• Laurel Contributor

The Dillard Legacy

by Carol M. Bryson | Historian



Dillard Canyon

After the split of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Dillard family found themselves on the Tennessee side of the state line.

With their true loyalties to the state of North Carolina, some of the family members decided to move to the remaining portion of North Carolina. Thomas Dillard III and his wife, Dorcas Polly Love Dillard, chose the Morgan area along the Ivy River in Buncombe County. One of their sons, John Love Dillard, purchased 50 acres on the Oconeylufty River in Haywood County in 1816. This area is now part of Jackson County.

When Thomas Dillard III died in 1827, his widow, Dorcas Love Dillard, went to live on her son’s land on the Oconeylufty River. Dorcas had taken over the care of her grandson, Lynch Dillard, a child of Thomas Dillard IV and Martha Lynch Dillard. Martha died in 1829, 10 days after she gave birth to Lynch. The father, Dorcus’s son, Thomas Dillard IV, moved to Gilmer County, Georgia, where he married and started another family. In 1836, Dorcas Love Dillard decided to purchase her own piece of land, so she got a 100-acre land grant near Gunter’s Creek in what is now northern Jackson County.

Lynch Dillard was elected clerk of the Superior Court of Jackson County in 1857 and also later served as Justice of the Court. In 1861 he married Cashiers native Sarah Ann Allison, whose roots tied back to the Zachary family. Soon, Lynch was serving in the Civil War as a Lieutenant for the Confederacy, under his uncle, Captain Thaddeus Dillard Bryson Sr.

In the 1870 U. S. Population Census, Lynch Dillard with his wife and three children are listed as living at the upper reaches of the Blue Ridge Divide just east of Cedar Creek Road, thus the name “Dillard Canyon,” now called “Lonesome Valley.” The union of Lynch and Sarah Allison Dillard gave birth to five children who later married into the Hooper, Fugate, Nicholson and Picklesimer families of Cashiers.

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