It is wonderful to be in Dillard, Georgia, again at this reunion. Dillard House has long been famous for its hospitality and delicious food. It's delightful to see those I've met at previous reunions, and to meet new Dillard descendants, particularly those I've corresponded with but am seeing in person for the first time, and to see my first cousin Dillard Smith. Tom and I have enjoyed his hospitality in Hixson, near Chattanooga, and at his summer home at Highlands. I'm especially happy both my son Tom, of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and my daughter, Barbara Buzzell, are here--Barbara for the first time. She is librarian and reading teacher at the elementary school at Sabillasville, Maryland, and lives at Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania--at the northern end of the mountains just west of here. The many snow days made yesterday the last school day in her school.
This Dillard Family Association is an important means of learning and passing on our Dillard history. I know we're all grateful to John Marshall Dillard, Rachel Dillard Scott, Malcolm Dillard, and others who keep it going. John's Dillard Annual and the Rabun County Library in Clayton play important parts in preserving Dillard lore. Dillard research is never easy. Even so, we've made considerable progress in changing the Dillard Family Tree from a weeping willow--with only undocumented and unreliable printed traditions available--to a flourishing, sturdy oak, with actual records collected about several Dillard lines. The tree's not fully grown yet, but developing, with a growing bibliography of preserved material on the Dillard family in America. A brand new book is Carlton Dillard's second volume telling about Fielding Dillard's many descendants. It includes the families connected with Georgia's great Senator Russell, one of the fifteen children of Blandina [Ina] (Dillard) Russell.
My talk today concerns an 81-page book I wrote about the four Culpeper County, Virginia, Dillards, some of their descendants who migrated from there to South Carolina, and another Culpeper Dillard identified in South Carolina after the book was completed. Twelve copies of Dillard Research Notes: Culpeper County, Virginia Dillards and Two Related Families of South Carolina were mailed 16 June 1996 to five descendants of those Dillards, four genealogists I correspond with, my son and daughter, and the Rabun County Library.
Why should the Culpeper Dillards, who are not my line, be my subject? Little did I expect a book to result when John James Dillard, of Arlington, Texas, inquired about some of my Dillard papers. But when he told me he was grandson and namesake of John J. Dillard, who settled in Lubbock, Texas, in 1896 when the town was only five years old, I was interested immediately. Since I've always been curious about the first Dillard family in Lubbock, it was fun to find all the local information in city directories, town histories, and books published by our genealogical society. He had a great obituary, since he had founded our daily newspaper in 1900. Young John and his wife Sara searched cemeteries and court houses, visited their Lubbock relatives and me, got acquainted with cousins near Houston when they attended a library conference, and altogether made great progress.
Then two specially lucky things happened. In one of my notebooks I found the bio- graphical sketch of W. W. Dillard, the Lubbock John J.'s father and young John's great grandfather. William Wood Dillard told of his Civil War service, gave the names of his ancestors through Alabama and South Carolina back to Virginia, and described his farm and life in the North Texas county of Montague. Some people belittle the "mug books" published in the late nineteenth century, which included a biographical sketch of the person who paid fifty dollars for a copy and furnished family information; but I love them. How else could I have so easily learned of W. W.'s birth in Alabama, his life in Mississippi, his grandfather in South Carolina, the maiden names of his mother and grandmother, and the clue to where to look for his ancestors in Virginia? Of course one expects possible memory lapses and perhaps exaggeration of an ancestors' landholdings or their social position. Statements should, of course, be verified by checking actual records. W. W. was said to be an "agriculturist" instead of a farmer, but maybe he deserved the fancy title. He was successful enough to build a two-story house after his first log house, and he installed one of the recently invented windmills. The account sounded as if his people came from the family of George Dillard, of Culpeper County.
