FRANK LESLIE FOSS – Among the well known men in the industrial, civic, fraternal and social life of Greenfield, Frank Leslie Foss holds a notable position, serving in official capacity in various organizations of advancement, and taking active part in the development of the section. He comes of old American ancestry that traces back to an even earlier lineage of Norway. The Foss family in America belonged to the nobility of Norway, bearing a coat-of-arms, the chief figure in both arms and crest being that of a fox. The name was originally Vos, which signifies fox, and was pronounced foss. The line comes through Denmark and England to America, and the first of whom any knowledge has been traced was a man named Lauritz, nothing further being known of him at this time. According to the custom of the age in that country, the name of the son was adopted from the baptismal name of the father.
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David Lauritzen Foss, born in Norway in 1604, removed to Denmark when a young man, and died at Ribe, in that country, August 31, 1659. He was a minister of the gospel and was pastor of St. Catherine’s Church at Ribe, in 1648; he was also a magistrate and afterwards provost at Ribe. He married there, September 10, 1636, Jansdatter Hundevard, born February 15, 1620 died September 16, 1684, daughter of Jens Lorenson and Catherine (Hasdatter) Hundevard. These records have been obtained from Denmark, and are a feature of the Foss genealogy in manuscript, now in the possession of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Children born at Ribe: John, of whom further; Karine, Lauritz, Agatha, Magdalen, Lauritz Davidson, Jene, Antonius, Peter and Inger.
John Foss, American immigrant ancestor, son of David Lauritzen and Jansdatter (Hundevard) Foss, was baptized January 3, 1639, in Denmark and became a seafaring man. Going to England with his brother Peter, he entered the British Navy as a ship calker. On the arrival of the vessel in which he sailed in the port of Boston, he decided to remain in this country, and tradition states that he went overboard in the evening and swam ashore. To- avoid a forcible return to the service he immediately proceeded to the interior, and shortly settled in Dover, New Hampshire. He purchased a house in Exeter, New Hampshire, September 29, 1666, and sold it in April, 1671. In 1667, 1669, 1672 and 1688 he was a juror in Dover, and for some time lived in Rye, New Hampshire. His will was dated at Dover, December 17, 1699, and he died before January a of the following year. He married (first) Mary Chadbourne, born in 1644, daughter of William and Jane Chadbourne. Her father came to America in the employ of Captain John Mason, to build a mill at South Berwick, Maine, and in 1657 was at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. With him, John Foss removed to Old Kittery, Maine, soon after settling in Dover. He was a prominent man in town affairs in Dover, and was married there (second) by John Wincool, a justice of the peace, January 25, 1686, to Mary (Fernicide) Goss, widow of James Goss. He married (third) Elizabeth (Berry) Lock, daughter of William and Jane Berry, and widow of John Lock, who was killed on Dover Plains, June 26, 1696. His children were: John, Samuel, Joshua, Elizabeth, Mary, William, Walter, Hannah, Thomas, Hinkson, killed June 26, 1696; Humphrey, Jemima and Samuel. From these children have descended many lines of this old family, scattered now in many States of the Union. Down one of these avenues of generation was born Benjamin Hayes Foss, of whom further.
Benjamin Hayes Foss was born September 12, 1812, at Strafford, New Hampshire, and died April 25, 1874. He was a farmer in Strafford and married Mary Halmer Caverly, born November 13, 1808, died April 29, 1874, a few days after her husband’s demise. They were the parents of one son: Frank B., of whom further.
Frank B. Foss, son of Benjamin Hayes Foss and Mary Halmer (Caverly) Foss, was born April 19, 1847, in Strafford, New Hampshire, and died April 11, 1922. He had a farm of some seventy-five acres in Strafford, which he cultivated all his life, dealing, however, principally in dairy products. Frank B. Foss married October 25, 1874, Mary E. Hall, born in Strafford, New Hampshire, August 13, 1855, and they were the parents of the following children: 1. Frank Ernest, born January 13, 1876, died August 11, 1879. 2. Philip Leslie, born November 8, 1877, died August 25, 1879. 3. Ida May, born in 1879. 4. Frank Leslie, of whom further. 5. Florence Lina, born in 1882. 6. Raymond, born in 1886.
Frank Leslie Foss, son of Frank B. and Mary E. (Hall) Foss, was born February 10, 1881, in Strafford, New Hampshire. He received his education in the schools of his native town, completing his studies in 1899. He then worked at farming for a number of years, and in 1905 he came to Greenfield and obtained employment at tool making with Wells Brothers Company, where he remained for four years, the concern being now known as the Greenfield Tap and Die Corporation. In 1909 he went with the Greenfield Electric Light and Power Company, at first doing inside wiring, and later becoming a draughtsman. In 1912 he was promoted to the position of purchasing agent, and in 1914 was made corporation clerk, both of which positions he holds up to the present time (1924). These offices carry with them much responsibility, and Mr. Foss’s efficiency in handling them has made him of great value to the concern. He is active in the civic, fraternal and social life of the community and has served the town of Strafford for three Years as town clerk. He is a member of Republican Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, of Greenfield, and also holds the thirty-second degree in the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite. Mr. Foss is a member of the Greenfield Country Club.