Scott County, Tennessee
FNB Chronicles

This page was created 06 Sep 2008

Laurence and Thelma Severine Tallasen Smith Family

Contributing Columnist

Laurence Clifton Smith was born April 25, 1900 and died on July 12, 1949. Laurence was the ninth child of Henry Clay Smith II and Lucinda Terry Smith. They had a total of fifteen children: ten boys and five girls.

Laurence "Star" & Thelma S. Smith

The Smiths are probably of Scotch-Irish descent, according to the writings of H. Clay Smith. They first appeared in the Scott County area around 1830 and were among the earliest settlers of Scott County, Tennessee (then part of Campbell County). The earliest Smith settlers probably came in on land grants given to them for their services in the Revolutionary War. They originally settled in the eastern part of the county in an area that is still referred to as Smith Creek.

Laurence was well known by the nickname Star because of his athletic abilities. At the time he was a teenager and young man, baseball was the most popular sport in this area as well as the nation. He and his brothers excelled at this sport. In fact, for awhile, he played professionally in the Sallie League. The eight oldest sons of Henry Clay II, and two of his sons-in-law, had their own team, known as the Cotton Creek team.

Laurence worked at several different jobs. He taught school for awhile, worked as a policeman, mail carrier, and owned a dry cleaning business at one time. He suffered from emphysema and asthma. In later years he was in ill health. Bill says that most of his memories of his father are of his being sick. He died in 1949 and is buried in the Smith Family Cemetery.

Thelma Severine Tallasen was born August 14, 1907 in Nome, Alaska and died August 10, 1994 in Oneida, Scott County, Tennessee. She is buried in the Smith Family Cemetery with her husband. Thelma was the daughter of Tallas Tallasen from Sweden and Severine Evensen Tallasen from Norway. There were three daughters in the family: Helen, Thelma and Myrtle. The family lived in Alaska for most of this time. In 1923 the family moved to Oneida, Tennessee. Thelma's father had been killed in an accident in a canning factory. Her older sister Helen had married a serviceman named John Slaven from Oneida and moved to this area with him. After the death of her husband, Severine Tallasen moved to Oneida with her two younger daughters, Thelma and Myrtle.

Thelma attended Oneida High School and graduated in 1926. She and Star were married October 1, 1926. They moved into a house on 2nd Street, the house that was later occupied by H. Clay Smith and family, and later moved to the house on 3rd Street where they lived until they died. After the death of Star, she continued to live in the home with her younger children and remained there until her death in 1994. The house was sold after her death.

Thelma attended college at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, receiving a BS degree in elementary education there. When her youngest children (twins) were about four years old (c. 1944), she started teaching school at Burchfield Elementary School. She later transferred to Oneida Elementary School and taught second grade there for many years.

After her retirement in 1972, her two great interests were her church and family. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Oneida. She attended church faithfully and participated in many activities. Her funeral was held in the Methodist Church. A new church building has been built since then.

Family was very important to Thelma. She greatly enjoyed visiting her children and grandchildren. She had one daughter, Clara Jo and her family, and son, Bill and family, who lived in Oneida. The others were scattered from Massachusetts to Louisiana. However, they were a very close family and have remained so even after the death of their mother.

Other activities Thelma enjoyed were reading, gardening, and crocheting. She made many crocheted afghans for family members and friends. She enjoyed her yard and flower garden very much and stayed busy with outdoor activities until about a year before her death, when her health began to fail. She died on August 10, 1994 at the Scott County Hospital, four days before her 87th birthday.


LAURENCE CARLYLE SMITH. After graduating from high school, he joined the United States Air Force where he stayed until retirement. He married Joyce Ellen Schann from Bellvue, Illinois. They had four children: Linda Nanette, Laurence E. Jr. (known as Larry), Mary Severine, and Mark Arthur. He retired from the Air Force in Bossier City, Louisiana, and worked for several years in a facility for handicapped and mentally retarded adults. In 1994, he and Joyce moved to Papillion, Nebraska (near Omaha). Two of their children, Linda and Larry and families live there.

