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The original story, whatever it was, was told to those who forgot some details and substituted others. The original is long lost in the restorations. They have had the composer accompanied by a gifted sister, who, the inflexible record shows, died years before the song was written. They have seated him at the prim old spindle-legged mahogany desk in the hall at Federal Hill and had him dash it off in the frenzy of inspiration. Or they have followed him to the rocks of the old spring house, whither they have sent him, pencil in hand, and counted the frowns of agony with which he laboriously set down now a strain of melody and again a phrase of words. They have heard him trying it out with the deep booming bass voice of him who had never more than a weak but sweet light baritone. Every writer of it has himself for the hero and has described it as he would himself have acted it before the grand audience of posterity. These various stories cling about Federal Hill, the outgrowth of the human desire for contact with the vague figures of the past.
-Young Ewing Allison, writing about Stephen Foster's song 'My Old Kentucky Home'