Ryland Thompson Dillard, D. D., was born in Caroline Co., Va., November, 1797. He was educated at Rappahannock Academy, Port Royal, and he was a soldier in the war of 1812-15. At the age of twenty-one years he emigrated to Kentucky. He studied law, was admitted to the bar, and commenced the practice of his profession with Hon. Richard French at Winchester, Ky., in 1821. He had grown up and been confirmed in the Episcopal Church, but being convinced of the necessity of being born again, he sought and obtained hope in Jesus. He united with the Baptist church at Bryants, and was baptized by the venerable Ambrose Dudley in September, 1823. In 1824 he was ordained, and accepted the pastorate of East Hickman church, and a few years afterwards, in addition to his other charge, that of David's Fork, preaching to the former forty-seven years, and to the latter more than thirty years. During most of his ministry these two churches aggregated over 1000 members. In 1842, Mr. Dillard was appointed Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State, holding that position six years. He was active in originating the General Association of Kentucky, was many years moderator of Elkhorn Association, and was a trustee of Georgetown College. He wrote for the Baptist periodicals, and preached frequently to the destitute, especially among the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. During his ministry he baptized over 4000 people, and married 873 couples. He died Nov. 26, 1878, and was buried in the family grave-yard near Lexington.
[From William Cathcart, editor, The Baptist Encyclopedia, 1881; rpt. 1998, p. 334.]
In 1845 R. T. Dillard was the chosen preacher for the annual meeting of the General Association of Baptists of Kentucky, that convened in Georgetown that year; in 1848 he was Moderator when they met in Bowling Green.
============[Wm. D. Nowlin, Kentucky Baptist History, p. 128.] - Jim Duvall
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