Text: Dwight R. Thomas and David K. Jackson, “Chapter 01,” The Poe Log (1987), pp. 3-65


[page 3:]


A Schoolboy in America and England

Elizabeth Arnold Poe [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 2]
Elizabeth Arnold Poe


Edgar Poe is born in Boston, Massachusetts, 19 January 1809. Soon after his birth his parents, both actors, take him to Baltimore, Maryland, where for a few months they leave him with his grandparents, David and Elizabeth Cairnes Poe, who have been caring for his older brother Henry. In 1810, possibly on 20 December, Rosalie, Poe’s sister, is born at Norfolk, Virginia. On or about 11 December 1811 Poe’s father may have died. On the death of his mother, 8 December 1811, in Richmond, Virginia, Poe is taken into the home of John Allan, of the merchant firm of Ellis & Allan, and Allan is added to his name. Rosalie is taken into the home of the William Mackenzies, neighbors of the Allans, and Mackenzie is added to hers. Accompanying John Allan to Scotland, where are visited his family and friends, and to London, England, where in 1815 a branch of the Richmond firm is established, are his wife Frances Keeling Valentine Allan, his wife’s sister Ann Moore Valentine, and Poe. Poe is first tutored by the Misses Dubourg in London; later he attends the Manor House School of the Reverend John Bransby at Stoke Newington. Being unsuccessful in business abroad, John Allan returns to America with his family in 1820. Poe enters the Richmond schools of Joseph H. Clarke and William Burke. He is discouraged by Clarke and Allan in his attempts to publish a volume of poems. In 1825 John Allan inherits the larger part of the immense fortune of his uncle William Galt.



Scroll down, or select date:



~~ 1809 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 3, continued:]

[1809] 19 JANUARY. BOSTON. Edgar Poe is born to Elizabeth Arnold Poe and David Poe, Jr., both actors, playing at the Boston Theatre and residing probably at No. 62 Carver Street (Quinn, pp. 30, 727-29).

[Poe’s mother afterwards wrote on the back of her watercolor painting, “Boston Harbour, morning, 1808”: “For my little son Edgar, who should [page 4:] ever love Boston, the place of his birth, and where his mother found her best, and most sympathetic friends.” The painting has not survived (Miller [1977], pp. 121, 126).]

[1809] 20 JANUARY. David Poe, Jr., appears as Leczinsky in T. J. Dibdin’s The Brazen Mask; or, Alberto and Rosabella. Both he and his wife are members of Powell’s Company playing at the Boston Theatre on Federal Street.

[A list of parts acted by Elizabeth and David Poe before and after their son’s birth may be found in Quinn, pp. 697-724.]

[1809] 9 FEBRUARY. The Boston Gazette in an editorial notice welcomes the return of Elizabeth Arnold Poe to the stage:


We congratulate the frequenters of the Theatre on the recovery of Mrs. Poe from her recent confinement. . . . [periods in the original notice]. This charming little Actress will make her reappearance Tomorrow Evening, as ROSAMUNDA, in the popular play of ABAELLINO, the GREAT BANDIT, a part peculiarly adapted to her figure and talents.

[1809] 10 FEBRUARY The New-England Palladium of Boston reports Elizabeth Poe’s recovery and runs an advertisement.

Theatrical Communication.

ABAELLINO” and “LA PEROUSE,” with the recovery of Mrs. POE, in the sweetly interesting character of Rosamunda[,] must certainly ensure a fashionable if not a very crowded house. Both these pieces will be inimitably performed; indeed it is one of the best bills for the season, and we hope the public will honour it uno voce.


The time of the Curtain’s rising is altered to 1/2 past 6


Will be presented positively for the only time this season, the popular Play, in 5 acts,
[page 5:]


[names of some of the cast omitted]

Contarino, Mr. Poe.


Rosamunda, Mrs. Poe


To which will be added, for the last time this season, the much admired Pantomime of



[A similar advertisement appeared in the Boston Gazette of 9 February.]

