September 28, 1999
A Century Of Memories
Former Schoolteacher Holds Seabrook's Boston Post Cane
By Steve Jusseaume, Staff Writer
As the oldest resident in Seabrook, she holds the Boston Post Cane.
[File photo/Tim Cook]
Born just nine weeks after The Hampton Union, Grace Fogg of Seabrook celebrated her 100th birthday this summer with an open house at her Weare Road homestead, the very same house where she was born.
Resplendent in a bright flower print blouse, green pants, soft shoes, and wearing gold- accented earrings and necklace, Ms. Fogg entertained dozens of visitors last month on her birthday, Aug. 24 . Tri colored balloons waved from the mailbox outside the house, and inside the front porch flowers and congratulatory letters crowded every end table.
Ms. Fogg, a former school teacher and the keeper of Seabrook’s Boston Cane, was born August 24, 1899 in the house she has occupied all her life. The daughter of Augustus and Annie Fogg, she is one of seven children, and the last to survive. Ms. Fogg never married.
Augustus was a butcher and used to deliver fresh meats by horse and carriage every day. The family originally bought the house in 1885 from an uncle, Amos Johnson. Ms. Fogg recalled the three stoves in the house, all of which burned coke. Lighting in the early days of the century was by kerosene lamp, and Ms. Fogg received her middle name, Colcord, from the doctor who delivered her. According to Eric Small, a family friend, Ms. Fogg was delivered by Dr. Colcord, who arrived one warm summer evening 100 years ago by horse and buggy.
"There was no canned food, everything was fresh and my mother was an excellent cook," Ms. Fogg told Small in an interview published recently.
I entered school when I was 4-years-old. I used to follow my brother Harvey to the Crowtown Schoolhouse (built in 1760) and went to all eight grades in that school."
Ms. Fogg eventually attended the Great School on Kensington Road in Hampton Falls, then Hampton Academy, and received her teaching certificate at state schools in Plymouth and Keene.
She taught nine years in Hampton Falls and in Seabrook, and also worked at local shoe factories and the Portsmouth Navy Yard during World War II. After the war, she resumed teaching, retiring in 1966.
One visitor to the Fogg home last month was Bruce Brown, a town selectman from 1969 to 1975. Brown recalled his mother's association with Ms. Fogg.
"My mother was great friends with Grace." Brown said. "Grace was a school teacher and my mother, Viola, and Grace were great friends."
Ms. Fogg sat contentedly during the open house with her nieces Doris Carmel, 90, and Avis Langley, 79, while ginger ale, root beer, creme puffs and lobster sandwiches passed from chair to chair in the sitting room.
They were joined by Addie Merrill, a friend, and Grace's primary care-giver, Larry Fowler, who visits Grace twice daily. Other than Fowler's visits, Ms. Fogg lives alone in the rambling white farmhouse.
Asked how she felt, Ms. Fogg smiled. "Wonderful," she said. When asked how she has stayed healthy all these years, she said, "Good, healthy air, and no medication." Ms. Fogg then joked, "A glass of wine every night, and no Seabrook water."
Ms. Fogg was offered a glass of root beer. "Hey, we used to make our own root beer," she answered. One visitor remarked. "Yes, and we put a little whiskey in it," and everyone laughed.
A neighbor, Virginia Small, arrived with a plate filled with more creme puffs. "Oh, you should have seen Bruce Brown before. They came in with champagne and Bruce had 36 lobster rolls," Ms. Fogg said.
"Did you save me any champagne?" Virginia Small asked. "No, I don’t think so," Ms. Fogg responded.
Several congratulatory proclamations from the New Hampshire House of Representatives, the state Governor's Office, the White House, and the Seabrook Board of Selectmen were among the cards and letters Ms. Fogg received for her birthday. Ms. Fogg also received more than 100 birthday cards. Fowler did a little cleaning in the kitchen while Ms. Fogg and her fiends chatted in the sun room.
"I started coming by here three years ago after Grace fell and broke her arm," Fowler said. "I’ll stop by twice a day, and I’m only a phone call away, but Grace gets around pretty well, even now. She holds onto chairs and tables and just moves around.
"She’s sharp alright," he said. "She doesn’t miss much. And every night before she puts herself to bed, she’ll have a little wine, or maybe some coffee brandy. Does it every night."