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.


Mr. Horton's

June 22,1898

I was sick all day yesterday at Judge White's, and I did not rise till four p. m. Indigestion both then and Sunday morning. Today I visited Mr. William Pitman's family. Mrs. Pitman is a daughter of John E. White, a very lovely woman. They have three sons and three daughters. He is a Methodist in name only. She is a Campbellite, but says if he would attend church she would join the Methodist Church with him. She wants her children to be Christians. Old Mr. Horton is a Methodist; so was his wife, a sister to Gen. Garrard. But, poor old man he knows, but little of God. His son, a moral man, has a wife who is Presbyterian is a lovely woman, tries to be a Christian.


Hyden, Kentucky

June 23, 1898

Came from Bro. Horton's today. I am at Henry Lewis'. I had a good day, and I am not especially tired. I dined at Taylor Marcum's. Court is in session.


John C. Lewis

June 24, 1898

Arrived here late this afternoon. Took supper at Hyden before starting so that I could have the cool of the day to travel; a distance of five and one-half miles. I mixed with the people today. Dined at Charles Mutzenberg's. His wife is a Methodist. He has been, but backslidden. He is a Swiss, a man of fine talents. I pray God to bring him back to the fold and make a minister of him. He could be so useful. What a pity for such a life to be wasted. He is a fine writer. He has written the "Feuds of Kentucky," but it is yet in manuscript. God has been with me on this trip, blessing me day by day. The work in this county is doing nothing, yet. Met Bro. Apperson Sizemore in Hyden, our local preacher in this county. He would be a power for God filled with the Holy Ghost. He promised to go to the District Conference at Beattyville, the 14-16 of July. I trust Bro. Ragan can see his way clear to put a man in this county next year; then we will try and build a church at the mouth of Wooton's Creek, where I am to preach Sunday. Oh, for a man of God to cultivate this country. There will be an increasing population here for hundreds of years. They must be cared for. Oh, for men and women who love souls!


Rockhouse, Leslie County

June 26, 1898

I studied my sermons yesterday at J. C. Lewis', and today preached them at 10:30 at Wooton's Creek, and at four p. m. at Hyden. Fair attendance at each service. Stayed Saturday at Mintor Bailey's house; slept but little, it was hot. I ate no dinner today. I came directly from Wooton to Hyden. After preaching I came to Joseph Lewis', four and one-half miles with Miss Sallie Eversole, sister of Mrs. Lewis. I am tired, but not worn out. Suffered no inconvenience from loss of dinner. I go to Manchester tomorrow.


Manchester, Kentucky

June 27, 1898

Arrived here at six p. m. Dined at Carlo Brittain's on Red Bird. It has been a very hot day. My horse has stood it well. I am tired tonight, but not worn down. I go to London tomorrow to attend to some business. Yesterday morning, County Judge William Dixon of Leslie County started to Lexington with 38 men. He had a commission from Gov. Bradley to raise a company of 103 men. Emmanuel Wooton is still in Leslie recruiting the company. Persons joined them all along the road. He leaves his office, his family, a very delicate wife, and his farm. Two of his brothers also enlisted and a cousin, John Dixon, the attorney. The volunteers are nearly all single men. There are now 20,000 troops in Cuba and more moving for that place. The Spanish Cadiz fleet has again gone to sea and it is thought that its destination is Manila. President McKinley is reported to have determined to send Commodore Schley with a flying squadron to bombard the coast of Spain if the report of the destination of the Cadiz fleet is true. It is believed that a severe battle was raging around Santiago Saturday and Sunday. We have cable communication now, but General Shafter reports nothing. It is thought he is too busy with the battle. Our nation is a unit on the war. Political differences are obliterated. God give victory and peace.


