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Stephen Foster

Famous for writing songs like "Oh! Susannah" (1848), "Camptown Races" (1850), "Old Folks at Home" (1851), "My Old Kentucky Home" (1853) and "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair" (1854). Not understanding his musical talent, his pioneer family provided little formal musical education. His knowledge of African Americans was drawn from minstrel shows for which many of his songs were written. Feeling that prejudice against these 'Ethiopian songs' existed, he was at first unwilling to risk his reputation by having his name appear on them. Had little aptitude for business, and his income was never commensurate with the popularity of his songs. Excessive drinking and extreme poverty ruined his last years. He died in Bellevue Hospital, New York City. Buried in Allegheny Cemetery, Section 21, Lot 30.