John Dillard

John Dillard (abt. 1755 - 1842)

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John Dillard
Born about in Virginiamap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Dillard, Rabun, Georgia, United Statesmap [uncertain]
Profile last modified 12 May 2020 | Created 17 Apr 2012 | Last significant change: 12 May 2020
18:46: Mags Gaulden deleted a comment from Mags Gaulden on the page for John Dillard (abt.1755-1842) [Thank Mags for this]
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US Southern Colonies.
John Dillard resided in the Southern Colonies in North America before 1776.
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The alledged photograph of John Dillard

Alleged photograph
is one that has been handed down for generations of the Sallie Dillard Powell family. It appears in The Dillard Scrap Book, p.25, John M. Dillard. John even uses the word "alleged" to describe it. The first photograph was taken in 1826. It is not unreasonable to think that a photograph could have been taken of John Dillard prior to his death in 1842.
John Dillard Rifle.

Genealogically proved facts need to be separated from speculation and myth. What John Dillard (herein called “Rabun John”) said about himself on July 7, 1834 in his application for a [Revolutionary War Pension Application No. 31,649] federal pension for his Revolutionary services is the focal point of proof for all events in his life. That was in his sworn affidavit before the judges of the Rabun County Inferior Court. He was then 79 years of age and a resident of Rabun County.

That Edward Dillard who resided in Culpeper County was the father of Rabun John Dillard is based upon the fact that in 1779 Rabun John Dillard was issued a patent for 320 acres of land on Straightstone Creek in Halifax County in a part that had become Pittsylvania County. Halifax County Map and Plat Book Survey 1 at page 132 depicts a plat of a 320 acre tract of land on Buck Branch of Straightstone Creek that was surveyed for Edward Dillard on April 24, 1755. The surveyor notes state “this land was transferred to John Dillard the 27th of September, 1779.” A deed on adjoining property refers to “Edward Dillard’s old plantation.” Thomas Dillard appeared to reside next door.

The vestry book of Antrim Parish Church dated November 1756 recited “For reasons appearing to this vestry Edward Dillard is exempted from the payment of parish levies in the future.” Rabun John Dillard, then some six years old, and his believed sister, Ann, were in June 1761 “bound out” to Thomas Dillard, Jr., son of Thomas Dillard.

The affidavit of Rabun John Dillard for his Revolutionary pension application states that while he was a resident of Pittsylvania County he was a volunteer under Captain Dillard (given name not indicated), Colonel Lewis and General Stephens when on February 1, 1776 he marched to Petersburg "by James Town" to Williamsburg, "thence to Little York," and thence to the Chesapeake Bay and to the Rappahannock River opposite Gwynn's Island where the British Fleet lay in anchor. He then fought in a bombardment from the British Fleet "over half a day" and was stationed on the coast to keep the enemy from "landing and plundering the inhabitants." This was the Battle of Gwynn’s Island near Williamsburg, Virginia where a few days after the signing of the Declaration of Independence General Andrew Lewis defeated the last Virginia British royal governor, Lord Dunmore, who fled with his armada never to return.

The fact that the Captain Dillard in John's pension affidavit was Thomas Dillard, Jr., can be verified from third party records. Thomas Dillard, Jr., was lieutenant colonel of the Pittsylvania County Militia. Pittsylvania County, Virginia Judgment Book 4, Page 345 records that at a court held on October 17, 1780, "John Dillard Second Lieutenant in Captain Isaac Clement’s Company of Militia", and at page 347 that "John Dillard produced a commission and took the oath as second lieutenant" at a court held on October 17, 1780.

Rabun John Dillard then stated in his affidavit that on February 1, 1778 he volunteered under Captain Dillard (given name not indicated) and Colonel Clark and marched to Boone's Fort on the Kentucky River. He stated he arrived there on March 26, 1778 and remained there three months and two weeks; that on July 10, 1778 he marched to the falls of the Ohio River and arrived there on July 20, 1778. where he built a stockade fort and two log cabins on an island in the river; that on August 1, 1778 he was sent back home with a group of sick men, including Captain Dillard, and arrived back there on August 18, 1778, where he received a written discharge which he lost.

Rabun John Dillard then stated in his affidavit that on January 27, 1780 he was ordered out as a part of the Pittsylvania County militia with General Greene to the Dan River in Halifax County against British Lord Cornwallis where he was commanded by Captain Isaac Clements and Colonel Perkins and where he served as a lieutenant; that he was dismissed without a written discharge on March 22, 1780 and arrived home on March 27, 1780. The pension affidavit understates what was the major Revolutionary Battle of Guilford Court House near Greensboro, North Carolina in which 4,400 Americans assembled consisting of 1,700 Continentals and 2,700 militia.

