Stephen Collins Foster

Page 2
Stephen Foster Parents, Settle Lawrenceville, Pa.

William Barclay Foster
William Barclay Foster
father of Stephen Foster, who was in early life, one of the most prosperous merchants of Pittsburgh. He served three terms in the State Legislature, was the first collector for the Pennsylvania Canal, which was the occasion for his having moved to Allegheny City, of which he was twice mayor. He was a patriot, a lover of home and an outstanding servant to his community, state and government. William B. Foster was the son of James Foster and was born in Berkeley County, Virginia, in 1779. The family emigrated from Berkeley with many other Scotch and Irish families at the end of the war, to Western Pennsylvania. James Foster was one of the founders and original trustees of Dr. McMillan's Canonsburgh Academy, founded in 1791. Here, Wm. Foster remained until he was sixteen years old, when he set out to explore new fields. He located in Pittsburgh shortly after it's incorporation in the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers. Here William Foster found employment with the firm of Denny and Bellen, "Dry Goods, Hardware, etc.," and it was for this firm that he traveled extensively by boat and horse car. From this humble position he developed into a very wealthy and influential man, becoming a partner of Denny & Beelen. (Photo: courtesy of the City of Pittsburgh. Pa.)

Eliza Clayland Tomlinson Foster
Eliza Clayland Tomlinson Foster
mother of Stephen Foster. She was of an aristocratic family from Wilmington, Delaware, as the Claylands and Tomlinsons were among the first settlers on the eastern shores of Maryland. It is from Mrs. Foster, no doubt, that Stephen derived his poetic temperament. Eliza Tomlinson and William B. Foster met inn Philadelphia while Eliza was visiting her aunt in that city. William was then on one of his business trips, after he had become a partner in the firm of Denny & Beelen. They were married on November 14, 1807, at Chambersburg, Pa. The bride was then nineteen yrs. old and the groom twenty eight. From there they set out on horseback for Pittsburgh, which took two weeks, and in this frontier town, the Fosters lived and died. Eliza was a wife and mother in every sense of the words, according to records. Morrison Foster, her son, wrote of her: "She was the soul of purity, truth and Christian virtue. Her example shone upon her family, as the continual light from heaven. No unkind word ever passed between members of the family, for strife was repelled and anger was washed away by the stream of love." In 1855 she died, within a few months of the death of her husband. (Photo: courtesy of the City of Pittsburgh. Pa.)

Plan of the Town
of Lawrenceville, Penn.,

Plan of the Town of Lawrenceville, Pa.
as it was laid out by William Barclay Foster, Stephen's father. In 1814 Mr. Foster bought a tract of land of 171 acres on a hillside overlooking the Allegheny River, which is now a busy section of Pittsburgh.(1930)This tract which was not far from the site of Croghan's Castle which was burned by the Indians during the siege of Post Pitt, was known as Bullitt's Hill. It extended on the north as far as the Allegheny River, including the ground where ?Washington landed on his return from Fort Venago. Two years after the purchase, Foster laid out the plans for the town of Lawrenceville; it had been his intention to name it Fosterville, but for patriotic reasons, he finally named it Lawrenceville, after Captain Lawrence, whose death a short time previous, had been immortalized by his dying words: "Don't give up the ship." At the time that the Foster family moved into Lawrenceville, there were three children in the family: Charlotte, Ann Eliza and William Barclay Jr., whose life was closely woven with that of his younger brother, Stephen. (Photo: courtesy of the City of Pittsburgh. Pa.)

The Stage Coach
The Stage Coach
which was the means of travel for passengers in the early days of Pittsburgh and at the time that William Foster, father of Stephen Foster, was employed in that city.

The Conestoga Wagon
The Conestoga Wagon
the large six horse wagons which supplemented the shipping of goods by pack-horse. On these wagons, which took twenty days to make the trip from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, the driver sat on one of the horses in the shafts and controlled the others by reins. Usually bells were attached to the animals to keep the driver more or less amused by their tinkle. No doubt, William Foster found this means of travel a great improvement over the previous form, especially since his early occupation was the transportation of goods for the firm of Denny & Beelan.

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