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date: 22 August 2019

Poulton, George locked

  • Sarah Gerk

Extract

(b Cricklade, England, 1828; d Lansingburgh, NY, Oct 17, 1867). Composer, performer, and music teacher of English birth. Best known for penning the song “Aura Lea.” Poulton emigrated at the age of seven from England to the United States with his parents. As an adult, he moved to Rochester, where he taught at a series of music schools. In 1859, however, he was fired from the Fort Edward Academy for imprudent behavior. Local newspapers reported that Poulton, already married, eloped with a student at the school, with her brother and friends in hot pursuit. Poulton was tarred and feathered at the hands of vigilante justice. “Aura Lea” was published in 1861, and remained popular through the Civil War. The song has also survived in various adaptations, including West Point’s “Army Blue” (1865) and Elvis Presley’s “Love me tender” (1956). Other publications include a number of songs, like “Johnny Darling,” an answer to the popular “Katy Darling,” and piano music, the most well-known of which was his piano setting of the hymn tune “Old Hundred” with variations. Poulton died at his parents’ Lansingburgh home. The cause of death was listed as influenza....

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