To add to the luck, a letter from Lucile R. Johnson, a dedicated Dillard researcher, brought considerable South Carolina information about W. W. Dillard's ancestors there and about his mother's family, the Bells in South Carolina and Alabama. You may remember Lucile as a speaker at the Dillard Reunion in 1992. My notebooks full of twenty years' research on Virginia Dillards from the early years until some time after the Revolutionary War, added to the new discoveries, had enough material for several months of serious compiling. All records of each individual were in the section about him. No book was intended. It just happened as each piece of information was added to another.
This new information pointed to young John's descent from William and Mary (Norman) Dillard and, as I thought until after the resulting book was mailed, descent from George Dillard, whose Culpeper County will was proved in 1790. Young John's ancestor, William Dillard, was born in Culpeper County, but was killed in the Revolutionary War Battle of Eutaw Springs in South Carolina on 8 September 1781. Another plus was that John Henry Dillard and his wife had traveled all over the country tracing his own descent from this same Eutaw William's youngest son James, and had written his genealogy, a copy of which I have. As a result, in a few short months, young John acquired more solid genealogy than many people can amass in years.
Key words to Dillard history, and that of many other early families as well, are LAND--they wanted it--and MIGRATION--to get it, a young men had to migrate. He often had to leave the home place in the settled area. The Dillard saga, of which the Culpeper County Dillards are a branch, begins 22 May 1650 with the first George Dillard, the immigrant or founder; and with him also began the pattern of migration to land in unsettled country. Few records exist, but these show that George was a survivor, at a time when more than half the new people died. He acquired land. Fifteen years later George patented 250 acres for paying transportation costs for five persons, two of them women. This land adjoined land he lived on in New Kent County. He was married at a time when only one in five new people were women. In 1679 he and his wife--name unknown--sold 76 acres. In 1694 he, or another George Dillard if he was no longer living, patented 139 acres in King and Queen County, created from New Kent in 1691 and located in the Middle Peninsula in the Virginia Tidewater. The only other existing record of George indicates that he served on an escheat jury 2 September 1675. Any other statement about George's origin or activity is open to question.
The second Dillard generation, probably sons found in the 1704 Quit Rent Rolls, the tax payable to Queen Anne, showed four Dillard land owners in King and Queen--George, either the founder or another George, with 325 acres; Thomas with 175 acres; Edward, who may be the ancestor of the Culpeper County Dillards, with 150 acres; and Nicholas, my ancestor, with 150 acres. Not until 1717 did one of these second-generation Dillards migrate from King and Queen County. Nicholas Dillard's 200 acres of "new land" plus 200 more in 1724 in King William County, fell into Caroline County when it was formed in 1727-28.
Early Virginia settlement was up the rivers, and Virginia's rivers were the first roads. At last year's reunion Carlton M. Dillard oriented his ancestor, Thomas Dillard, with Nicholas of the Quit Rent Rolls and the Mattaponi River, the eastern boundary of King and Queen County. The pattern evident here shows a man and his probable sons acquiring land.
Four Dillards--Thomas, George, Edward, and John--formed the second group to leave Virginia's Middle Peninsula and migrate northwest. We know about the families of three of the four Culpeper County settlers. They were probably brothers born in King and Queen County--or at least closely related--and probably the first George's grandsons. Of these Thomas and George first surfaced in Essex County in 1728, a narrow county across
Culpeper County was roughly triangular in shape, its northern point where the Rappa- hannock River, which forms its eastern boundary, joins the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the western boundary. The Rappahannock, one of Virginia's four great rivers, is also the eastern border of Essex County in the Tidewater. The smaller Rapidan and Conway Rivers, which form a jog to the south, are the southern boundary. Later Culpeper County was divided to include present Rappahannock and Madison counties.
The four did not all go at one time. Thomas, later known as Thomas Dillard, Sr., and George led the way. Orange County, newly created in 1734, included what became Culpeper County in 1748. Land there had just been put on the market, and the General Assembly determined that those "who had established themselves by 1st January 1934/35 should be free of country, [meaning the colony of Virginia], county, and parish levies for the next three years." This was a great incentive for a landless young man not long married. Here the first two patented land as soon as possible. They first located the land they wanted, applied for it, had it surveyed, then paid for it and were granted the patent. Thomas patented 550 acres 27 February 1735, paying o2.s15 (possibly about $7.15); and George patented 400 acres 19 June 1735, paying o2 (possibly a bit less than $4).