Thomas Vaughan was the owner of land in Pittsylvania County on Straightstone Creek in Pittsylvania County Deed Book III at page 446 dated February 22, 1774. He was a neighbor of Thomas Dillard and Edward Dillard. Thomas Vaughan was a witness to the will of and an appraiser of the estate of Thomas Dillard. The 1786 will of Thomas Vaughan probated in Pittsylvania County devised a portion of his estate to his specifically named daughter, Ruth Dillard.

Thomas Dillard, Jr. sold out his home place property in Pittsylvania County and moved to Washington County, North Carolina. Washington County records indicate that Rabun John Dillard moved with him. Rabun John Dillard lived in Washington County, North Carolina at a tumultuous time in which it was simultaneously the “State of Franklin” and the State of North Carolina between 1783 and 1787. The direct proof that Rabun John Dillard was present in Washington County is found in Washington County court minutes. On February 3, 1783 Rabun John Dillard with Thomas Dillard and William Gregory “or any twelve officers” reviewed and marked off a road from Colonel Dillard’s to Colonel Robertson. A list of voters of Washington County in August 1786 included John Dillard along with Thomas Dillard. At the August 1787 term of the Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions held in Washington County, it was ordered that “John Dillard, Gentleman, appointed ensign in said county came into open court and took the oath …for the qualification of public officers.”

The direct proof that Rabun John Dillard as stated in his pension application affidavit lived in Buncombe County is in Buncombe County Deed Book 24 at Page 399 where on October 26, 1826 John Dillard conveyed to Adam Miller two tracts of land and referred to himself as "of the State of Georgia, County of Rabun." This 1826 deed identifies one of the two parcels as "the lands that John Dillard of Georgia formerly lived and now occupied by William Pickens." The 1821 sale to William Pickens was for the first state grant Rabun John Dillard acquired in Burke County in 1789. The 1821 date in the Adam Miller deed ties down when Rabun John Dillard had pulled up roots at age 66 and had moved, or was moving, to Rabun County, Georgia.

Petitions were submitted to the North Carolina General Assembly in November 1790 to form Buncombe County from Burke and Rutherford Counties. Signatures to the petition included Rabun John Dillard. The first court for the new county was opened on April 16, 1792 at the home of Colonel William Davidson within the present City of Asheville. "The Court proceeded to the election of a ranger and did elect John Dillard"… "John Dillard took the oath prescribed by law for the qualification of public officers… and the oath of office as Stray Master or Ranger."

On December 1, 1792, the North Carolina legislature appointed John Dillard and others as commissioners to agree on a location for the county seat of Buncombe County. At the April 1793 term of the court the commissioners reported that the "courthouse should stand at a big branch between the Indian graves and Swannanoa [River] with the stocks and prison to be convenient to the courthouse."

John Dillard and others in a 1792 petition to the North Carolina Legislature requested compensation for their services as soldiers in the "late Continental Army." In April 1804 Thomas Love, John Dillard and Jacob Baylor were appointed to serve on a jury to select the county sheriff. John Dillard "Senr." in 1807 returned to the court his list of stray animals from 1806 to 1807. In 1808 Rabun John Dillard was on a commission to set the county tax levy.

The total of deeds and grants made Rabun John Dillard by 1820 the owner of 560 acres of property at Flat Creek. The most conspicuous revelation of the deeds in Buncombe County is that three or the four sons of Rabun John Dillard purchased property at Flat Creek adjoining their father. Three known daughters of Rabun John Dillard were near him in Buncombe County, North Carolina, Sarah Dillard the wife of Baxter Davis, Jr., Elizabeth Dillard who married Henry Dryman, Jr., and Mary Rebecca Dillard who married Obadiah Terry Dickerson. There is disagreement among researchers as to whether or not Sophia Dillard Elkins was one of the children of Rabun John Dillard.

In the 1820 United States census for Buncombe County, the three Dillard households of Thomas, William, and John, Jr., have disappeared. Some of the daughters had also already moved. Aggressive Luke Barnard and his son, John Barnard, were present in Rabun County in 1821 in dispossessing Cherokee Indians from their federally granted private reservations on the same four lots containing 1000 acres in Dillard, Georgia which James Dillard later occupied between 1821 and 1823.

