eloquence, and for power, and was never overpassed at the Bar of Clay County. It was published in the Mountain Echo. Judge Robertson of Lexington defended Dr. Baker, who was hung here. He made one of the greatest speeches of his life.
General Hugh White was very ill and had Dr. Letcher of Richmond to see him. He could do nothing for him, could give no encouragement. Dr. William Reid, who had been refused his daughter, Susan, by the General, was sent for. He was playing cards with Col. John Lucas when he received the message. "Let him die and go to hell," exclaimed Dr. Reid. Colonel Lucas expostulated and prevailed on him to go. He told Mrs. White to come to the door at midnight and he would report. She did so and he said, "He will recover." He did recover.
General White met Dr. Reid in Manchester and asked his bill. "I will make it out promptly," responded the doctor. He did so and presented it to him. "One visit $500," was the way it read. "Why is that too much?" said the General. With an oath the doctor said, "If your life is not worth $500 you ought to have died." General went to Colonel Lucas and asked him to see if he could get the doctor to relent. Colonel Lucas told him that he had gone at his ernest solicitation and he did not feel at liberty to interfere now, but for him to pay it, as that was the only way out. He did so. I got a fee for $1,000 for Robert Bradley of Barbourville, after the Potter fee, here.

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