History - Home Sweet Home Museum
John Howard Payne
John Howard Payne was probably born in New York City on June 9, 1791. He was the son of William Payne, of an old Massachusetts family, and Sarah Isaacs of East Hampton. John Howard was the sixth of nine children.
Payne's father was a successful teacher of elocution. He came to East Hampton to teach at Clinton Academy, the third oldest school in New York State. He trained John Howard well in diction and delivery and then was alarmed when the boy expressed a desire to go on the stage.
The stage held its lure for Payne and he made his debut as an actor in 1809. Praises of his beauty and genius filled the newspapers.
Payne went to England, the first American actor to invade the British stage. He later devoted himself entirely to writing. "Home Sweet Home" was written in 1822 and first sung in Covent Garden, England in I823 as part of the opera "Clari, the Maid of Milan." Payne served as American Consul to Tunis, Africa in the last years of his life and died there in 1852.
Click the Play button to hear "Home Sweet Home".
(Midi file courtesy of Chris Athey, arranged by Henry R. Bishop.)