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Ossie S. & Thomas F. Blair, Jr. Memorial Scholarship
 

 


 

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Thomas Francis Blair, Jr. and Ossie Pearl Southern Blair

Thomas Francis Blair, Jr. was born on July 20, 1903 to Thomas Francis Blair (born August 31, 1865) and Catherine Collins Blair (born July 30, 1873). He was the 7th child of 12 children. His father and grandfather William Robert Blair (born about 1828 in Ireland and immigrated to the United States sometime before 1854) built railroads from northern Michigan, through what was, at that time, still called Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). His grandfather started out as a laborer building railroads but formed his own railroad construction company during the railroad boom. They continued south to Texas where Tom was born in Amarillo. His grandfather died in approximately 1902 and was buried in Indian Territory. After his grandfather's death, Tom's father and grandmother, Elizabeth Moore (born in Ireland about 1837) completed, according to some Blair family members, a construction contract building a railroad associated with the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. They then headed eastward until his father decided they had moved enough and built enough railroads. They built their last tracks in eastern North Carolina. They put down roots and , given the advent of the automobile, started building roads in Granville County, NC. Tom, Jr. 's father needed him to stop school and help run a construction crew when he was only in the 8th grade (one child says 6th grade).

Ossie Pearl Southern was born on November 9, 1906 in Lynchburg, VA to Cornelius Osborne Southern and Mary Mitchell Southern. Mary died very early in Ossie's life perhaps in 1908. Cornelius then married Mary Etta Nelson. Ossie was destined to be an only child. She attended school through the 8th grade.

Tom and Ossie met when Tom's father was building a road in North Carolina and Ossie's mother was in charge of the cooks and her father was in charge of the horses and mules for Tom's father's construction company. Because religion was of great importance in their lives, with Tom being Catholic and Ossie being Baptist, Ossie had to make great concessions before their eventual marriage. They were wed in Hendersonville, NC on April 18, 1922. The young couple started their family on September 12, 1923. Over the following years, their family grew to number 13 children with the last one being born on December 14, 1950.

Tom and Ossie moved to Suffolk, VA in 1932. As much as they loved and cared for their children, there was another tremendous compulsion education! While they had done a great job of self-education, there was an urgency for their children to receive a formal education. First came George Mason, then Thomas Jefferson, and finally Suffolk High School. As busy as Tom and Ossie were, they always had time to help every one of their children with their studies.

The Tom and Ossie Blair Memorial Scholarship has been established by some of their loving and forever-thankful children to honor them. What better way to do that than by having a scholarship in their names to give worthy individuals a helping hand towards their higher education.


 



 

       

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