CLARA JO SMITH. Died July 18, 1988 with lung cancer. She is buried in the Smith Family Cemetery. She graduated from Oneida High School and attended nurses training for awhile at St. Mary's Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee. She married William Meredith Brown, Jr. (b. 1922 and d. 1998) from Virginia. Bill worked for Ritter Lumber Company at the time of their marriage. They made their home in Oneida. Clara and Bill Brown had four children: Sylvia Louise, Rebecca Lynn (known in the family as Becky), Michael Allen, and William Meredith Brown III (known as Meredith). After Clara's death, Bill Brown married Bea Chambers Shoemaker. They lived in Clinton, Tennessee until his death in 1998.

BARBARA ANN SMITH. After graduation from Oneida High School, she worked for Plateau Electric Cooperative in Oneida. She married Rondald Walls from Stearns, Kentucky and lived there for a few years. They moved to the Nashville area after that and now live in the Mt. Juliet area. Barbara retired from the U.S. Postal Service as a mail carrier. She and Rondald have two children, Ronda and Scott. Both live in the Mt. Juliet area.

THOMAS CLIFTON SMITH. He graduated from Oneida High School and then attended Tennessee Tech for awhile. He then served a term in the U.S. Army. After that he settled in Atlanta, graduated from Georgia State, and worked for Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. He married Barbara Rose Starns from the Atlanta area. They have three children: Gregory, Leslie and Christopher. Later they moved to Massachusetts because of a job transfer. All of their children graduated from school there and live in that area. In 1997, Tommy and Barbara Rose moved to Tullahoma, Tennessee after their retirement.

ALMA LUCINDA SMITH. After graduating from Oneida High School she attended business school in Nashville and then started working for AT&T in Atlanta. She married Louis Hill and they had two sons: Louis and Richard. They were later divorced. She then married Raymond Partain from Atlanta. He adopted both boys and raised them as his own. Raymond was an industrial painter. He died on Christmas Eve 2000 following surgery. Alma still lives in the Atlanta area near both of her sons.

WILLIAM HENRY SMITH (known in the family as Billy and also Bill to his friends and others) was born August 11, 1940. He has a twin brother, Robert Lee (known in the family as Bobby). He graduated from Oneida High School, then went into the U.S. Air Force for a four-year enlistment. He served three years of this time in England and France. After that he attended Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Kentucky, where he received his BS degree in education. He taught school at Oneida High School for many years, serving as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and then principal. He retired from there in 1996. He married Nadine Chitwood, who also taught school at Oneida. She retired at the same time. They have two sons: William Jr., who teaches at Scott High School, and Alan, who received his PhD. from Vanderbilt University and teaches at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.

ROBERT LEE SMITH (known in the family as Bobby) was born August 11, 1940. He has a twin brother, William Henry (known in the family as Billy). He graduated from Oneida High School, then entered the United States Air Force. He was stationed in France for awhile. While there, he married a French girl, Gisheline. They had twin boys born in 1964. They were named William Thomas and Stephan Laurence. After leaving the Air Force, Bobby and his family settled in the Atlanta area and he went to work for IBM. All of them still live in the Atlanta area.

All of the children of Star and Thelma are alive and doing well except for Clara Jo, who died in 1998. All of the family tries to get together in August each year for the Smith Family Reunion. Thelma and Star had seven children, 19 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren. All of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren are living.

The following is an obituary for Laurence C. Smith:

"Laurence C. (Star) Smith died at his home here early Tuesday morning. While death came rather unexpectedly, he had been in bad health for some time and had at different times been critically ill. He was a member of one of our well-known and pioneer families and leaves a large number of relatives and friends. He was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Henry C. Smith of Oneida. He was a member of Oneida Lodge No. 695 F. & A.M. and member of the Oneida Methodist Church, always taking an active interest in the affairs of the town and community. He is survived by his widow, the former Miss Thelma Tallasen of Oneida; four sons: Thomas Clifton, Robert Lee, and William Henry, all of Oneida, and Laurence Carlyle Smith of the U.S. Army, Belleville, Illinois; three daughters: Clara Jo, Barbara Ann, and Lucinda Smith, all of Oneida; nine brothers, Lory, Virgil, Lee, Elmer, Harlin, Clay and Carl, all of Oneida, John Q. of Roseburg, Oregon, and Howard of Oak Ridge; five sisters: Mrs. William Thompson, Mrs. W. C. Marcum, Mrs. Espy Fetterman and Miss Beatrice Smith all of Oneida, and Mrs. Hall Frye of Tampa, Florida; one granddaughter Linda Smith; and a large number of family and friends.