[1809] LATE FEBRUARY? BALTIMORE. David and Elizabeth Arnold Poe take their son Edgar, then five weeks old, to Baltimore and leave him with his paternal grandparents, “General” (Major) David Poe, Sr., and Elizabeth Cairnes Poe, residing on Camden Street (Maria Clemm to Neilson Poe, 19 August 1860, Miller [1977], pp. 46-47; Allen, pp. 679-80; see LATE AUGUST?).

[1809] 6 MARCH. STOCKERTON, PENNSYLVANIA. George Poe, Jr., writes his brother-in-law William Clemm, Jr.:

. . . I have been somewhat troubled within the last few days by a couple of Baltimoreans, connexions of ours — You may have heard my Father speak of a visit I had a few days ago from young Roscius. well, he is one of the Gentlemen alluded to; the other “tho’ last not least” in my estimation for respectability in society, is Mr Thomas Williams. . . . The first mentioned Gentleman [David Poe] [page 6:] did not behave so well. One evening he came out to our house — having seen one of our servants (that is one of the two we keep) he had me called out to the door where he told me the most awful moment of his life was arrived, begged me to come and see him the next day at 11 o’clock at the Mansion house, said he came not to beg, & with a tragedy stride walked off after I had without reflection promised I would call — in obedience to my promise I went there the next day but found him not nor did I hear of him until yesterday, when a dirty little boy came to the door & said a man down at the tavern desired him to bring that paper and fetch back the answer —

[George Poe, Jr., copies this note to show his correspondent “the impertinence it contains.”]

“Sir, You promised me on your honor to meet me at the Mansion house on the 23d — I promise you on my word of honor that if you will lend me 30, 20, 15, or even 10$ I will remit it to you immediately on my arrival in Baltimore. Be assured I will keep my promise at least as well as you did yours and that nothing but extreme distress would have forc’d me to make this application — Your answer by the bearer will prove whether I yet have ‘favour in your eyes’ or whether I am to be despised by (as I understand) a rich relation because when a wild boy I join’d a profession which I then thought and now think an honorable one. But which I would most willingly quit tomorrow if it gave satisfaction to your family provided I could do any thing else that would give bread to mine — Yr. politeness will no doubt enduce you to answer this note from Yrs &c

D. POE Jr.”

To this impertinent note it is hardly necessary to tell you my answer — it merely went to assure him that he need not look to me for any countenance or support more especially after having written me such a letter as that and thus for the future I desired to hear not from or of him — so adieu to Davy — (Quinn, pp. 32-33).

[1809] 6 JUNE. NEW YORK. The “sudden disappearance” of Elizabeth Poe causes the postponement of an entertainment at Mechanic’s Hall (Odell, 2:324).

[1809] 14 JUNE. BALTIMORE. Harriet Clemm, William Clemm’s first wife, is baptized (St. Paul’s Episcopal Church record; Quinn, p. 725).

[1809] 11 AUGUST. Amelia and Neilson Poe, twins, are born to Jacob and Bridget Poe (First Presbyterian Church record; Quinn, p. 725).

[1809] LATE AUGUST? Poe’s parents return to Baltimore for him.

[“William [Poe’s brother], the eldest, was cared for by his father’s friends at Baltimore, by whom he appears to have been taken at an earlier date, not improbably soon after Edgar’s birth, when, tradition asserts, the family visited the grandparents at Baltimore in the fall of 1809” (Woodberry, [page 7:] 1:16-17; see also Maria Clemm to Neilson Poe, 19 August 1860, Miller [1977], pp. 46-47; and Ingram, pp. 441-43).]

[1809] 6 SEPTEMBER. NEW YORK. With Price and Cooper’s Company at the Park Theatre David Poe, Jr., appears as Hassan and Elizabeth Poe as Angela in M. G. Lewis’s The Castle Spectre, and David as Captain Sightly and Elizabeth as Priscilla Tomboy in T. A. Lloyd’s The Romp, or Love in a City (Quinn, p. 719).

[Their New York engagement has been documented by Quinn, pp. 35-39, 719-22.]

[1809] 18 SEPTEMBER. David Poe, Jr., plays Falieri in Cooper’s Abaellino; he mispronounces the name “Dandoli” as “Dan Dilly” (Quinn, p. 36).

[The critic of the Ramblers’ Magazine and New-York Theatrical Register was hereafter to refer scornfully to David Poe, Jr., as “Dan Dilly” (Quinn, pp. 36, 720).]

