James A. Dillon is handing the past over to the next student of history. He has resigned as Warren County historian and a new one will be appointed Thursday.
“I felt it was time,” said Dillon. “I’m going to be 87 years old next week. I’ve been there long enough. I’m getting to the place where, if somebody calls me, I have to think about it a minute or so digging for the information. I’m just not up to it anymore.”
Dillon has been regarded as the local authority on Warren County history since 1955 when he replaced county historian Walter Womack.
“I’ve always liked history," said Dillon. "I got the history medal when I graduated from high school. It went to the person who was best in history. I’ve always liked history – family history, county history, country history and world history."
Dillon recommended to County Executive Herschel Wells that Jimmy Haley replace him. Haley is president of Heritage Alliance, a nonprofit organization that acts as the chief preservation agent for the county and operates Warren County Heritage Center & Museum to preserve items from the county’s past. He is also known as junior county historian under Dillon.
“When I submitted my resignation, they asked me who I would recommend as a replacement,” said Dillion. “I recommended Jimmy Haley. I’m sure he would be glad to take it. I assume he would. He is coming along good and he has done a great job.”
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past in an effort to preserve it. Over the past 60 years, Dillon has accumulated a whole room full of information dedicated to this area’s history. He has given those documents to the county.
“I called Herschel and said I would like to give all my history to the county,” said Dillon. “It’s now in the archives of the administrative building. There is a fireproof room down in the archives of the building. They have a lot of documents down there already. All my records are there now. I wanted to make sure my information went somewhere it was protected.”
A county Policy and Personnel Committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 9, at 4:45 p.m. On the agenda is to accept the resignation of Dillon and appoint a new county historian.