July 4, 1826: About 12:30. Stephen Collins Foster is born at the White Cottage (now 3600 Penn Ave) in Lawrenceville (now part of Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, USA, the ninth child of William Barclay Foster, a businessman, and Eliza Clayland Tomlinson, daughter of a fairly well off farmer.
January 14, 1840: Stephen Foster (13) departs Youngstown, Ohio in an open sleigh for Towanda, Pennsylvania. He travels with his older brother William, the chief engineer on the Pennsylvania Canal, with whom he will live.
March 31, 1842: Stephen Foster (15), along with his brother William, makes the acquaintance of Charles Dickens during a triumphant visit of Dickens to Pittsburgh.
December 7, 1844: Publisher George Willig of Philadelphia copyrights a song called Open Thy Lattice Love to words of Morris. It is the first song composed by Stephen Foster (18) to be published.
April 10, 1845: Nearly one-third of Pittsburgh is destroyed by fire. Two people are killed, 12,000 are homeless. Over a thousand buildings are destroyed with $9,000,000 in damages. Among the citizens helping to fight the blaze are Stephen Foster (18) and his brother Morrison.
September 11, 1847: Susanna, a song by Stephen Foster (21), is performed for the first time, at Eagle Saloon, Pittsburgh. It is his first big success and is often cited as the beginning of popular music in the United States.
December 3, 1849: Stephen Foster (23) signs a contract with the New York music publisher Firth, Pond & Co. thus beginning his professional career.
February 19, 1850: Stephen Foster (23) publishes a song called Gwine to Run All Night. It is popularly known as Camptown Races.
July 22, 1850: Stephen Foster (24) marries Jane Denny MacDowell, daughter of a physician, now deceased, in Trinity Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh.
October 1, 1851: Old Folks at Home, a song by Stephen Foster (25), is published. Better known as Swanee River, Foster will sell the authorship rights to EP Christy. See 25 May 1852.
February 20, 1852: Stephen Foster (25) and his wife Jane depart Pittsburgh aboard the steamboat James Millingar for a vacation down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. It is the only time Foster will ever visit the South.
May 25, 1852: Stephen Foster (25) writes to EP Christy asking to buy back the authorship of his song Old Folks at Home. Foster had allowed Christy to claim authorship in return for $500. Christy will refuse Foster’s request.
December 21, 1854: Stephen Foster (28) signs a new publishing contract with Firth, Pond & Co. which denies them the exclusivity they previously enjoyed.
August 6, 1856: The Allegheny Buchanan Glee Club is founded in Pittsburgh to aid the presidential candidacy of James Buchanan. Buchanan’s brother Edward is married to the sister of the group’s musical director, Stephen Foster (30).
March 14, 1857: Stephen Foster (30) sells all the copyrights he currently holds to his publisher Firth, Pond & Co. for $1,872.28.
February 9, 1858: Stephen Foster (31) signs his fourth contract with the publishers Firth, Pond & Co. in New York. This one is much more in favor of the company than earlier contracts with Foster.
August 9, 1860: Stephen Foster (34) sells all rights to songs published under his previous contract to his publisher, Firth, Pond & Co for $1,600. After paying off his advances, he has $203.36 left.
April 14, 1863: Horace Waters publishes a hymnbook called The Golden Harp. It contains ten new songs by Stephen Foster (36).
January 10, 1864: In a weakened condition because of a fever, Stephen Foster (37) collapses in his hotel room in the Bowery, New York and hits his head on a wash basin. The accident also opens a gash in his neck. He is taken to Bellevue Hospital where his neck is stitched.
January 13, 1864: Stephen Collins Foster dies in Bellevue Hospital, New York, New York, USA, aged 37 years, six months, and nine days. Although he suffered wounds on 10 January, the exact cause of his death is not known.
January 17, 1864: The train carrying the body of Stephen Foster from New York to Pittsburgh derails between Lewistown and Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Two cars end up in the Juniata River but Foster’s body is not affected.
January 21, 1864: After a funeral service in Trinity Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, the mortal remains of Stephen Foster are laid to rest in Allegheny Cemetery, Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania (now part of Pittsburgh).
March 10, 1864: William A. Pond & Co. publish Beautiful Dreamer, a song by Stephen Foster (†0). Although composed in 1862, Pond probably publishes it only now because of Foster’s recent death.