[1809] 27 SEPTEMBER. David Poe, Jr., plays Alonzo in Pizarro.

[The critic of the Ramblers’ Magazine adversely reviewed David Poe’s performance: “By the sudden indisposition of Mr. Robertson, the entertainments announced for the evening (Pizarro and Princess and no Princess) necessarily gave place to the preceding. Mr. Poe was Mr. R’s substitute in Alonzo; and a more wretched Alonzo have we never witnessed. This man was never destined for the high walks of the drama; — a footman is the extent of what he ought to attempt: and if by accident like that of this evening he is compelled to walk without his sphere, it would bespeak more of sense in him to read the part than attempt to act it; — his person, voice, and non-expression of countenance, all combine to stamp him — poh! et praeterea nihil.” In a footnote to this criticism, the magazine’s editor offered a few words of mitigation: “Here, as well as in some other passages of the Theatrical Register, our correspondent is too acrimonious; and I must take the liberty to differ from him, in some measure, respecting Mr. Poe’s talents, who, if he would take pains, is by no means contemptible” (Quinn, pp. 36, 720). Here and elsewhere most misprints in quoted printed matter have been silently corrected to avoid the frequent use of sic.]

[1809] 6 OCTOBER. David Poe, Jr., plays Amos, a black servant, in To Marry or Not to Marry.

[The critic of the Ramblers’ Magazine commented: “Dan Dilly played Amos, and in spite of the coat of lampblack that covered his muffin face, there was no difficulty in penetrating the veil and discovering the worthy descendant of the illustrious Daniel. By the by, it has been said, that this gentleman has taken some of our former remarks very much in dudgeon; but whether this be true or not, we entertain very great doubts, for [page 8:] certainly we have said nothing but the truth, and that should give no man offence. If it is the case, however, we are sincerely sorry for it; for from his amiable private character, and high professional standing, he is among the last men we would justly offend. We owe this to our friend Dan from having heard much of his spirit; for, for men of high spirit, we have a high respect, though no fear. This we beg to be explicitly understood; for as there are men who will sometimes mistake motives, it may happen that this conciliatory conduct on our part be imputed to causes foreign from the truth” (Quinn, pp. 37, 720).]

[1809] 18 OCTOBER. David Poe, Jr., makes his last known stage appearance as Captain Cypress in Richard Leigh’s Grieving’s a Folly.

[1809] 20 OCTOBER. The Ramblers’ Magazine reports: “It was not until the curtain was ready to rise that the audience was informed that, owing to the sudden indisposition of Mr. Robertson and Mr. Poe, the Castle Spectre was necessarily substituted for Grieving’s a Folly” (Quinn, p. 37).

[The term “indisposition” was frequently used in theatrical notices of that day to cover intoxication.]

[1809] 1 NOVEMBER. Elizabeth Poe plays Jessica in The Merchant of Venice. Mr. Bridges, an Englishman, records in his diary: “I saw Mrs. Poe and heard her sing two or three songs” (Phillips, 1:74-75).

[1809] 16 DECEMBER. BOSTON. “Nemo Nobody, Esq.” (James Fennell?), the editor of the Boston theatrical weekly Something, addresses the New York press: “We strongly and feelingly recommend to your encouragement and protection, the talents of Mr. Poe. — He has talents, and they may be improved or ruined by your just or incautious observations” (Quinn, p. 38).

[Buckingham (1:57) later observed that “Both he [David Poe, Jr.] and his wife were performers of considerable merit, but somewhat vain of their personal accomplishments.”]


~~ 1810 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 8, continued:]

[1810] 4 JULY. NEW YORK. Elizabeth Poe makes her last New York stage appearance, as Ulrica in Frederick Reynolds’ The Free Knights; or, The Edict of Charlemagne and as Rosa in Reynolds’ The Caravan; or, The Driver and his Dog (New York Evening Post and New York Commercial Advertiser, 3 July 1810; Quinn, p. 39). [page 9:]

[1810] 10 JULY? David Poe, Jr., is reported in New York City (unidentified letter cited in Phillips, 1:77, 219-20).

