Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

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

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THE FAMILY
7
After the manner of his kind, young Foster applied himself diligently to his business, and in due time was admitted to partnership. On one of these Eastern trips, after he had become a part owner of the business, he met in Philadelphia the young lady who was to become his wife and the mother of Stephen Foster. Her name was Eliza Clayland Tomlinson, and she was a native of Wilmington, Delaware. The Tomlinsons, like the Fos­ters, were Scotch-Irish, while her maternal ancestors, the Claylands, were English and among the first settlers of the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Both the Claylands and the Tomlinsons fought in the Revolution, Colonel James Clayland particularly dis­tinguishing himself. The family was of the "aristoc­racy" of the day, and it is from his mother that Stephen derived his poetic temperament.
The young people met while Eliza Tomlinson was visit­ing her aunt in Philadelphia, Mrs. Oliver Evans, wife of the inventor of the famous "amphibious locomotive." The Evans family lived on Race Street, and Stephen's mother was fond of telling her children in after years how she watched the inventor walk with great pride beside his machine as it moved out of his yard into the street and down into the river.
Of the progress of the love-affair there is no record, but we know that the marriage was solemnized at Chambersburg, November 14th, 1807, by the Rev. David Denny, a Presbyterian minister. William Foster was at that time twenty-eight years old and his bride nineteen. Chambersburg was on the overland route to Pittsburgh, and the newly-married couple set out on horseback over the mountains for their new home. It was a journey of nearly three hundred miles and occupied two weeks. Of the happy ending of this strange honey­moon, the young bride many long years afterward wrote:
The journey was slow and monotonous, and it was not until the fourteenth day that I hailed with delight the dingey town of







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