Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

A Biography Of America's Folk-Song Composer By Harold Vincent Milligan

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nineteen miles from the present city of Pittsburgh. Among them was James Foster. Of these pioneers in the western wilderness Trevelyan says, "The Scotch-Irish to the west of the Susquehanna resided, isolated and armed, on farms which they themselves had cleared, and they had no defence against a raid of savages except their own vigilance and courage. A fierce and resolute race, they lived not indeed in the fear, but in the con­templation of a probability that their families might be butchered, and the fruits of their labor destroyed in the course of one bloody night."
James Foster became a pillar of the new community, and was one of the founders and original trustees of Dr. McMillan's Canonsburg Academy, founded in 1791, for a school of some kind was one of the first things estab­lished by these Scotch-Irish pioneers wherever they formed a new community. The school-house and the Presbyterian church were built practically simul­taneously with the dwelling-house and the barn. Thus, while they tamed the wilderness to contribute to their material prosperity, they did not neglect to take thought also for the welfare of both mind and soul. Their sons and daughters were sent to school from rude log-cabins and their studies were accompanied by the sound of the pioneer's ax and rifle. This Canonsburg Academy was the first outpost of learning west of the Alleghany Mountains and afterwards grew into Jefferson College, which in turn became the present Washington-Jefferson College.
William Barclay Foster, the son of James Foster, lived in this new community until he was sixteen, pre­sumably imbibing his intellectual nourishment from Dr. McMillan's Academy. Then he, too, answered the call of his blood, and set out for pastures new.
A new town had been incorporated shortly before that time (1795) at the point where the Alleghany and Monongahela Rivers unite to form the Ohio. There

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III