Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  

LETTER: Mr. Dickerson forwards information re: Magistrates

He still needs education on the Dug Hill thing.
He boasts he always wears his Kevlar vest.


This just in from an old geezer who was a classmate at Berea, back in the dark ages. He wishes to remain anonymous since he doesn't wish to suffer the same early death that I seem to crave. He held some important jobs in the public service sectors of KY, but lives in a neighboring state where he wants to experience a few more of his golden years without being persecuted for his political persuasions.

Publish at your discretion and at my peril, if you think it will garner a few grins in the Adair County hotbed of Republicanism. Like, I mean, do we really have anything left but our sense of humor?

I'm still interested in feedback on the "Dug Hill" thing, but I already know all I need to know about politics. The Magistrate jibes were just jibes, and don't worry about my safety - I always wear my Kevlar vest for all occasions.

Frank Dickerson
Curious in San Mateo, CA

A Treatise on Kentucky Magistrates

Your message was interesting and I would be interested in seeing if you get a response. It does, however, show that you have pretty much the same amount of things to occupy your mind as I do.

You are aware, I am sure that back in the 80's the entire judiciary system of Kentucky was re-organized. That was perhaps that best thing that has ever happened in Kentucky. Prior to that the County Judge actually had judicial power even though most of them were un-educated horse thieves. The magistrates really had very little authority except that whichthey acquired by helping get the judge elected.

Now, there is a County Executive and a fiscal court which is made up of the Executive and the magistrates. Their sole purposeis to manage the fiscal affairs of the county---roads most naturally. The process is still totally political but far better than having the judge administer justice. Now, district courts do that and they have a real judge.When magistrates first came about--and you are right: they have been around longer that the U. S. has been--they were appointed by the governor and their sole purpose was to oversee the creation and maintenance of roads. They did that mostly by paying land-owners to do the work on portions that were near their land. Later, they started doing some other things like probating wills and minor judicial things.Then the County Judge system came about and stopped that. Now, they are back to basically their original purpose. Still, if a certainareaof a magisterial district did notvote for the winning magistrate and/or County Executive, few pot holes will be fixed in the roads there.

Copy of "The History of Knox County" is very interesting

I have a copy of "The History of Knox County" on floppy disc that I got from the Bell County Historical Society. It was written by a very intelligent lawyer from actual court records that were later thrown out. He did a great service in doing that. It is very interesting and lists many, many names. The two biggest positions in the early days were those of magistrate and tavern owners (magistrates were the ones who issued licenses for taverns.) It is full of names. If you think you might have had any relatives in that part of Kentucky, I will make a copy and send it to you. There is no index so the only way to find a name is by simply reading the whole book which is about 200 pages long. I forget now, just what counties were included in "Knox County" at that time, but they would be probably from Harlan over to McCreary. I don't think that Casey County would have been. If I remember correctly from what research I did on the Dickerson name, Casey county camefrom the greater Lincoln County.

"County Fiscal Courts still run by horse thieves"Adair County Fiscal Court excluded, in my opinion - ColumbiaMag Ed

Even though the judicial reconstruction did make the judicial system honorable, the county fiscal courtsare still run by horse thieves. My last job in Kentucky was as Executive Director of the Kentucky River Foothills Development Council, headquartered in Richmond. I had the counties of Estill, Madison, Clark, part of Lincoln and the one where Natural Bridge is and the name of which I cannot now remember. My Board of Directors was made up of the County Executives of those counties and a lesser number of citizens. I can tell you many stories about the---they are still called Judges--executives.

I will tell you just one. After being hired as ED, the outgoing Executive Director took me around to meet all the judges. When we got to the Clark County Court he told me to be very attentive to the judge and his chewing tobacco. We went in and spent about an hour there talking about what was needed and etc. The entire time the judge had his mouth full of chewing tobacco---at one time tucking a little more in his mouth---and at no time did he ever spit.

See Related Article:

Knifleyan asks questions from safety of California?

In order to protect Frank Dickerson from piercing verbal attacks which might penetrate his Kevlar vest, direct comments are not available. However comments, subject to editing, are welcome by sending to: or or through Submit a Story.

This story was posted on 2006-02-08 13:31:23
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.

To sponsor news and features on ColumbiaMagazine, please use our contact form.


Quick Links to Popular Features content is available as an RSS/XML feed for your RSS reader or other news aggregator.
Use the following link:

Contact us: Columbia Magazine and are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270-250-2730 Fax: 270-751-0401

Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia! Magazine and D'Zine, Ltd. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.