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Pettis County, Missouri

Some Notes on My Dillard Line

Contributed by Gary Farley, Conyers, Georgia - Nov/1996

My maternal grandmother was Minnie Pearl Dillard. She was born in Pettis County, Missouri in January of 1893. She married Hiram W. Swope in December of 1910. They had five children. Hiram died in May 1924. She lived until September 1968. I knew her and loved her. No one cooked fried chicken as well.

Only in the past four or five years have I learned much about the Dillard line. I have gotten back to about 1800 and four or five generations. Living in Wyeth County, Virginia in 1800 was a Dillard family, or families. Included were Abram, Sr., Abram, Jr., James and William. I believe that this James is my ancestor, and the Abram, Sr. was probably his father. Many families passed through this county in the great Virginia valley on their way to the West. So, these Dillards probably had been somewhere else a few years before. Tidewater Virginia is a possibility. So might be Pennsylvania. Once my mother suggested that they were French Canadian. If this is true, then they may well have been Huguenots that emigrated from France to New France due to religious persecution. Then, when the British got control of Canada, they may have moved into New England and came on South between 1760 and 1800. If this is true, we may find Abram serving in the Revolutionary Army.

James was born in 1770 and died in the 1840s.s(or 1836) He married a Cole woman with the unusual first name of Majer. Apparently, she was named for an aunt, Majer Bounds. The brothers and a sister of Majer Cole Dillard are honored as among the first settlers of central Missouri, the Boonslick area. The widow of Wm Cole, Hannah Allison Cole, is honored as the first settler of Booneville in Cooper County. And Cole County, the home of Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri is named for her or for her son Stephen. Her sons are referred to as being cousins of Daniel Boone. So, far we have only been able to find out that a cousin of the Coles, Olive, the daughter of Majer Van Bibber, was married to a son of Daniel, Nathan. If this is the only connection, then it is not close. The Coles came to the Boonslick area about 1810. The Dillards came soon after. About 1810 the James and Majer Dillard were in Wayne County, Ky. I am figuring that their route of travel took them down the great Va. Valley, through the Cumberland Gap, then down the Cumberland River and the Ohio River and then up the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers to join up with their kin in Cooper County.

James and Major had a large family beginning in 1792 and continuing until 1814. Ten children, Joseph, William, Mary Ann, Marjorie, Abraham, Nancy, Stephen, Phoebe, Sarah and Ann. Sons Joseph, William and Abraham all were in Texas in the 1830s. Abraham is said to have gone there in 1827 which was very early. They were involved in the war of independence there. However, William returned to Cooper county. Several of the children as buried in the Dillard/Mitchell cemetery in rural Cooper County.

William was born in 1794. He married in Wayne Co., Ky in 1814 to Jane Alexander. He died ca 1853. He was murdered and thrown in a mill pond. I have her listed as being born in 1795 and dying after 1880. They raised 10 children, born between 1816 and 1843. They included Nicholas, William, Majer, Phoebe, Mary Cole, Hiram Christopher, Joseph, James, Thomas, and Andrew Jackson. According to the list I have Hiram was born in Texas in 1835, so the family must have been there within a span between 1833 and 1836, if the dates of birth and location that I have is correct. The children lived out their lives in Cooper and Pettis counties. Three of the children, including my ancestor, James Dillard, married Ellises. Three married Howards.

James was born in 1839. He married in 1860 to Malinda Ellis He died in 1891 as a result of being struck by lightening in his barn yard. She was born in 1846 and died in 1926. She was named for her mother Malinda Ramey. Both families were in central Missouri by 1830. Rameys were of French Hugeunot stock. Her father was the first judge of Pettis County. They are buried in the High Point Christian Church Cemetery near Hughesville. They married in 1860. They had six children born between 1861 and 1883. They were Mary Malinda, Benjamin F., Minnie Ball, Sarah Elizabeth, Thomas, and Blanche. The Ellis family came to the Maryland Colony about 1650. They were from England and were Quaker. Malinda's father, John Ellis, was a large farmer and blacksmith. He had a large family. I figure that James Dillard must have been in the Civil War, but just now I do not know which side he fought for, but I think it was the Union.

Benjamin Franklin Dillard and his wife Ruanna Lee Henderson Dillard were the parents of my grandmother. She was born in 1864 and was named for Robert E. Lee, the hero of her unreconstructed rebel father. The Hendersons moved to Missouri about 1870 from West Virginia to start over. Ruanna lived to 1930. BF was born in 1865 and died in 1935. There where both good grandparents to my mother. He had a serious problem with alcohol. They lived in the Blue Licks community near Marshall Junction. They had nine children born between 1887 and 1905 Lena May, Neoma, James, Pearl, Rose, Amy, Bryan, Thomas, and Opal.