Kentucky Genealogy From Dr. John J. Dickey's Diary

Editor's Note: We continue our series of interviews taken from Dr. John J. Dickey's famous diary. Dr. Dickey of Fleming County, founder of several schools and churches, traveled throughout Eastern and Central Kentucky some 100 years ago, interviewing older residents. In most cases, he wrote down their very words while compiling a diary of several thousand pages. Each month we include a few lines from this remarkable man's diary, which he kept faithfully for over 50 years.


Owens Crawford

July 16, 1898

I was born in Lee County, Kentucky, October 16, 1816. My father was Archibald Crawford. He came to Lee County from Clark County, Kentucky in 1812. He came to Kentucky from Virginia. He was a friend and companion of Daniel Boone. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He would not apply for a pension. He said he could get it. He was a boy when he volunteered. His father would not agree for him to go till some neighbor men agreed to look after him in the army. He said they were out of meat; out of everything to eat. He was nine days without food. They lived on sweet mice, birch sap, and anything else they could get.

My father rode a fine filly. They fattened her and were about to kill her, but they did not. He said he was going to kill the man that shot her. He was in the fort with Daniel Boone at Boonesboro. He had brothers: William, Austin, Gideon, Oliver, and Valney. William drowned at the mouth of Miller's Creek. He had been drinking. Austin was killed by a limb in Lee County. Valney died on Miller's Creek, Estill County. He had a large family. Gideon and Oliver died on Holly Creek. Hay is a son of Gideon. Oliver's only son died. William had only two sons, Jeptha and Merryweather, who went to Texas.

Archibald first lived at Maloney Bend for a year or two, then came to Tallega Station. He died during the Civil War at the age of 96. He came up the Kentucky River hunting before he moved here. He and his party named the creeks on the Middle Fork; Turkey Creek, Cutshin, Bee Creek, and others.

My mother was Margaret Brown. My parents had 13 children: Claiborne; Valentine; Oliver; Owen; William (Harry); Simpson; and Al. The two latter boys live in Texas. Oliver still lives in Breathitt County; Elizabeth Cope was the oldest girl; Louvina married John Cope, brother of James; Ora; Cynthia; and Margaret, the youngest. Ora married Jake Bowman, had Al. Cynthia married Joe Bowman, had Al and Matt. Joe was killed at the Rocky Gap during the war.


Jackson, Kentucky

July 16, 1898

I arrived at the hospitable home of A. H. Hargis, at 9:00 p. m. I have not been here since I left with my effects, November 16, 1895. It will be three years the 5th, since I sold The Hustler, and thereby severed my connection with the town. I left to help build and establish the Sue Bennett Memorial School. That work has been accomplished. Praise the Lord! Since leaving here my health has greatly improved. Thank God for that!

I came in under cover of darkness. I stopped at Judge Linden's house at 5:00 p. m. I had supper and a most delightful visit with the judge and his wife; I stayed a little too long.

It will be 16 years the 21st of next November since I first saw this town and this county. May the Lord make this visit a blessing to these people. It is my earnest prayer. Now Lord, give me sweet sleep, and may I rise to praise thee.


William Jackson Cope

Jackson, Kentucky

July 18, 1898

I was born in Breathitt County, Kentucky on July 23, 1822. My father was James P. Cope. He was born in Buncombe County, North Carolina in 1786. His father was James Cope. He emigrated to Kentucky and located at the mouth of Quicksand in Breathitt County, March 1799. His children were: Wiley; Nancy, married William Pratter; Rebecca, married Thomas Prather; Sallie, married Mason Williams; William; John; James P.; and Elizabeth, married Isaac Jones.

Wiley married Keziah Burus in North Carolina. They were the parents of James D. Cope of Frozen; Mason of Missouri; John of Missouri; Polly, married Solomon Frazier; Sallie, married Russell Frazier; Elizabeth; Nancy; Alfred Estin; Levi; Wiley; William; and Allen; all the latter went to Missouri. They all emigrated to Missouri in 1836.

James D. Cope was born in an open-faced camp on Indian Creek, Wise County, Virginia, November 1798. The family remained there all winter living on game and in the spring came to Kentucky. They had no corn. They made a canoe and started down the river to find corn. They found none until they reached Boonesboro.


James Cope's Fight

With The Bear

James and his sons went down around the Panbowl. They shot the bear through the jaw, and he got the old man in his bear hug. It was in a branch. The old man was close to the bear sicking on the dogs.

Lewis Campbell bought land from the Haddixes. He came later. There was a colony who came with the Haddixes. Campbell's deed to 1,000 acres dated 1818. Col. John B. Haddix was a senator and a representative.

My father killed the last elk in this country, near where Joe Little lived just below Jackson. Also, the last buffalo on Licking. He warmed his feet in the curtails. John Cope, my uncle, killed a three-year-old buffalo heifer at the mouth of Southfork when he was ten years old.

I think the Haddixes came soon after my people. The Backs came in 1836. John Back was the first settler by that name. He came from Harlan County. He had children as follows: Polly Roark, mother of John Roark of Quicksand; Joseph; Lewis; Susan, married John Holbrook; Solomon; and Isaac.

Old Jesse Spurlock came here from Virginia. The Clay County Spurlocks are the same stock. Old Billy Hays was an early settler. Estill and Perry Counties met at the mouth of Quicksand.

My uncle, Wiley Cope, went to Missouri with all his family, except James D. Cope. My father married Polly Hammond. They had children as follows: twins, Levi and Sallie, married William Kash; Levisa, married William Spurlock; Elizabeth, married John Back; Polly, married Sam Spurlock; Wiley on Big Branch; myself; Alfred E., moved to Arkansas; Eliza; and Louvisa, married John W. Williams.

Old Tom Sewell told me that he peddled goods in Harlan on an ox. My grandfather, Phillip Hammond, and his wife came from Germany and settled in Montgomery County before the Copes came to Quicksand. He came to Kentucky with a large company. They camped on Greenbrier Creek in Virginia. A dog barked, and one of the company said, "That dog is barking at the Indians." Another said, "Then we are gone." A terrible slaughter occurred. My grandfather had one child, John, a baby. It was a fearful slaughter. The Indians ripped the bed ticks, and the air was full of feathers.


John E. Patrick

My grandfather, Alex Patrick, removed to Breathitt County, Kentucky, in 1820, or about that time. My father was three years old when his father moved here. My grandmother was a White. He bought the salt works at Strongville. He sold it and went, first, to Madison County, where he stayed two years, then went to Texas. My father and mother went to Texas, also, but they returned, coming on a pony, camping out on the way. They got as far as Madisonville, Indiana. Mother went to work in a hotel; father went over into Kentucky and went to making rails. He took sick. He wrote to Col. Haddix, my grandfather, to send for Mother. Joseph Little started by sunrise the next morning. He returned with my mother, about the time my father got to Jackson.

My great-grandfather was from Ireland. John Patrick, who owned the town site of Manchester, was my grand-father's brother. He was a lawyer and stuttered; got a great deal of land. The Whites went to Tennessee.