"Funeral service will be held at the First Baptist Church here this afternoon at two, o'clock with the Rev. D. A. Warner, pastor of the Methodist Church, and Rev. Hugh F. Ensminger, pastor of the First Baptist Church officiating.

"Active pallbearers will be Roy Johnson, Oran Holloway, Howard Jeffers, Fred L. Smith, Dewey Hembree and Lillard Human. Among honorary pallbearers will be Earl Newport, Hobart Phillips, Lonnie West, Wayne Elliott, Herbert Hombre, Bob Owens, Clarence Young, Loy West, Mack Burchfield, and Claude Terry.

"Interment will be in the Smith Cemetery where the Masons will have charge of the arrangements." [Scott County News; Oneida, Scott County, Tennessee; Vol. XXXIV, No. 16; page 1; July 15, 1949. Note: I obtained this from the Internet.]

The obituary mentioned that at one time Laurence (Star) served as constable. This was to have tragic consequences for him and his family. The following account comes from the book Scott County, Tennessee Obituaries, 1926-1930, compiled by Paul W. Lemasters. This account is found on page 34.

"Forbis, Odeal. Was Killed By Constable Lawrence "Star" Smith. Odeal Forbis was shot and almost instantly killed by Lawrence Smith, constable, here last Sunday night on the porch of the Rev. T. H. Roark, pastor of The First Baptist Church. Forbis had gone to the home of the Rev. Mr. Roark just after dark, presumably to call on a young lady, and the young lady, not wishing to see him, shut the door and asked him to leave. He refused to leave and sat down in a swing on the porch, and it is said he was drinking and disturbing the Roark family. A member of the Roark family, we are informed, went to the home of Attorney I. J. Human, across the street from the Roark home and the police were called. The night policeman could not be located, but Constable Lawrence Smith was found and asked to get to the Roark home to get Forbis away. When Smith arrived at the Roark home, he found Forbis sitting in a swing on the porch and asked him to accompany him away from the Roark home. Forbis refused to go and kept calling for the young lady he desired to see. Members of the Roark family had locked the door before this. Constable Smith kept trying to get Forbis to leave the place, but Forbis refused and it is said, drew a .45 automatic pistol and shot at Smith two or three times, one of the bullets going through Smith's coat sleeve. By this time Smith had gotten his own pistol, a .38 special, out of his pocket and shot Forbis once in the mouth, the bullet coming out near the top of his head; another shot a few inches over the heart. Forbis died within a few minutes after he was shot. Smith was arrested and taken before City Judge John Lee West, where his preliminary hearing was held at 9 o'clock. He was held to the grand jury, his bond being fixed at $1,000, which was promptly made and Smith released. The Rev. Roark was at church when the killing took place and only his wife and young woman housekeeper were at home at the time. Forbis was 25 years old and was single. The body was taken to Coopers Funeral Parlor where it was prepared for burial. Funeral was conducted from the residence of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Forbis, Tuesday afternoon with Rev. T. H. Roark officiating and interment in the family cemetery. Young Forbis is survived by his father, mother, a brother and sisters, and a number of relatives and friends. "Odeal Forbis Shot Last Sunday Night." Scott County News, Fri 8 Feb 1929, Vol. 13, No. 46, p.1"

Smith Family Reunion – Front row, from left: Nadine Smith, Gil Smith, Clara Jo Brown, Barbara Walls, Thelma Smith, Barbara Smith, Alma Partain, and Joyce Smith. Back row: Bill Smith, Bobby Smith, Bill Brown, Rondald Walls, Tommy Smith, Ray Partain, and Carlyle Smith.
On Myrtle’s birthday (March 12, 1983) – From left: Thelma Smith, Clara Jo Brown, Helen Slaven, Thelma Vincent, and Myrtle Burchett
On March 12, 1980 – Kneeling: Carlyle Smith and Tom Smith. Standing, from left: Bill Smith, Thelma Smith, Clara Jo Brown, Barbara Walls, Alma Partain, and Bobby Smith. Bill Smith with heirloom trunk used by his grandmother, Severine Evensen Tallasen in her travels.

 FNB Chronicle, Vol. 18, No. 1 – Fall 2006
First National Bank
P.O. Box 4699
Oneida, TN 37841

Scott Co, TN Homepage

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