Stephen Collins Foster, the ninth of William B. and Eliza T. Foster's ten children (plus a son fathered by William before the marriage and later raised as their oldest child), was born July 4, 1826, in a white cottage high on the hillside above the Allegheny River in Lawrenceville, east of Pittsburgh. The tenth child died as an infant, leaving Stephen as the "baby" of the family to be indulged by older brothers and sisters.
Foster's life has become part of American legend. Foster was an American composer. He composed his first piece of music at the age of 14. He played the piano and the flute. Foster married a woman named Jane McDowell and they had one daughter, Marion. From the stress of being a composer, Foster begin to drink more and he eventually became an aloholic. He drank more and wrote less. Jane and Foster seperated two times before they seperated for good. Some say it was because Jane was not musical and others say that Foster never spent time with his family. In 1864, Foster fell out of bed and cut his neck...3 days later he died.
Among his most popular songs are: Oh! Susanna (1848), De Campton Races (1850), Old Folks at Home [aka Swanee River] (1851), My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night! (1853), Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair (1854), Gentle Annie (1856), Beautiful Dreamer (1862), and The Voices That Are Gone (1865).