Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

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

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BOYHOOD
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welcomed him to his log house in the Northwest Terri­tory. He had dogs and rifles and would lead the hunt at night for 'coons, 'possums, and other nocturnal game. This may have been tame work to the old pioneer, who had been used to bears, panthers and hostile Indians, but these hunts and the stories of adventure told him by his aged relative must have been a source of great delight to the imaginative child. Old Uncle Struthers, who seems to have been a bit of a character himself, re­sponded to the "something perfectly original" in Stephen, and prophesied that if he lived to be a man he would turn out "something famous," although he did not specify just what outlet Stephen's originality would seek.
One of these visits took place in the summer of 1839, when Stephen was thirteen, for Henrietta writes to William,
Youngstown, Sept. 29, 1839
. . . . Stephen enjoys himself finely_ at Uncle Struther's. He never appears to have the least inclination to leave there and don't seem to feel at all lonely. Uncle just lets him do as he pleases with the horses and cattle, which makes him the greatest man on the grounds.
Earlier in the same year, William had visited the family, and had proposed that he take Stephen back with him on his return to Towanda, in Bradford County, where his headquarters were established at that time. He agreed to put the boy in school at Athens, a near-by town, where there was a good academy and where he could be under the watchful care of his loving big brother. His parents' consent having been gained, the plan was adopted, and another chapter of Stephen's educational adventures was begun. It was winter, and William took him all the way to Towanda in his own sleigh, drawn by two horses. The distance was over three hundred miles, but the sleighing was good and William Foster was a man of great personal popularity who had many friends and acquaintances along the road.







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