On 23 November 1737 Edward Dillard paid John Parks o30 for 190 acres in Orange County. We don't know whether this Edward was the older one who had paid quit rent on 150 acres in King and Queen County in 1704 or Edward Dillard, the father of your John Dillard, co-founder of Dillard, Georgia, and known to us as Rabun John for easy identification. We know that Edward, the father of Rabun John, bought 100 acres from George and Priscilla (Major) Dillard on 24 September 1740.
John Dillard, the fourth Culpeper County settler, said to be "of King and Queen," bought his land in 1749 after Culpeper County was formed from part of Orange County in 1748 and after a lawsuit determined that Lord Fairfax owned Culpeper County. Lord Fairfax owned all of the Northern Neck, millions of acres between the Rappahannock River and the Potomac River. This had been given to several who had supported Charles II after Charles I was executed. John thus was the first of the four to buy his land from Lord Fairfax. His land purchases included 300 acres 23 June 1749 on the north side of the Hazel River in the Gourd Vine Fork and 166 acres 4 November 1749 in the Gourd Vine Fork adjoining the first tract and running near the foot of the Grindstone Mountain. On 20 and 21 April 1753 John sold John Gayle and Thomas Poole 50 acres of the 166-acre purchase.
So these Culpeper County Dillards raised their families and helped change new, unsettled land into a county with essential roads, two churches, and a means of making a living. From 1741 through 1746 Thomas was paid 1000 pounds of tobacco per year for reading in the Little Fork church in Saint Mark's Parish. From 1748 through 1752 John Dillard received 1000 pounds of tobacco for being Clerk of the Church in Saint Mark's
John presumably died in Culpeper County, and no will exists. On 17 March 1761 Sophia Dillard and John Dillard witnessed a deed, "Aaron Oliver and Elizabeth his wife" to John Campbell; and thirteen years later "John Dillard, and Sophia X Dillard" witnessed the will of John Brown of Bromfield Parish. This implies that Sophia was John's wife. Did they have children? None are identified in a record, but that doesn't necessarily mean they didn't have any. We'll return to this question later. When John died some time after 1774, what happened to his remaining land after his death is a mystery.
George's will, written 2 March 1790 and proved 20 September 1790 named his children: Major, John, Samuel, James, Ann Freeman, Liza Duncan, Sarah Colvin. His wife, Priscilla Major, was probably already dead, since she was not mentioned. He left his estate to be divided equally among his children, except that he left Major only one shilling sterling (we don't know why) and his daughter Ann Freeman a "brass warming pane." Each son and the husband of each daughter received property valued at o65. As his share of the estate, George's son John received the 190 acres bought by Edward Dillard in 1737. There are different theories about the explanation, but no record has been found that shows how George acquired this land.
Two of the four Culpeper County Dillards didn't stay there long. Some time before 21 July 1752 Thomas, Sr., migrated south to newly created Halifax County, followed later by his two adult sons, James and Thomas, Jr. On 15 March 1749 Thomas and Winifred Dillard sold 1100 acres in Culpeper County. This included a later purchase from Lord Fairfax 24 November 1749 and Fairfax's validation of Thomas's first 400 acre patent from the colony of Virginia. Edward followed three years later after he and his wife Elizabeth sold their Culpeper County land for o20 current money of Virginia on 6 February 1752. This was the 100 acres bought from George and Priscilla Dillard for 5 pas. current money of Virginia on 24 September 1740. From this time these families were in county court, deed, and vestry records of Halifax County and Pittsylvania County, formed from Halifax in 1767.
