SAMUEL ALEXANDER BLAIR was born January 9, 1897 to Mamie C. and NOBLE ROYCE BLAIR in Cincinnati, Ohio. GLADYS (VIRGINIA) TAYLOR was born May 16, 1902 to REBECCA AGNES MITCHELL and JAMES MITCHELL TAYLOR in Rye Cove, Virginia.
Around 1919-1920, SAM BLAIR and GLADYS TAYLOR were both employed in the office at the sawmill in Dungannon, Virginia. They became engaged and were married on November 1, 1920. Sometime in the early ‘20s they moved to Norma, Tennessee, where they were employed in the sawmill there.
Some time during 1927 or early 1928 SAM and GLADYS moved to Oneida where he became bookkeeper and later auditor of the Tennessee Railroad Company. SAM sang in a quartet with ARNOLD COLDITZ, LORY SMITH and LILLARD HUMAN. GLADYS played the piano for them. SAM was interested in civic affairs, serving both as alderman and mayor of the town of Oneida.
On December 18, 1937, during a term when SAM was mayor, a daughter, NANCY JANE, was born. SAM was a very active member of the First Methodist Church where he served as treasurer for many years and also as a member of the Official Board. GLADYS, meanwhile, was a very active member of the First Baptist Church, where she served as treasurer for 35 years and church secretary for over 20 years.
In the fall of 1941, SAM became general manager of the Tennessee Railroad Company, and the family moved to the railroad-owned home on Second Street where they lived the remainder of their lives.
SAM loved to be out of doors, and he divided his spare time between his farm at Winona, where he always kept cattle, and his garden at home.
On Friday evening, August 23, 1968, SAM had a heart attack at his home and died at the age of 71. At the time of his death he was Vice-President/General Manager of the Tennessee Railroad Company, and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of First National Bank.
In addition to her work at First Baptist Church, GLADYS taught hundreds of young children and teens from all over the county to play the piano.
GLADYS had a severe stroke in June of 1980 and was forced to retire from her piano teaching and church work at the age of 78. Due to ill health, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1985 to live with her daughter, who serves as the organist/assistant minister of music at Briarlake Baptist Church in Decatur.
GLADYS died on July 30, 1986, at Gwinnett Medical Center, Lawrenceville, Georgia. She and SAM are both buried in the Carson Memorial Park in Oneida.
The Blair home on Second Street was sold to First Baptist Church and the business of the church continues to be carried on inside those walls.
FNB Chronicle, Vol. 4 No. 2 – Winter 1993
First National Bank
P.O. Box 4699
Oneida, TN 37841
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