Known for composing the songs "Oh! Susanna," "Beautiful Dreamer," "My Old Kentucky Home," and other standards. He was considered to be the father of American music.
He used to be a bookkeeper with a steamship company.
He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
He grew up with an older brother named William and attended private academies in Allegheny, Athens, and Towanda, Pennsylvania.
His song "Nelly Bly" inspired journalist Nellie Bly's pseudonym.