Manchester, Kentucky

June 28, 1898

Last night I passed through an awful ordeal, the most terrible I have ever experienced. I was assaulted right here in my room in the hotel. The agony of both mind and body was fearful indeed. I thought of all the notable events in which human suffering was great; Charge of the Light Brigade; the Black Hole of Calcutta; Andersonville Prison; Dante's Inferno; and diverse other similar things. It is hard to tell when I suffered most; while the attack was on or when it was over, and I walked the floor with a mind agitated like the ebbing of the tide beating the rocks with less and less power. As I thought of the ingratitude of the one who was the principal cause of the awful suffering it was with difficulty I refrained from tears. How could one who had shown me so much kindness ever be a party to such cruelty; and she was a woman, too. Who would have supposed that she who had fed and sheltered me for six long months could be led, ensnared or enticed to do me such a wrong? How could she ever allow herself to so neglect her common everyday plain duty to such an extent as to be even the innocent cause of so much evil to me? What an enigma is man whether dressed in paper collar or petticoats! Today he overwhelmes with the most tender attentions and tomorrow murders you by his cruel neglect. Oh, thou bundle of inconsistencies. Thou aggregation of contradictions! Thou are indeed the tenderest and yet the cruelest of God's creation! Then the inexpressible anguish I experienced before I fully realized what was being done I never can express. Excruciating pain, violent exercises of the body, a sense of hopelessness, growing out of ignorance of the surroundings, gave to me such a feeling of goneness as I never felt before. I writhed, I raged, I sighed, I groaned, I despaired, half asleep, and half awake. I was suffering worse than a nightmare. The house was as still as death. My body seemed to be in a profound slumber. The light of the moon stole in at my open window, the cool air came gently over me, but gave me no sense of relief. I seemed to be on fire, but it was an inextinguishable flame. Like the fire of hell it burnt on, but was not consumed. At length rousing from my semi-consciousness, I sprang into the middle of the room, struck a match, lifted my lamp, looked into my bed and ten legions of bedbugs were marching and countermarching over the desolated battlefield with an air of triumph that the imps of the Inferno could not have surpassed.


Thomas Bales

Laurel County, Kentucky

June 28, 1898

I left Manchester this morning at ten o'clock. Dined at Henry Marcum's and reached here about 6:30 or 7:00 p. m. These are good pious Methodists. In building a new church two years ago $300 fell on Bro. Bales beyond his share. He has paid $205, and says he has lived as well as he ever did; is sweet about it. There has been a dozen others that promised to help him and have failed. If people were not afraid of doing more than their part we would have more public improvement.


London, Kentucky

June 29, 1898

I arrived here this morning about eight o'clock. I put my horse in the Harklwad's livery stable, and proceeded to the bank to see about renewing a note of $60 due tomorrow. The cashier, A. M. Jackson, had written me that I must pay it. I found him very gracious, and he said he would renew it. I got Mr. E. H. Hackney and Mr. C. R. Brock to sign it. They were both collaborator with me in building the college. My friends all received me with great cordiality. I dined with Prof. Lewis, visited the college, found everything looking well. The cottages which I planned look much better than I thought they would look. I did not like the plan, but it was so much cheaper than any other I could design, four room cottages, two front and two rear, one chimney, two flues, arranged for two messes or one to be used for lodging rooms should that be preferred. They are 12 feet high with veranda at the front and they look very nice. The picture of one is in a late number of "Our Homes." The board is preparing to make some substantial improvements this summer, a residence of ten rooms for Prof. Lewis and a building for a dormitory and manual training uses, costing $1,600. This is so planed that it may become part of a large dormitory. There have been enrolled 210 students the past year. Good work was done.

The best thing was a revival in the school led by the students and teachers, Mrs. Lewis being the real leader. Thirty-eight were saved during the meeting. There was no minister with them. Young Phillips, a student from Bowling Green, was a chief promoter among the boys; young Hecter Scoville and his sister, Nora, were converted. They are splendid people and ought to make grand workers in the vineyard. I found quite a good library collected, several hundred good books. I was pleased to find it. More cottages will be added this fall. Mrs. Anderson of Pittsburgh will build one to be called the Pittsburgh Cottage. The dormitory is to be called the "Helm Building," for Miss Lucinda B. Helm, founder of the Society. She bequeathed $300 for a cottage, and her friends are adding enough to make $1,600 now and hope to have it large some day. It is a great work.