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The party included Stephen and his wife, Miss Jessie Lightner, Mr. Richard Cowan, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew L. Robinson and their son, John W. Robinson, all of whom were possessed of considerable musical talent, and they had a very pleasant trip.
The party remained but three days in New Orleans and then returned to the North. While in New Orleans, Foster and Richard Cowan met Dan Rice, the circus clown, whom they had known when he was a driver for one of the old Pittsburgh families. Rice was showing the young men the sights of the city and they asked him to take them to a cock pit. " Boys," said Rice, " I could not think of risking my reputation by being seen at a cock fight, but I will get you another guide, who will take you and show you the fun." This he did much to the amusement of the two young aristocrats.
On this trip, Foster observed many incidents of Southern life and habits, which he afterwards wove into the fabric of his songs with such pleasing effects.
Between the years 1853 and 1860 Foster remained in Pittsburgh and wrote many of his sentimental songs, such as " Gentle Annie," " Willie, We Have Missed You," etc.
In 1860, he again received a very profitable offer from New York to go there and live in that city, which he did, remaining there until the time of his death.
In January, 1864, while staying at a hotel in New York, he was attacked with ague and fever and went to bed. After two or three days, he arose and was washing himself, when be became faint and fell to the floor, striking the wash basin, which broke and cut a deep gash in his face and neck. He was discovered in a few minutes by a servant and taken to the Bellevue Hospital. He was much weakened by fever and loss of blood and did not rally. The end came on the thirteenth of January, among strangers in the hospital, but it is said that he died peacefully and quietly, as he had always lived.
The funeral services were held in Trinity Church, Pittsburgh, and were simple and impressive. Several of his favorite compositions were rendered at the cemetery, including " Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming," " Old Folks At Home," etc.
Foster was survived by his wife and one child, a daughter, who was married to Mr. Walter Welsh.
Stephen Foster's grave in the Allegheny Cemetery is marked by a simple marble tomb-stone in the family lot, where his body was laid beside the graves of his father and mother.