Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

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

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Pittsburgh, my future home, where every joy and sorrow of my heart since that bright period have been associated with the joys and 1 sorrows of its people. It was evening, when, weary and faint with travel, I was conducted, or rather borne into the hospitable mansion of my husband's partner, the benevolent Major Denny, a dwelling in the center of the town, where I was received and treated with the most extreme kindness. After resting and changing my apparel I was shown into an apartment below stairs where blazed in all its brilliancy a coal fire, casting its light upon the face of beauty clothed in innocence in the person of little Nancy Denny, at that time five years old. The well-cleaned grating of the chimney-place, the light that blazed brightly from the fire, the vermillion hearth, the plain rich furniture, the polished stand with lighted candles in candle­sticks resembling burnished gold, made an evening scene that fell gratefully on my_ pleased sight. Upon a sofa lay the tall and military figure of the Major, a gentleman of the old school, easy and dignified in his bearing, a soldier who had served his country well under Washington at Yorktown, and Harmar, St. Clair and Wayne in the subsequent Indian campaigns.
Pittsburgh at this time was a city not without some pretensions as the young metropolis of the far West. Hither, after the close of the Revolutionary War, had come many officers of the Continental Army with their families, bringing with them the courtesies and social amenities of the seaboard colonies, but lately become states. An early chronicler of the city's history remarks with pride that a number of the families had their own carriages and drove through town attended by liveried servants. When Louis Philippe and his brothers, Beaujolais and Montpensier, visited Pittsburgh) they expressed their surprise and pleasure at the "ease and elegance" of their entertainment in the border town.
In this ambitious western frontier town, William Foster and his wife made their home until their death, , and here their children were born. According to the record of the old family Bible, still preserved, ten chil­dren were born to them, of whom two died in infancy. | Stephen was the ninth child, and as his little brother i James, born three years later, died at the age of one year, Stephen was always "the baby of the family." And a most interesting and delightful family it was, too, as is shown by such of the family letters as have been pre­served. The last surviving member of that generation,

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