On Hallowed Ground Mural
Dillsboro is most unusual. Very little has been written about it, so at first finding information about Dillsboro was difficult
for mural artist, Doreyl Ammons Cain. Beginning in December 2012 with the help of George Frizzell, Head of Special Collections at
the Hunter Library at Western Carolina University; Tyler B. Howe, Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Historic Preservation Specialist
and Amy Ammons Garza, the story finally unraveled.
William Allen Dills was captured during the Civil War and was sent to prison in Camp Douglas Missouri. He found some books on numbers at
the camp and studied about surveying. Once released he returned to Jackson County, where he became the county surveyor, met and married
Alice Enloe. Together they built a home and farm overlooking Scotts Creek and the Tuckasegee River. In 1882 the first train into the area
stopped on the Dills farm. So many people came that William laid out a whole town around where it stopped to service the visitors. The Jarrett
House was the first hotel built and he laid out the rest of the town with streets and lots and established a mail line with covered
wagons that traveled twenty one miles over a dirt road and Cowee Mountain to Franklin.
Meanwhile in the neighboring Eastern Band of Cherokee reservation, 3rd Principle Chief Nimrod Jarrett Smith (Tsaladihi.) was making
great changes for the Cherokee as well. A well-educated and well-spoken man, he was fluent in both Cherokee and English. He was
elected Principal Chief in 1880 upon the death of his immediate predecessor, Lloyd Welch. He exercised unprecedented power over and
influence among the Eastern Cherokee working actively for official US.. government recognition for the band as a tribe under federal
law and was successful. He was also chiefly responsible for the incorporation of the Eastern Band as a legal entity by the
North Carolina legislature.
William Allen Dills, his wife Alice Enloe and Chief Nimrod Jarrett Smith are honored in this mural which has taken Doreyl Ammons Cain nine
months to complete. A plaque honoring those who contributed was attached to the mural!