In April 1755 in Halifax County, Thomas, Sr., had 400 acres and Edward had 320 acres surveyed. Since Edward's son John stated in his Revolutionary War pension application that he had been born in 1755, he was a baby when they moved to Halifax County, and his sister Ann may have been born there. Some accident or illness seems to have disabled Edward. Life during colonial times was fraught with danger. On 30 November 1756 "For Reasons appearing to this Vestry Edward Dillard is Exempted from the payment of Parish Levys for the future." We don't know the reasons. The June Court of 1761 "Ordered that the Churchwardens of Antrim Parish do bind John and Ann Dillard to Thomas Dillard junr in such a manner as the Law directs." Edward died without a will some time before 1779, when Rabun John took up his land.
James also moved to Halifax County later. He had bought 664 acres of Culpeper
Thomas Dillard, Sr., James, and Thomas, Jr., are in numerous county and parish records in Halifax and Pittsylvania County. From the beginning, Thomas Dillard, Sr., was Justice of the Peace and Vestryman from 16 July 1752. James became a Vestryman 30 November 1756 and Thomas Dillard, Jr., in 1758. For a number of years all three were vestrymen in Antrim Parish at the same time. It is interesting to read of Thomas, Sr. 's part in the development of Halifax County from a wilderness through all the steps of setting up county government. Thomas, Jr., followed in his father's footsteps. In both Halifax and Pittsylvania County the two Thomases were both Justices, militia officers, and successful and prominent men. All three had suits in county court. James was less successful, beginning in 1760, when he sued and was sued for debt. The two sons were named in Thomas Dillard, Sr.'s 1774 will. Two later court cases in Pittsylvania County went against James Dillard, who "having profanely sworn," was fined 10 shillings in the May Court, 1775. In June Court 1778 in County against James Dillard, he "not appearing (altho solemnly called)" was fined 5 shillings and costs for being drunk. The circumstances of these cases after Thomas, Sr., died make one wonder if perhaps James's father had him named vestryman to keep an eye on him.
Five next-generation Culpeper County Dillards migrated to South Carolina, one shortly before, one during, two after the Revolution (1775-1783), and one before 1800. The first, James Dillard, went to Laurens County, probably about 1773 when he was about 17. He has been accepted as a son of George of Culpeper County during my years of genealogical research. As a younger son, he would not have inherited, and so he needed to set out on his own. No other Dillard seems to have gone with him, but he probably accompanied other Culpeper people. Relatives and neighbors traveled together in those days, and several surnames connected with Dillards in Culpeper records were in the South Carolina 1790 census.
Laurens James's Revolutionary War pension application, granted in 1834, says that he served as a private and a captain from 1775 to 1785 in most of the South Carolina battles. He married first Mary Ramage, a South Carolina girl who became a Revolutionary War heroine. After being forced to give a British and Tory company supper, she made an all-night ride to warn her husband's company that the enemy planned a dawn attack. Laurens James's service after the Revolution was against the Cherokees in the neighborhood of Rabun County. He became prosperous and is found in numerous deed records in which he acted as justice of the peace, witnessed a deed, or bought or sold land. Mary (Ramage) Dillard had seven children, and Mary (Puckett) Dillard, his second wife, who outlived him,
William Dillard, with two other Culpeper County men--Charles Duncan and Phileman Dedright--enlisted for the Revolution on 20 September 1780. William is described as 27 years old, a farmer, 5 10 2/5 tall, with light hair and gray eyes. It is tempting to speculate about why he enlisted at that particular time. War was exciting but had not yet been fought on Virginia soil. The southern battles were being fought in South Carolina. Had adventure passed William by? Or were a wife, Mary (Norman) Dillard, and seven small children and one on the way too much for him? From an 1873 letter to Lyman Copeland Draper, Anne Boyce, one of Laurens James's three surviving children, we learn that William was Laurens James's brother, and that William was killed in the Battle of Eutaw Springs (8 September 1781), in which both brothers participated. Each stated he was born in Culpeper County, Laurens James in his pension application, and Eutaw William when he enlisted. He must have looked forward to seeing his brother again after almost eight years.
