Sunday, May 28, 2017

Miss. Jennie Wait Foster, Pianoforte

My paternal grandmother, before she met my grandfather, was pictured among the faculty of Columbia College in the their first yearbook (The Columbian) ever published for the college in 1904. At that time, Columbia College had just moved to it's new location in North Columbia.  The college changed it's name from Columbia Female College in 1905, which was the same year she married my grandfather. 

The college was founded in 1854 and officially opened in 1859 and is among the oldest women's colleges in the United States. The college closed in 1865, when Sherman's troops marched through Columbia.  Professor of  Music W.H. Orchard saved the college from being burned to the ground by standing in the doorway of the college where he could be seen by the Union troops. The college reopened in 1873.

Miss Foster left her position and married a dry goods merchant, Mr. Burruss Finlayson, and made her home in Cheraw, South Carolina. She resumed teaching piano and voice from the Finlayson residence as she raised seven children.  All of those Finlayson children loved to sing just like their mother.

About thirty years ago, after playing a concert in Macon, Georgia, Dizzy Gillespie and Patillo Ainsworth Finlayson (Uncle Pat) met and had a moment to chat.  Both Pat and Dizzy had been friends as youth before the war ~ having worked as ushers at  Lyric Theatre.   Dizzy asked about all Pat's siblings, and expressed his high regard and praise for Cheraw's voice and piano teacher ~ Mrs. Burruss Finlayson. 

Post a Comment