Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Thirteen Year Old Kentucky Bride

Comments on Wooton's Creek, Kentucky, May 31, 1898
Excerpt from the diary of the Rev. Dr. John J. Dickey

Yesterday morning, Monday, I left Hyden to come to this neighborhood to see about getting permission to furnish a teacher for this school district. There are 109 scholars in the census. I want to put a Wilmore teacher here, full of the Holy Ghost, to get the people saved. As I passed near the school house there were 10 or 12 men sitting at the roadside on blankets or coats, playing cards. There were two games going on. I stopped and warned them mildly, they never stopped playing or made any reply. I went to see Harrison Napier, a trustee, a merchant living two miles above the mouth of Wooton's Creek. He is 44 years years old or nearly so, and five weeks ago married a girl not quite 14 years of age. He has grandchildren, several children at home. She came to the store, looked as she is, a little girl, with short dress on, very childlike in her manner and appearance. Mr. Napier told her to go back to the house as that was the place for the children. He is a very bright man, is considered the best salesman in the county. He said that he would employ any teacher that the district wanted, but I am told he has a man whom he wants to put in. He gave me no encouragement, was not disposed to talk about the matter. He is very impure and his impurity led him to kill a man whose wife's affections he had alienated, a man named Bailey. His excuse for marrying a child was that he knew that she was pure and being a child she and his children would get along pleasantly together. This is a hard community though there are some good citizens in it. There is a lawless element; two stills were cut
up a few days ago.

Note: John J. Dicky was a late 19th century Methodist minister based in southeastern Kentucky. There will be more from him in a forthcoming blog entry. The reference to a "Wilmore teacher" is a reference to Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, founded by the Methodists in 1890; and there is an obvious parallel to the missionary work in Vardy which the Presbyterians were beginning to undertake at the same time.

1 comment:

  1. The Napier man is likely one of my relatives. The description fits of his immorality :-)

    The early Napier lines were strong men of valor and knights in what is now Scotland, beginning with:

    Descendants of Maldouen (Son of) Murdoc

    1 Maldouen (Son of) Murdoc d: 1136 Sex: Male
    .. +daughter MacArkyll Sex: Female Father: Alwyn Mor MacAkyll
    . 2 Ethus Or 'Donald' 'Le Nae-Peer' b: 1200 Sex: Male
    .... 3 Robert 'Le Nae-Peer' Sex: Male
    ........ +Mary Murry Sex: Female

    for more data on this family line to the present day.