According to researchers, our Dillard roots in America, along with every other Caucasian family linked to the name, began when young George Dillard stepped onto Virginia soil in the spring of 1650. He was one of 107 for whom transportation receipts were recorded by Capt. Moore Fantleroy at the Virginia land patent office on May 22. Entitled to 50 acres of land for each immigrant delivered, Capt. Fantleroy collected 5,350 acres that day.
Fifteen years later, George patented 250 acres adjoining land he already owned in New Kent County VA, 50 acres for each immigrant delivered. As an indentured servant, George labored up to seven years to pay for his ocean voyage. It would seem that by 1665 he had repaid his own transportation debt, acquired land, and become financially able to afford to pay passage for others. Two of the five to benefit from George's prosperity were women. Who were these new immigrants? Members of George's family? Maybe. Or perhaps paying their transportation was simply the cost of acquiring the vacant lot next door.
Few records of Immigrant George exist. He served on an escheat jury on Sep 2, 1675, and sold 76 acres in 1679. In 1694, a George Dillard, either Immigrant George or perhaps his son, patented 139 acres in King and Queen County, VA, a new county carved out of New Kent County in 1691. While it's possible this could be a different George Dillard, it's probably not. It's very likely that Immigrant George--or his son--just acquired more land next to or near where he was already living; Immigrant George's original land and the new property probably fell within the boundaries of the newly formed King and Queen County.
Other claims about Immigrant George's origin or activity are unsubstantiated, and there are quite a few persistent falsehoods. We don't know where he was from or how old he was. We don't know the name of the ship that brought him to America or from which port in England it sailed. Few older people made the grueling journey. Most were young, single men, Immigrant George probably among them. All of them wanted something better than what they had--and land.
Evidence conclusively linking Immigrant George to either a wife or children has been lost, but in a time when half of all immigrants died shortly after coming to America, and only 20 percent of new arrivals were women, Immigrant George lived and apparently married.
Although no records exist to prove it conclusively, researchers widely agree that the few surviving records strongly support that Immigrant George sired several sons. Other Dillards appear on land transaction records for King and Queen County VA, and researchers reason that, according to dates on the documents, it's Immigrant George and sons or at least Dillards who are closely related.
No one can conclusively prove lineage to Immigrant George. Exhaustive investigations have turned up only scanty evidence. Nonetheless, researchers theorize he is indeed the first Dillard in America and progenitor simply because the few records we have of him are the oldest found.
Possible children of George Dillard and ?:
George b. ?, m. ?, d. ?.
Thomas b. ?, m. Winifred Nalle, d. ?.
Edward b. ?, m. ?, d. ?.
Nicholas b. ?, m. ?, d. ?. Through his great-granddaughter, Ina Dillard, Nicholas Dillard is thought to be the ancestor of Richard Brevard Russell, Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, and his son, Georgia Governor and U.S. Senator Richard B. Russell, Jr.