Samuel, the third Dillard, moved his family to South Carolina after the Revolution. Samuel is accepted as son of George of Culpeper County. He did not go directly to South Carolina, but went first to Pittsylvania County with his father-in-law, Christopher Hutchin(g)s and his wife Anne's people. A young landless man was often helped by his father-in-law's support for a time. He was listed in both the 1790 Virginia census, really the 1782 tax list, and the 1790 South Carolina census, where he was in Ninety-Six District, Laurens County. There he died before 7 October 1805. Samuel, his children, his lifetime activities from Virginia and South Carolina records, and one line of descent from his son John Dillard are well covered by Marjorie Lee Dildy Holland in Sims P. and Melissa Hendricks Dillard: Their Ancestors and Descendants Through Their Great Grandchildren.
A happy surprise was identifying the fourth former Culpeper man who migrated to South Carolina. For more than twenty years, ever since I first read Dillard names in that 1790 census, I've wondered about the James Dillard with 3 males over 16, 1 under 16, 5 females, no other free persons, and no slaves, who was in Camden District, Fairfield County. And the completely unexpected answer is that he was James Dillard, son of Thomas Dillard, Sr. Two letters, one from Betty Helf (Mrs. Joe F.) and one from John C. Dillard, of Bessemer, Alabama, combined with what I already knew, solved that problem.
Betty Helf sent copies of three Dillard articles--"William Dillard," by Beulah Melton; "Samuel Dillard," by Almond Morris; and "Moses Dillard," by Beulah Melton--from Alice S. McCabe, Gwinnett County Families, 1818-1968 (Georgia), published for Gwinnett Historical Society [pp. 154-160]. If William Dillard was born in 1770 in Halifax County, Virginia, as the article states, he must have been a child of one of Thomas Dillard, Sr.'s sons. This was the only Dillard family in records there at that time. Thomas Dillard, Jr., who named his ten children in his will, listed no son William. No will of James has been found, and a son Thomas was the only one of James's sons who was named in the 1774 will of Thomas Dillard, Sr. So this William probably was a previously unknown son of James.
John C. Dillard was one of five John Dillards at the 1995 reunion and is not here today because of illness. Among a number of copies of South Carolina records, John C. Dillard included an abstract of a deed dated 28 June 1787 from William Hogan, of Chester County, South Carolina, to James Dillard for 160 acres and a 31 December 1791 deed in which James Dillard and wife Percilla Dillard of Fairfield County, sold the same 160 acres to John Foots, of Chester County. No other James Dillard except the son of Thomas, Sr., in my database of more than fifteen thousand names had a wife Percilla, Presilla, or Priscilla or any similar spelling. The Henry County, Virginia, marriage bonds record the marriage of William Hogans and Nancy Dillard on 19 January 1780 and indicate she was "daughter of James Dillard." Howard Jones said that he found James Dillard as a militia captain in Henry County during the Revolution. Henry County was cut off from Pittsylvania County in 1776. James Dillard's probable son John was a prominent Henry County man. Add the fact that the usual care giver for aging parents is a daughter. Put all these facts together, and the conclusion follows that William and Nancy Hogan(s) removed to South Carolina and that Nancy's parents, James and Priscilla Dillard, also resided there. The resulting article and a possible family group chart including those who could have been James and Priscilla's children were sent to those who were thought to be interested.
The last of these Culpeper County Dillards to move to South Carolina was Major, son of George Dillard. Major is found briefly in Pittsylvania County, when he was sued for debt by his cousin, Thomas Dillard, Jr., and in Fauquier County before being listed in the 1800 Fairfield County census as 1 male over 45 with 1 female over 45 and 1 slave. He is thought to have died in South Carolina. Like others, he had gone to where kin lived. Major is the only one of these South Carolina settlers not known to have had children. And this brings us full circle back to the book of research notes on Culpeper County Dillards.
Genealogists like to talk about their successes, but confessing to errors is another matter entirely. No one likes to make mistakes, but sometimes an error leads to ultimate good when it can be corrected and the truth made known. One of the commonest genealogical errors is confusing two people of the same name. Ironically a discovery that seemed so fortunate at the time caused a serious error in the book. As is often the case, evidence that Laurens James and William were brothers became known to genealogists long after the lifetimes of these people. Nancy Boyce's letter of 1873 to Lyman Copeland Draper, compiler of the Draper Manuscripts and long-time researcher of the American Revolution, was found in Katherine Reynolds' book, The Dillard Family in the DAR Library. Nancy wrote that her father "was with General Sumter at the Battle of Eutaw Springs and lost his brother William Dillard who was killed in that battle." This indirect evidence was sufficient proof that Laurens James and Eutaw William were brothers.
Aha! I thought. Great! Here's another son of George no one has known about! He wasn't mentioned in George's 1790 will because he was killed 8 September 1781. What a great discovery! I sent the information to Marjorie Holland, who was then writing her book. She wrote it to John Henry Dillard, who was then researching his ancestry with trips all over the country, and who was descended from this Eutaw William.
It wasn't until I was writing Dillard Research Notes that this conclusion bothered me. For years Captain James Dillard, born in Culpeper County and later of Laurens County, South Carolina, has been accepted as the James mentioned as son of George Dillard in his 1790 Culpeper County will. Some women have even been accepted by Daughters of the American Colonists and Colonial Dames of XVII as descendants of this James and his father, George Dillard, of Culpeper County. George's will disturbed me. Why did he leave nothing to his grandchildren, the children of William? When debts owed to British merchants were being collected after 1800, the British Mercantile Claims collector was told that William Dillard was killed while serving in the American army, that he was a dissipated man, and that his family were in such distress after he was killed that some of his children were taken and supported by friends. Increasingly this bothered me. It was unnatural that a grandfather should ignore his grandchildren's need even if he disapproved of their father. George was prosperous enough to have helped the family. Even so, I wasn't disturbed enough to stop writing.
Lucile Johnson had told me she suspected James and William of being sons of someone else, not George. I challenged her to find an official record to prove that another James was a son of George. I had researched Virginia records in Richmond, Washington, and Salt Lake City to such an extent that I thought I had found everything about Dillards through Revolutionary War times. So I finished page 81 and the introduction, boxed the twelve copies, and mailed them on 16 June 1996, breathing a big sigh of relief that it was finished and I could get on with other things. Later "Errata" and some additions were mailed.
Then came the sad aftermath. Two and a half months after I mailed Dillard Research Notes Lucile found the record she needed. It wasn't much, but it clearly showed that another James Dillard was in Culpeper County while Captain James Dillard, of Laurens County, fought battles in South Carolina. I had made an error. Here was a New James! Well, pride goeth before a fall. Raleigh Travers Green wrote in his Notes on Culpeper County, Virginia,
"In a work of this kind, mistakes in the way of omission, and some misstatements, are bound to occur. A work on genealogy without such, is an impossibility." However, I couldn't be too sad about it. We had definitely needed a different James to keep George from being a heart - less grandfather, and Lucile found him. Here is the explanation.
More than twenty years earlier (18 July 1975) I had copied the indexes to the Revolu- tionary War Public Service Claims in card files in the Virginia State Library (now Library of Virginia) but always had too much other searching in Richmond to take time for the court records. My own Dillard ancestor left Virginia even before the French and Indian War. These public claims were impressments made on Virginians for goods needed by the militia and the Continental Line when the Revolution moved into Virginia in February 1781 and culminated in Cornwallis's surrender after the Battle of Yorktown 19 October 1781. Increasingly abstracts of records are being published. Lucile Johnson found "Publick Claims" for Culpeper County printed in Janice L. Abercrombie and Richard Slatten's <Virginia
Receipts were issued when the goods were collected, and later court hearings before commissioners in every county determined the value of what was taken from each person. The index cards did not tell what was impressed, but the published items about the court hearings did. Property was impressed in March through December, 1781. The following impressments were evaluated in courts in March and April 1782: George Dillard, 325# of beef in Sept. 1781 and 215# beef in Sept. 1781; John Dillard, 660# beef in Dec. 1781; Robert Strother, 350# beef in Dec. 1781. Below are the crucial entries. First is the index entry from the card file. Second is the printed court record. Both are needed for clearness.
