FOSTER, Stephen Collins. b. Lawrenceville (now part of Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, 4 July 1826; d. New York City, 13 January 1864. Foster, an American musical hero, is remembered as the country’s first professional songwriter. His most famous tunes, such as ‘Old Black Joe, ‘Oh, Susannah’, ‘Old Folks at Home’, exerted a greater influence in hymnology than did his 25 published hymn tunes.
On 5 April 1814, William Barclay Foster (1779-1855) bought 123 acres of land, some two miles north of Pittsburgh, and established the town of Lawrenceville. Ten years earlier, he had married Eliza Clayland Tomlinson (1788-1855), and Stephen Foster was the tenth of their eleven children. Foster attended...
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