Robert Leroy (Lee) Pair, son of James M. Pair and Martha E. Dickey, was born in Georgia (probably Henry County) on July 5, 1885. It’s possible Robert was born on July 4 and in 1886 or 1888 but records are inconsistent so I can’t confirm the date. I’ve chosen to use the date he provided on his World War I draft registration card because he signed that form himself. Robert was the third of six children—Thomas B. Pair, Monroe S. Pair, Robert Leroy Pair, Riley B. Pair, Vera Pair, and Alonzo O. Pair. Robert is no relation to me but is the husband of my brother-in-law Randy Marston’s grand aunt, Susie Catherine Marston.
On June 12, 1900, 13-year-old Robert and his family lived in McDonough, Henry County, Georgia. His parents had been married for 20 years and his mother had six children, all of which were living. Robert’s father was a farmer on a rented farm. Robert’s birth was recorded as July 18867 in the 1900 census record.
On April 27, 1910, Robert lived with his brother Thomas and his family at 151 Pearl Street in Ward 3 of Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Both Robert and Thomas worked as a driver for the city. The census enumerator spelled their last name Pare instead of Pair. At 24 years of age, Robert was still single but that didn’t last long. On December 18, 1910, Robert married Susie Catherine Marston, daughter of John Henry Marston and Mattie Catherine Powell, in a ceremony performed by David J. Long in Fulton County, Georgia. Robert and Susie had four children—Warren L. Pair (born November 1911), Catherine Rose Pair (born about 1914), Earnest Robert Pair (born December 1915), and Arnold Henry Pair (born December 1919).
Robert Pair and Susie Marston's marriage license
Robert registered for the World War I draft on September 12, 1918, listing his permanent home address as 124 Kirkwood Avenue in Atlanta. He recorded his age as 33 years with his birthday as July 5, 1885. Robert was a stationary engineer for Asa G. Candler whose business was located at 125 Peachtree Street in Atlanta. As a stationary engineer, Robert would have worked on the building’s industrial machinery and equipment. At the time, Candler was the mayor of Atlanta and was the business tycoon who bought the Coca-Cola recipe and then founded The Coca-Cola Company. Robert was of medium height and build, had blue eyes, and light color hair.
Robert's WWI draft registration card
On January 8, 1920, Robert and his family still lived at 124 Kirkwood Avenue address in Atlanta. Robert was also still working as a stationary engineer in an office building. His son Arnold was enumerated as Henry O. Pair instead of Arnold Henry Pair. By 1922, Robert and Susie had moved and were living at 66 Delta Place, still in Atlanta. On November 18, 1922, a tragic event occurred in the basement of the Atlanta Joint Terminal Company where Robert was working the late shift with friend and co-worker W. O. Lindsey. I don’t know why Lindsey had a gun (22-caliber revolver) with him but he was cleaning it while the two of them were in the basement. After he finished, he gave the gun to Robert who apparently loaded the chamber unbeknownst to Robert. Robert gave the gun back to Lindsey who made “some additional repairs to the cylinder.” After doing so, Lindsey “thought he would try snapping it to see if it revolved properly.” To his surprise, the gun discharged and a bullet struck Robert in the side of his head, coming “out just above his ear.” Robert was taken to Grady Hospital in Atlanta where he died three hours later. Lindsey was immediately arrested after the shooting. The arresting officers reported they had “passed through the basement of the terminal building just a short time before the shooting and saw the two men sitting there talking” and that the men were “engaged in cleaning the pistol.” Lindsey was exonerated and released the next day by a coroner’s jury after it was determined the shooting was an accident.
Headline from Atlanta Constitution news article dated November 19, 1922
Robert’s funeral, officiated by Rev. A. D. Echols, was held on November 20 at Stamps Chapel in DeKalb County, followed by burial in the church cemetery.
Robert’s wife Susie was incorrectly listed as Susie “Marshtown” instead of Marston on his death certificate.
Fulton and Campbell Counties, Georgia, Cemetery Records, 1857-1933
As mentioned above, I can’t be certain about Robert’s birthdate because of thsee inconsistencies:
- June 12, 1900 census: born July 1886, age 13. The census enumerator would have written the date as told by Robert’s parents.
- April 27, 1910 census: age 24. Because his birthday wasn’t until July, his birth year would have been 1886 in this instance.
- January 8, 1920 census: age 35. Robert was listed as age 34 when he died so how can 35 be correct? Ancestry.com estimates his birth year as 1885 for this census record.
- Fulton and Campbell Counties, Georgia, Cemetery Records, 1857-1933: age 34, born July 4 (no year provided), died November 18, 1922. This information probably came from the newspaper articles and his death certificate.
- Death certificate dated November 20, 1922: age 34, born July 4 (no year provided).
- World War I draft registration card dated September 12, 1918: age 33, born July 5, 1885. Robert himself would have provided the information for his draft registration card, and then he signed it.
- Newspaper article by The Atlanta Constitution dated November 20, 1922: age 34.
Whatever the case, Robert’s life came to a sudden, tragic end in 1922 leaving his wife Susie to raise their four children, whose ages ranged from 2 to 10, alone.
- Accidental Shot Kills Engineer, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, November 19, 1922.
- Asa Griggs Candler; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asa_Griggs_Candler.
- Fulton and Campbell Counties, Georgia, Cemetery Records, 1857-1933.
- Lindsey Given Freedom After Fatal Shooting, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, November 20, 1922.
- Mr. Robert Leroy Pair and Miss Susie Marston, Georgia, Marriage Records from Select Counties, 1828-1978.
- R. L. Pair, Georgia State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Standard Certificate of Death no. 29221, November 20, 1922.
- Robert Lee Pair, U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
- Stationary engineer; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stationary_engineer.
- U.S. Federal Census, Atlanta Ward 11, Fulton County, Georgia, 1920.
- U.S. Federal Census, Atlanta Ward 3, District 0066, Fulton County, Georgia, 1910.
- U.S. Federal Census, McDonough, Henry County, Georgia, 1900.