Dillard, James (John Dillard, assignee)/ PSC Culpeper Co., Court Booklet I, p. 25. Commissioner's Book II, p. 81.
p. 22: March 5th, 1782. The Court met according to adjournment and made the following valuations.
p. 25: James Dillard pr. doctors cert. April 1781 for 34 8a. whiskey for John Dillard.
That whiskey really did me in! Captain James Dillard's pension application showed that he was in the Battle of King's Mountain 17 October 1780, the Battle of Williams Fort 31 December 1780, the Battle of Cowpens 17 January 1781, and the Siege of Ninety-Six from 22 May until 18 June 1781. The court record clearly indicates that in April 1781 James Dillard delivered 34 gallons of whiskey impressed from John Dillard. Whiskey was traditionally used by surgeons to ease the pain of amputations. And many farmers had stills, because whiskey could be easily transported, and thus the grain became a cash crop. Obviously Captain James of South Carolina was fighting the Revolutionary War when George's son James delivered 34 gallons of whiskey assessed his brother. This James was likely George's youngest child, since the 1787 tax list of Virginia showed that a young man 16-21 lived with George Dillard.
After the error about James was discovered, I probably should have written John M. Dillard and released him from his invitation to me to speak here. However, I expected to find some indication of James and William's parents easily and rewrite Dillard Research Notes almost immediately. It hasn't worked out that way. Reading all possible Culpeper Dillard records, including all deeds on microfilm, then copying and abstracting them and especially the forty-nine page court report of the Norman/Dillard 1830-1831 land case, I became quite involved and thoroughly interested in the Dillard-Norman soap opera that was evolving. These people became real human beings, involved in very human activities to solve problems.
Would the bad guys get the land? Or would our side win? Mary Norman Dillard's older brother thought he should have inherited all his father's land. After his death his children and their spouses instituted a Writ of Right to get the land that Mary had willed her children in 1815. The children had sold the land immediately. The defendants were the people who rightfully occupied the land. Evidence in that case went back many years. In it was a transcription of Lord Fairfax's original Northern Neck grant to Mary (Norman) Dillard's father, a copy of Joseph Norman's 1783-1784 will, and evidence. Well, our side won. The tenants kept the land. The bad guys had to pay court costs. But a great deal of genealogical evidence was disclosed before the verdict was reached.
One item in the index of the Culpeper Court Minute Book really surprised me: "Dillard Colvin remanded to jail 229. " I could hardly wait to find page 229 to learn why this Dillard became a jail bird. (LDS Film #0030974) What sort of crime did he commit? (This was after he had been in the militia during the War of 1812, since it was 1823-1825.) We hadn't had any other jail birds among the Culpeper County Dillards. He was a new Dillard, too. He must have been the son of John and Sarah Dillard Colvin and a grandson of George Dillard.
There's not a lot of humor in most court reports, but I still have to smile at this one on page 229: "Dillard Colvin having made a noise at the Court House in the face & presence of the Court it is ordered that for this same contempt he be committed to Jail untill the rising of the Court this day."
Another incident I found amusing was also in the court case. Two Wilkes County, North Carolina Justices were taking depositions of witnesses, which would be used for the plaintiffs in the Virginia land case. The justices certified to the Virginia court clerk that after they "first publickly Cald and with a loud & audible voice at the court House door three times" the names of the three defendants, who were in at that time in Culpeper County, Virginia. Thus the law was satisfied that the defendants were given opportunity to hear the depositions.
