John Henry Dillard

Associate Justice - NC Supreme Court

Date Born: November 28, 1819

Date Died: May 6, 1896

Place Born: Rockingham County, NC

Place Buried: Green Hill Cemetery in Greensboro, NC


Associate Justice 1879-1881

John Henry Dillard was born on November 28, 1819 in Rockingham County, NC, the son of James Dillard and Lucy (Moorman) Dillard. He attended the Patrick Henry Academy in Virginia and Samuel Smith's school in Rockingham County, NC. From 1837 to 1839, he attended the University of North Carolina for about eighteen months, but poor health forced him to withdraw. Later in 1839, he entered the law department of the College of William and Mary and, after studying under Beverley Tucker there and receiving the degree of bachelor of laws, he was admitted to the Virginia bar in Richmond.

In 1841, John Henry Dillard opened his own private law practice in Patrick County, VA, where he continued for five years; for a portion of that time he also was the commonwealth's attorney.

On January 13, 1846, John Henry Dillard married Ann Isabel Martin, daughter of Joseph Martin and Sally (Hughes) Martin of Henry County, VA; they had five children.

Also in 1846, John Henry Dillard returned to Rockingham County, NC. Soon thereafter, he established a partnership with Thomas Ruffin, Jr., later an Associate Justice on the NC Supreme Court. This private law practice continued until the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War in 1861.

In 1861, John Henry Dillard was elected a Captain of Company G in the 45th NC Regiment, a position he held for only a short time. He then returned to Rockingham County and again launched his own private law practice until 1868. For part of this time, he also served as County Attorney and as the Clerk and Master of Equity.

In 1868, John Henry Dillard moved to Greensboro, NC, and here he established another law partnership, this time with John A. Gilmer and Thomas Ruffin, now the ex-Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court.

In 1878, John Henry Dillard and Robert Paine Dick founded Dick and Dillard Law School in Greensboro (aka Greensboro Law School), which trained nearly 300 lawyers between 1878 and 1893.

In late 1878, John Henry Dillard was elected as an Associate Justice on the NC Supreme Court, replacing Associate Justice William Turner Faircloth, who had not been re-elected. He continued to serve on the NC Supreme Court until he resigned in 1881 due to poor health.

In 1881, he returned to his private law practice in Greensboro, NC, and here he remained until his death.

On May 6, 1896, John Henry Dillard died, and he was buried in the Green Hill Cemetery in Greensboro, NC.

John H. Dillard was born in Rockingham County in November of 1819. For a year and a half he was at the University of North Carolina, but left on account of ill health and graduated at the Law School of William & Mary in 1840; he began the practice of law in Virginia, but returned to North Carolina in 1846.

In 1862, he entered the army as a Captain in the 45th North Carolina Regiment and served one year. In 1868, he removed to Greensboro.

In 1878, he was elected to the NC Supreme Court, but resigned in February of 1881 after a service of a little more than two years.

He died in Greensboro on May 6, 1896.

© 2015 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved