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Turmoil and Calm Order 2$
words to his music of "Oh! Susanna." They did not lure him; the gold he sought lay elsewhere.
Scrambling and unquiet as was this war and pioneer time, there were other aspects of life in Cincinnati quite the reverse. As the newspapers reveal, periods of calm order intervened, as typified by the Gazelle's report of a day which was a most important occasion for Stephen—his twenty-first birthday anniversary, July 4,1847. To celebrate he had a choice of Independence Day events extending from morning exercises with an oration by the Reverend Mr. Boynton to a display of fireworks at Shires Garden in the evening "far excelling anything of the kind before witnessed in the city." Said the Gazelle: "The streets were filled with well-dressed, quiet and orderly people. We witnessed no quarrellings and hardly a case of drunkenness throughout the day. The chief subject of complaint was the thoughtless audacity of boys throwing their crackers and serpents into the streets filled with crowds of children and horses."4
As the present narrative will disclose, life in Cincinnati meant social activity, lectures, concerts and theatrical plays. The influences that molded Stephen Foster were no extraordinary events. They were rather the resources this city gave him, in friendships and in environment, to develop as a poet and as a composer of music which both represents and transcends his times.