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.


Michael G. Horton
April 21, 1898

I was born in Scott County, Virginia, near Clinch River, May 24, 1819. My father was Robert Horton. He was born in Culpepper County, Virginia. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. My grandfather was Elijah Horton. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He died at my father's house in Scott County when I was about 10 years old. My mother was Ann Robnett, born in Wythe County, Virginia. There were Hortons in Tazwell County, but I do not know that they are relatives. I had seven brothers and two sisters. They are scattered. I have a brother, John, in Lincoln County, Kentucky. He married a sister of Ben Clark, a prominent man. He first came to London. During the war he bought horses in Laurel adjoining counties and took them to Camp Nelson and sold them to the government. He made Ben Clark's headquarters for collecting and feeding, and he made an alliance with the family by marrying a daughter. Isaac went West, I think, to Missouri. I came to Owsley County, Kentucky, in October 1846. I went into mercantile business. I was twice sheriff of Owsley County, once appointed, afterward elected. I married September 1850, Catherine Frances Garrard, sister of General T. T. Garrard, daughter of Col. James Garrard. I removed to Clay County in 1852. I was twice elected Sheriff of Clay County when Dr. Manning came here to teach. I kept a saloon in Booneville. A man named Reese killed two brothers named Moore at the door of my saloon. Reese got a change of venue to Breathitt. Old Billy Strong, a Baptist preacher, used to stay a good deal about my saloon. He was a great blackguard. When he was drinking, his theme was the Gospel. Another Baptist preacher whose name I cannot recall used to meet him there and they would drink together. There was some controversy between them, and when in their cups it would become very heated. Strong, a small man with a badly crippled leg, used a walking stick. Strong lived about Traveler's Rest. Alex Strong was the father-in-law of George Baker. He was a son of Billy Strong, mentioned above. He had another son, Pike, who was a wild, reckless man. Alex was a sensible man but has since run in a bad channel. He was sneaking, would strike a man in the back. There were many Wilsons about Traveler's Rest.


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