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.

Hell For Certain For Sartin
March 27, 1898

I preached at a schoolhouse on the Hell For Certain Creek about 2 1/4 miles. The creek was 7 1/2 miles long. It was Brother Apperson Sizemore's appointment. He holds monthly meetings there. The house is 28x24 feet gables covered with clapboards. There were about 75 persons present, 50 indoors and 25 out. There were the following names present: Sizemore, Woods, Osborne, Wooten, Griffin, Jones, Begley, North, Munsey, Roberts, Napier. These are all. They began to go out when I began to preach, but I turned a boy back and stood in the door to prevent anything further of that kind. I said, "It must be settled right now. Who is going to stay and who is going?" There was no further effort to go out. I preached 40 minutes on "Son, remember." I read part of Psalm 139, Mark and the rich man and Lazarus. Luke 16 "Memory is a blessing in Heaven and on Earth, a curse in Hell" was the theme. After showing that memory was the undying worm and the unquenchable fire I urged them to read often Luke 16 and always remember when they read it that "That is Hell for Certain." Daniel Wooten conducted Sunday School before service began. He called the roll of scholars and required them to come out and take their places in a line when their names were called. Standing then, he examined them on the lesson, "The Syn, Phoenician Woman," asking questions from the quarterly. At the opening he had his little ten-year-old son read the second chapter of Matthew and lead in prayer. The little boy could not speak nor hear well, his hair hung down in his eyes, cut straight across like bangs. This school existed two years ago, but last year it was not kept up. They have begun it this year of their own accord. Blevins Huff, the Superintendent, was not present. His P. O. is Confluence. There was good order and good attention during the school exercises. Mr. Wooten lined and the congregation sang "I Am Not Ashamed Of My Own Lord." Other songs during the services of the hour were, "Amazing Grace, How Sweet The Sound," "Am I A Soldier of the Cross," and "Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone." They sang well. I saw five women chewing tobacco and spitting on the floor. The men did likewise. The superintendent spit amber all the time he was hearing the class. The faces of the congregation were as good looking as the same number of people in almost any audience in the state. They were fairly well dressed. Several of the men, including Mr. Wooten, would look well in any audience. The house was at the side of the branch not far from the main stream, high mountains rearing their heads on either side. The hills are covered with timber. The house had no glass, just an open window in the front gable and a long window on the side. Brother Sizemore and I dined at Brother John North's. His mother is 85 years old. Her father was a Wilder, her mother a Sizemore. She told me much of the early times. We had an excellent dinner: chicken, eggs, blackberry pie, dried apple roll, biscuits, etc. At 3:00 p.m. I preached at Brother Felix Begley's one mile from the mouth of Bull Creek. I preached on "John, the Baptist." The people listened with great attention. God gave me liberty. One joined the church at the morning service. Sister Sizemore shouted at the afternoon service.
Tonight Brothers Sizemore and John North came down to Brother Begley's, where I am staying, and talked, sang, and had three prayers, Brothers North, Martin, and Sizemore. Thank God for today. (J. J. D.)
Families living on Hell for Sartin: three Begleys; three Jones (brothers); two Griffins; Dan Wooton; John Napier; Hiram Osborne; John Munsey; two Woods; Father Wade and Carol, son, Will Osborne; 15 families; about 75 souls.

The Name "Hell for Sartin"
Two hunters parted to meet at the mouth of this creek. It had no name. One waited at the mouth until his patience was exhausted. When the other came, the impatient man asked, "Which way did you come?" "Down this Hell Creek," was the reply. "Well, it is Hell for Sartin," replied he. The date of this is not known but was early in the settling of the country. Bull Creek got its name as follows: John Amis shot a big bull buffalo as he stood under the shadow of the great rock, fighting the flies. This gave it the name. (Felix Begley tells me that old Aggie Sizemore, the wife of "Old George of All," used to roast terrapins alive as the Indians used to do. Other things that he told me made me sure she was the Cherokee instead of Sizemore. J. J. D.) Old Aggie wanted to take a skull which was found under a cliff for a soap dish.

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