Roland Raymond Adair, 1885-1933
Roland Raymond Adair was born on 20 May 1885 near Flint, Michigan, and was the older of two children born to Augustus and Clara (Bishop) Adair. Augustus died in 1891 when Roland was only six years old. Roland's sister, Tressia, was only four years old when her father died (Tressia died during the influenza epidemic of 1918 - she was married but had no children). Even before his mother remarried in 1896 Roland left home and went to live with his grandparents, Micah and Abigail (Graham) Adair. According to Roland's granddaughter, Margaret Adair Tozer, when Roland was seven years old he left home and walked to the home of his grandparents. His parents and grandparents all lived at Henpeck in Thetford Twp. northeast of Flint. Henpeck, also known as East Thetford, was located at E. Vienna and N. Belsay roads but is now a ghost town. According to the 1879 History of Genesee County, Michigan, Henpeck had about a dozen dwellings, a saw mill, two stores, a schoolhouse, and a blacksmith shop.
As a young man Roland went to work for Buick Motors in Flint (Buick was incorporated in 1903). Then in 1907 at the age of 22 he joined the police force for the city of Flint. Initially he spent much of his time assigned to the Dept. of Health as an inspector but was named Night Desk Sergeant in 1912. In 1914 he was appointed Captain. Below is a photo of the police force in 1914 (Roland is on the motorcycle).
Less than a year after Roland was appointed Captain he was dismissed from the police force shortly after a new mayor was elected. Roland was quoted in the Flint Journal dated 14 May 1915, "The action of the police commission as now constituted was not a surprise to me. I had been told repeatedly by men with whom I have had to deal somewhat harshly as a police officer that if McKeighan was elected my job wouldn't be worth much. When the new mayor took office and named his brother as a police commissioner I had no doubt what the result would be so far as I personally was concerned. I cannot say that it was done merely for political debt but I have a right to my own opinions and I have some quite decided opinions. One can be too conscientious in his duties when he holds a position that is governed by politics. Possibly that fits my case."
Shortly after Roland joined the police force (August 1907) Roland married Isabelle "Belle" Richardson on 24 February 1908 in Flint. Belle was the daughter of David and Margaret (Davidson) Richardson, and she had taught school before they married. They had 4 children between 1909 and 1916 (the youngest died shortly after birth): Margaret Abigail Adair, b. 1909; Micah Robert Adair, b. 1912; Anna Graham Adair, b. 1914; and Roland Raymond Adair, Jr., b. 1916. Below is another photo of Roland in 1914 (from the Pictorial Souvenir of the Police Department and Flint Michigan):
In 1913 Roland and Belle were living at 428 W. 2nd Ave. (Roland's grandmother, Abigail Adair, was living with them at the time and this is where she died on 20 February 1913). By 1916 Roland and Belle had moved to 1102 Oak Street where Belle lived until she died in 1920. Below is one of the only known photos of Roland and Belle together:
From 1915 until 1920 Roland was Chief of Police for Buick Motors. He then worked for Fisher Body in Flint as Head of Plant Protection until he died in 1933. Roland and Belle had separated prior to Belle's death, and after she died their children, who ranged in age from 5 to 10 years, went to live with Belle's parents. Below are Roland and his daughters Margaret and Anna in the early 1920's.
Roland's second marriage was to Leah Terry on 14 October 1920 at Toledo, Ohio. She was the daughter of Harry Terry and Maud Darling. Leah was born on 8 October 1893 in Chicago, Ill., and died 15 June 1976 at Saginaw, Mich. (Leah was married previously, and after Roland died she married a third time). Roland and Leah had one child: June Adair, born in 1923. Below is a photo from the late 1920's of Roland with his children: Margaret, Robert, Anna (in hat), and June:
Roland died of apoplexy on 27 September 1933 at Flint, Michigan, and was buried in Gracelawn Cemetery in Flint.
© 2008 - , Thomas D. Adams