Joplin had gone to Chicago after the failure of his opera and in late 1903 (or early 1904) went to Arkansas to visit relatives. In Little Rock he met a nineteen-year-old woman named Freddie Alexander and dedicated his rag Chrysanthemum to her. He returned to St. Louis for the St. Louis World’s Fair (Louisiana Purchase Exposition), and for which he wrote The Cascades, in reference to the fair’s artificial waterfalls. In June returned to Little Rock where, on June 14, he and Freddie were married in a religious ceremony in the family home. From there, they went to Sedalia, where Joplin gave concerts during the summer. Freddie fell ill early in the summer and died at age twenty of pneumonia on September 10, 1904. Joplin moved back to St. Louis after the funeral.
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