Some records have raised more questions instead of answering them. Those who received the first copies have received mailings with reports of records as I have had time. When will Culpeper Research Notes be rewritten? I can't tell. When or if it is, it will be considerably longer than the first one, even if some of the questions can't be answered.
A serious error is disappointing, but some progress has been made. Using an early state as an artificial parent of the earliest-known Dillard ancestor is an effective device used for locating all known individuals connected with that person. The computer has found parents of several of these who were originally entered as son or daughter of a state. Early states were made artificial parents. Then the earliest known Dillard ancestor of an individual who could trace his ancestors back several generations was entered as a son or daughter of that early state. When a new discovery gives a clue to that person's origin, the computer is especially helpful in finding all those connected with him. The editor of the Clan Ewing
The book should be rewritten, but so much more research has been done that it would be long and time consuming to add it and especially to analyze it to determine what each document adds or what questions it raises. Every time something new is discovered, it seems to add a built-in question or some new problem to solve.
Fortunately one of Eutaw William's descendants, a superb researcher, is working on it. He is John T. Dillard, of Oregon, son of the man who first wrote of the family, John Henry Dillard. Both of them are here today, and John T. is your next speaker. He searches courthouse records in Culpeper County, looking not only for Dillards but also for all surnames that are mentioned in any action connected with a Dillard as spouse, witness to deed or will, or purchaser or seller of land. This is research in depth.
With that kind of research, the continuing help of the Dillard Family Association, our habit of sharing our discoveries, and our increasing ability to find and analyze correctly the facts we discover, we can hope that my 1975 prophecy, written when Marjorie Holland was going to Dallas to talk with Frank S. Powers about George Dillard-Priscilla Major genealogy, and the three of us were sharing records and information, will be achieved.
Some day we Dillards will have reward:
Statistics all replete
With all our places, dates, and names-
A family tree complete!
The 81-page book has a bibliography of five pages listing the sources consulted. These include county deeds, wills, and other primary records as well as secondary sources. Since the speech is based on the book and a later article, it should be unnecessary to list separately all sources consulted. I will supply the sources, however, if requested. - DDH
Culpeper County Virginia Court Minute Book 1823-1830, 1830-1832, 1832-1840. Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah at Culpeper County Courthouse, Culpeper, Va. 2 Sept 1948, Item 1, p. 229, 1825-1828.
Dillard, John C.[Curtis]. Letter 5 Aug 1996, including South Carolina deeds involving William Hogan and James and Priscilla Dillard.
Dillard, John Henry, William Dillard Who Was Killed in the Revolutionary War, His Parents, Their Family, His Family and Some Descendants. Typewritten, including family group
Dillard, John James and Sara Hammett Dillard, data on descendants of William W. Dillard to the present, plus their research in courthouses, cemeteries, libraries in letters and personal interviews from November 1995 through March 1996.
"Dillard, W. W.," A Twentieth Century History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, Vol 2. Originally Chicago, New York: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906. Published on demand by University Microfilm., Ann Arbor, MI: 1971. Copy in the writer's files.
Helf, Betty (Mrs. Joe F.). Letter to DDH containing copies of 3 Dillard articles from Alice S. McCabe, Gwinnett County [GA] Families, 1818-1968, published for Gwinnett County Historical Society, pp. 154-160.
Holland, Marjorie Lee Dildy. Sims P. and Melissa Hendricks Dillard: Their Ancestors and Descendants Through Their Great Grandchildren. Tahloquah, OK: Author, 1980. Gift copy.
Hughes, Dorothy Dillard. Dillard Research Notes: Culpeper County, Virginia Dillards and Two Related Families of South Carolina.
Reynolds, Katherine. The Dillard Family, Vol. 1, Vol. 2. Houston, TX: Typescript by author, 1975, pp. 19-21, 22, 312.
Stratton, Eugene Aubrey. Applied Genealogy. Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Incorporated, (c) by author 1988, pp. 127, 51.