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The Foss Family



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Museum ~ 2116 Tavern Road, Alpine, CA
Open 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm,
last weekend of each month







The Foss Family - 1890. From the
Beatrice LaForce Collection


the foss family

Foss/Athearn/Nichols Family of Alpine

by Carol Morrison

Edward Foss (1839-1898) was born in Massachusetts.  His great-grandfather was a Revolutionary War hero with Ethan Allen at Ticonderoga.  Edward served in the Civil War and was wounded with a bullet in his leg that could not be removed.  After the war he learned the trade of pipe organ maker. In 1870 he married Caroline Athearn. In 1875 they came to Alpine with two small sons to raise bees and farm. The family owed 240 acres. Edward died at the age of 59 of a heart attack and was buried on their property. Caroline’s whole life was her religion and her family. All their children except Robert lived and died in Alpine. With the death of the last child ended a saga of 89 years of Foss history in Alpine.

Charles (1872-1935)                
Percy (1874-1961)
Twins (1877- died at birth)
*Harry (1878-1961)
Helen Pearl (1880-1956)
*Robert (1882-1964)
*Joseph (1884-1964)
*Married, no children

Caroline Foss’ Ancestry:
Maternal ancestor: Deacon Thomas Thaxter arrived in Massachusetts from England in 1635.
Maternal great-grandfather: Reverend Joseph Thaxter was the first Army chaplain in the American Revolutionary War in 1776.
Grandfather: Timothy Athearn (b.1769) was a farmer and deacon of the Congregational Church, married Nancy Lambert (b. 1770) and had seven children.
Father: Charles Grandison Athearn, (1800-1855) was a deacon of the Church of Christ for 30 years, married Ann Thaxter (1807-1890) and had seven children. Ann moved to San Francisco after her husband’s death to be with her sons.  Children:
Charles Grandison (b.1826-1897) –Athearn Store owner in San Francisco
Annie Thaxter (1830-1912)  - lived in San Francisco with mother, then moved to Alpine after sister’s death to be with Caroline’s children and her brother, Albon.
Caleb Thaxter (1832-1907) - newspaper editor in Ohio
Sophronia (1835-1903) - married Joel Nichols, a carpenter, had two surviving children, Alice Jane and Wilfred.  She graduated from Boston Medical School and practiced in Corry, PA; Albany, OR; Petaluma, CA; Alpine and other locations in San Diego County. Our museum is her home built in 1896. Alice Jane (1866-1943) married Nicholas Anderson of Alpine and had seven children.  Wilfred (1872-1930) was a teamster in Ramona and never married.
Joseph (1839-1886) –Athearn Store owner in San Francisco
Caroline (Carrie) Eaton (1845-1905) – Alpine pioneer
Albon Charles (1847-1919) – lived in Alpine and owned property

Foss importance: Formation of Alpine Community Church, school started in their home, children and family members contributed to community's grown and Alpine residency spanned from earliest pioneer days to modern day 1876 - 1964.

The Foss Ranch Story, by Vic Head


Alpine Historical Society, 2116 Tavern Road, Alpine, California 91901
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 382, Alpine, California 91903

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