There is no record that Rabun John Dillard ever purchased any land in Rabun County. James Dillard took legal title in his name to all the Dillard property in Rabun County. Archeological diggings connected with the application to place the Sarah Dillard Powell residence on the National Historic Registry that was approved in 2008 uncovered the foundations of a nearby earlier residence. The application erroneously stated that this foundation was the residence of James Dillard. This foundation could, however, have been the residence of Rabun John Dillard. The former Dr. Lester Neville residence at Dillard, Georgia was built near this foundation.

Rabun John Dillard was a justice of the peace in Rabun County. In that capacity, he performed a wedding ceremony between William Gillespie and Malinda Eller on November 25, 1825. The 1840 United States census for that county lists two people in the household of Rabun John Dillard with Rabun John listed as age 81 and his wife in the category of 70-79 years of age.

The exact date when Ruth Vaughan Dillard died is unknown. 1844 supplemental proceedings in Rabun John’s pension federal file after his death verify that he left no surviving widow. That indicates that Ruth Vaughan died between 1840 and 1842. Her place of burial is not marked by a gravestone. 1844 Supplemental proceedings in his pension file after his death establish Rabun John Dillard’s date of death as June 4, 1842. There is no record of the administration of his probate estate. His gravestone erected in 1939 at a Dillard family reunion was furnished by the federal government.

For detailed sources see Descendants of James Dillard and Sarah Barnard Dillard of Rabun County, Georgia, John M. Dillard, revised 2012, Lulu Press

John was probably born in 1755. "...The date of birth on John Dillard's tombstone erected by the government which shows 1760 may be wrong. It should have read 1755. John's Revolutionary pension application filed with the Federal Government when he was a 79 year old resident of Rabun County interlineated over 1755 making it uncertain as to whether 1755 or 1760 was correct. John Dillard could have been uncertain himself. He deposed to the Rabun County Inferior Court that he once had the date of his birth in a Bible, but it was 'worn out' and illegible. Other facts make the date 1755 more probable." [1]

"It has been published that John Dillard of Rabun County served with General Andrew Pickens in his expeditions against the Cherokee Indians. This has unfortunately been repeated in other accounts about John Dillard...All of that, however, was before Rabun County was formed and before the Dillards were ever there."[2]

He settled Rabun County, Georgia between 1821 and 1823. He appears in a special section of the 1840 census listed along with other Revolutionary War veterans. [3] John Dillard passed away in 1842. - John M. Dillard [4]

1941 Grave Monument - note old dates - Born abt. 1755 - John Dillard grave stone installed new at 1941 Dillard Reunion (left). Descendants unveiling monument in 1941.

This profile is a collaborative work-in-progress. Can you contribute information or sources?


  1. John Dillard, Backwoods Man, John M. Dillard, originally published in The Dillard Annual[1]
  2. Another Myth: John Dillards Service Record with Pickens[2] , John M. Dillard
  3. Full Text of the 1840 census, Rabun county, Georgia, John Dillard, Tennesee Valley District, Introduction and Explanation of the 1840 Census. [3]
  4. Revolutionary Minute Man John Dillard 1755-1842, John M. Dillard, Published in The Dillard Annual, and self published, January 2012. The Dillard Annuals
  • Ancestry Family Trees
  • Find A Grave: Memorial #17733702 LT John “Rabun” Dillard, Head of Tennessee Cemetery, Dillard Rabun County, Georgia
  • The Children of John Dillard, Howard V. Jones, p. 10, The Dillard Annuals, Dillard Annual, Volume 1, January 1992, (pp. 5-7) The Dillard Annuals
  • Descendants of James Dillard and Sarah Barnard Dillard of Rabun County, Georgia, John M. Dillard, published in the Dillard Annual, and self published, January 2012.
  • Dillard Deeds in Buncombe County[4] , John M. Dillard
  • Sketches of Rabun County history : 1819-1948, pp. , Andrew Jackson Ritchie, 1959.
  • U. S. Government pension and Revolutionary service records, John M. Dillard, "Descendants of James Dillard and Sarah Dillard of Rabun County, Georgia", self published Lulu Press, revised 2012 and other sources
  • Family Search 9HXJ-STB


  • Dillard-861 was created by Gregory MacBeth through the import of Bryant - Wikitree.ged on Apr 2, 2015.
  • WikiTree profile Dillard-356 created through the import of Bowden-Riley Family.ged on Apr 16, 2012 by Sam Bowden.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with John by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with John:

