Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

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

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VII
TRAGEDY
The old box of letters which has been our principal
link with the past, is nearly empty. It contains only
three more references to Stephen. The first is a letter
from a friend of Stephen's in New York, after an interval
of four years:
New York City, January 12th, 1864. Morrison Foster, Esq.,
Your brother Stephen I am sorry to inform you is lying in Bellevue Hospital in this city very sick. He desires me to ask you to send him some pecuniary assistance as his means are very low. If possible, he would like to see you in person.
Yours very truly,
George Cooper.
Dated two days later is this telegram:
176^ Bowery, New York City, N. Y. Cleveland, Jan. 14, 1864, by telegraph from New York. To Morrison Foster,
Stephen is dead. Come on.
George Cooper.
We have come to the end of the pitiful story. In some way Stephen Foster had fallen upon evil fortune and had made shipwreck of his life. More has been written about these last four years than of any other portion of his life, and yet very little is definitely known about them. Even during his lifetime, myths and legends began to accumulate about him, and after his death they multiplied rapidly. His brother Morrison was kept busy denying and refuting these tales, but they con­tinued to appear from time to time, and apparently the end is not yet. The extraordinary popularity of his songs led many who had known him to indulge in fic­titious "reminiscences." Evidently some of these writers were inspired by a desire to shine in some sort of reflected glory. The authorship of some of the Foster songs has been disputed, on the flimsiest of evidence, and much is made of the destitution and loneliness of his last days in
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III