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
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
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
ten 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.
There are scattered. I have a brother, John, in Lincoln County,
Kentucky. He married a brother of Ben Clark, a prominent man.
He first came to London. During the war, he bought horses in
Laurel and adjoining counties and took them to Camp Nelson and
sold them to the government. He made Ben Clark's place 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
the mercantile business. I was twice the sheriff of Owsley County,
once appointed, afterward elected. I married, in September 1850,
Catherine Frances Garrard, sister of Gen. 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 peacher,
used to stay a good deal at 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 lives about Traveler's Rest. He was a son of Billy Strong,
mentioned above. He had another son, Pike, who was a wild and
reckless man. Alex was a sensible man but has since run in a
bad channel. He was sneaky and would strike a man in the back.
There were many Wilsons about Traveler's Rest.