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Comments: 14

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Hey Susan and Teresa,

"Rabun" John Dillard and his spouse Ruth Vaughn have been thoroughly researched. We have the honor of having one of the Foremost Dillard researches on WikiTree, though he hasn't been very active as of late. I know John M. Dillard personally. We lived in the same town, even worked on the same street. I have also helped him with some of his research starting back in the 1980s for one or two of his published works/books. I also know him through the Dillard Family Association, of which Otha Vaughn, Great gran...of this Ruth Vaughn is now president. All of the information on John and Ruth has been researched and vetted and there really are no questions about who they are. John Dillard Married Ruth Vaughn. I have created a page for the Dillard family association here on WikiTree where many of the Dillard researchers' works, have been posted by permission. Dillard Family Association. I don't think I have posted John M. Dillards, 2012 book or a other published materials, but if you have questions or need look-ups I would be more than happy to do look-ups for you. Mags

For Ruth - the profile with the correct information is Vaughan-2048. Looks like there have been some poor edits and changes made to some of the family profiles which need to be cleared-up. Ruth has been project protected because of some of the bad information/edits. I have opened the profile for merging, though the informaiton on Vaughan-2048 should be the information kept.

posted by Mags Gaulden
edited by Mags Gaulden
I just read the entire profile for Rabun John and it was amazing. The research is definitely extensive and well presented here for all future researchers to follow and enjoy. Congratulations to all for a job well done!
posted by Mary Gresham
I am open to any new information that can clarify the discrepancies in the documents.
posted by Susan (Ford) Stark
As for this profile and Dillard-662 -- the are both tied to same spouse but have different parents. Has anyone come a conclusion as to which of these men married Ruth Vaughn?
posted by Teresa Downey
James Dillard (Dillard-308), husband of Mary Ann (Hunt), is listed with TWO sons named John. Here are the listed children:

John Dillard - Dillard-304 b. about 1751 Amherst, Amherst Co, Virginia; d. 12/1/1822 (rank of captain in the American Revolution); John Dillard - Dillard-356 b. 8/21/1760 Virginia; d. 6/5/1842 (rank of lieutenant in the American Revolution); Nancy b. 9/5/1753 Buckingham, Virginia; Elizabeth b. 1755 Buckingham, Virginia; Arthur b. 1755 South Carolina; James b. 10/29/1755 Buckingham, Virginia. My conclusion is that Dillard-356 is not the son of James Dillard (Dillard-308); he is not the same person as Dillard-304. I think Dillard-356 should be removed from these parents.

posted by Susan (Ford) Stark
Dillard-662 and Dillard-356 appear to represent the same person because: Some key facts are the same or very similar - can the owners take a look and see what you think?

Thanks very much

posted by Susan (Ford) Stark
This appears to be a different John Dillard than the one referenced by Eric Daly's note below. Further research required to reconcile different parents, etc.
posted by Sam Bowden Jr
This is the son Of Edward And Elizabeth Dillard. Died June 5, 1842 in Rabun County town of Dillard, Georgia. Not Virginia

posted by Eric Daly
Dillard-1262 and Dillard-662 are not ready to be merged because: I need to provide more information on Dillard-1262 I have in my rearch which is not yet entered into the program. Thanks.
posted on Dillard-662 (merged) by [Living Dillard]
Dillard-1262 and Dillard-662 appear to represent the same person because: Similar data and same source.

Also same son with exact dates

posted on Dillard-662 (merged) by Esmé (Pieterse) van der Westhuizen
Dillard-1256 and Dillard-662 do not represent the same person because: These two gentleman lived in different Centuries. Reject because these are definitely not duplicate profiles. Mags
posted on Dillard-662 (merged) by Mags Gaulden
Dillard-903 and Dillard-662 appear to represent the same person because: There was already an existing profile for "Rabun" John Dillard, born in Culpepper County Virginia. Merging them will connect your profile with more of the family. Am I safe to assume that we are cousins?  :-) Mags
posted on Dillard-662 (merged) by Mags Gaulden
Children of JOHN DILLARD and RUTH VAUGHAN are:






5. vi. JAMES DILLARD, d. 1861.




posted on Dillard-662 (merged) by Mags Gaulden
Dillard-861 and Dillard-662 appear to represent the same person because: Duplicate profile. These two profiles should have been identified as matches when the GEDCOM was uploaded. Mags
posted on Dillard-662 (merged) by Mags Gaulden

John is 16 degrees from Donald Howard, 15 degrees from Julia Howe and 13 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.