Monday, January 15, 2018

Portraits of Two Benefactors of the Porter High School Found and Identified (Continued from 1/1/2018)

Elijah Fox (1834 – 1916)
The second portrait found was of Elijah Fox who left a $20,000 trust fund to help pay for the maintenance of Porter High School which was built in 1919.

Elijah Fox was born in Parsonsfield, Maine, December 22, 1834, son of Thomas and Elmira (Baker) Fox and lived and worked on the family farm until he was twenty-one.  His family believed strongly in education and he attended Limington Academy.  Like many Maine youths of that time, Elijah Fox had an ambition to find work in the vicinity of Boston, Massachusetts.  He finally found work at a store in Haverhill, Massachusetts and apprenticed  himself as a grocery clerk in order that he might learn the business thoroughly.  Later he and his brother opened their own store and successfully conducted one of the leading grocery establishments on Merrimack Street in Haverhill, for more than 30 years.  In 1886 he retired from the grocery trade, and engaged in the real estate business, mining interests and other business projects from which he amassed a large fortune.

He married Eliza Ann George on December 6, 1864 and they had one daughter, Florence Louise, who died in 1874 at age seven.   He resided all his adult life in Haverhill, Massachusetts and passed away at his home on White Street, Haverhill on March 18, 1916.  His wife continued to live at that address until her death in 1921.

Mr. Fox was very active in the Haverhill community and the Grace Episcopal Church and gave generously of his time and money and to whatever cause needing his assistance, he gave intelligent and loyal service.  His biographies spoke highly of him in every way for his unbending honesty, his faithful observance of all public and private duties, his devotion to home and church and his cheerfulness and optimism.

Although Elijah did not live in Kezar Falls as an adult, his interest in his home here remained strong all his life.  In 1880 he, along with George W. Towle and John Devereux were the investors who built the original woolen mill building and organized the Kezar Falls Woolen Manufacturing Company on the Ossipee River in Kezar Falls, Maine.  He contributed to other worthy causes here throughout his life including Parsonsfield Seminary.