Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

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

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18             STEPHEN COLLINS FOSTER
Tell Morrison and Stephen I knowphey are good boys and look up to their kind elder brother for countenance and protection, with submission.
In this same year, 1836, the family left the White Cottage and moved to Alleghany City, across the river, where Stephen spent a large part of the remainder of his life. This move was due to the fact that William B. Foster, Senior, had been appointed the first Collector of the Pennsylvania Canal, which had just been completed, an appointment which came to him as a reward for his ardent support, both in and out of the Legislature, of the plan to build the canal.
All told, he served three terms in the State Legislature. To attend a session meant a journey of six days on horse­back over the mountains to Harrisburg. Many of his letters from Harrisburg are in the Morrison Foster col­lection, and while they possess much that is of interest and historical value, they have no direct bearing upon Stephen's life, so they are not here reproduced.
The White Cottage and much of the land on Bullitt's Hill was sold and the family became identified with the life of the city across the river. William B. Foster was twice elected Mayor of Alleghany. His family lived for many years in a house on the corner of Union Avenue and Gay Alley, facing the Common, a grass-grown, un­cultivated open stretch of country upon which cows grazed.
The first letter in Stephen's own handwriting was writ­ten to his father from Youngstown, Ohio, whither he had gone "a-visiting" in the winter of 1837, when he was ten years old. This, the first autograph of a famous man, is just a message from a homesick little boy, who had great difficulty in forming his letters, which in spite of the best he could do, would run up-hill and down—a fact which evidently annoyed him considerably.
Youngstown, January 14th, 1837. My dear Father:
I wish you to send me a commie songster for you promised to. If I had my pensyl I could rule my paper or if I had the money to







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