[1810] 18 AUGUST. RICHMOND. The Placide and Green Company opens in Richmond, Virginia, with Elizabeth Poe as Angela in M. G. Lewis’ The Castle Spectre and as Maria in T. J. Dibdin’s Of Age Tomorrow (Shockley, pp. 307-08).

[1810] 21 SEPTEMBER. Elizabeth Poe appears as Letitia Hardy in The Belle’s Stratagem. A correspondent of the Richmond Enquirer applauds her:

But the object of these remarks, Mr. Editor, is yet behind the curtain. It is true, a man who has ever been accustomed to esteem modesty and woman synonymous terms, and who has always been more ready to kneel at the shrine of beauty than before the image of a saint, feels some diffidence in introducing a lady in the columns of a newspaper. Yet he gathers strength from the resolution, that no observation of his shall tinge the cheek of modesty with a blush nor cast one stain on the vestal robe of virtue. Thus self justified, he enters on the task, confidently believing that the public will be prepared to welcome with the same approbation which marks her entrance on the stage, the introduction of Mrs. Poe. From an actress who possesses so eminently the faculty of pleasing, whose powers are so general and whose exertions are so ready, it would be unjust to withhold the tribute of applause. Were I to say simply that she is a valuable acquisition to the Theatre, I should dishonor her merit and do injustice to the feelings of the public. It is true she has never yet been called to the higher characters in tragedy, and it is proper that she never should be for she who is so well calculated to fill the heart with pleasure, should never be required to shroud it in gloom. On the first moment of her entrance on the Richmond boards, she was saluted with the plaudits of admiration, and at no one moment since has her reputation sunk. Her “exits and her entrances,” equally operate their electric effects, for if we expect to be pleased when Mrs. Poe appears, when her part is ended, our admiration ever proclaims that our anticipations have been more than realized. It is needless to review the various characters in which her excellence has been displayed. I think I may be pardoned for asserting, that taking her performances from the commencement to the end, no one has acquitted himself with more distinguished honor. If it be excellent to satisfy the judgment and delight the heart, then Mrs. Poe is excellent. If it be the perfection of acting to conceal the actor, Mrs. Poe’s name is a brilliant gem in the Theatrick crown. In a word, as no one has received more than she of the public applause, no one is better entitled to the public liberality.

Were I to say more, Mr. Editor, perhaps I should forget the character I have assumed. In regard to Mrs. Poe, for a reason which the glass will tell her, it is a difficult thing to separate the actress from the woman; no wonder then, if it should be also difficult to separate the critic from the man. Even were Aristarchus himself to rise from the dead to sit in judgment on her acting, he would find it necessary to put a strong curb upon his feelings. For if he did not, instead of criticising the player, he might find himself perhaps, in the situation of Shakspeare’s Slender, dolefully heaving the lover’s sigh and pathetically exclaiming, “Oh! Sweet Anna Page.” [page 10:]

And now after thanking you for your complaisance, I will bid you good night — first however, assuring you that this is no benefit puff for the writer is a stranger to both Richmond and Mrs. Poe. Yet he sincerely hopes that on this night, the full horn of plenty may be emptied into her lap, and that she may moreover, reap in its fullest extent, the still richer reward of merited approbation (Shockley, pp. 318-19).

[1810] 1 DECEMBER. BALTIMORE. Georgiana Maria Clemm is born to Harriet and William Clemm, Jr. (St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church record; Quinn, p. 726).

[1810] 20 DECEMBER? NORFOLK, VIRGINIA. Rosalie, Poe’s sister, is born at the old Forrest home, 16 Brewer Street, a boardinghouse run by Andrew Martin (Amelia F. Poe to John H. Ingram, 28 December 1908, ViU-I; “Rosalie Mackenzie Poe . . . . (is said) was born 20 Decr. 1810” [Mackenzie Family Bible, ViHi]; Quinn, p. 40).

[1810] AFTER 20 DECEMBER? Elizabeth Poe writes a thank-you note to Mrs. Littleton Waller Tazewell, wife of the Governor of Virginia: “Mrs. Poe’s respectfull [sic] compliments to Mrs. Taswell [sic] returns Mrs. Liverne thanks for her great kindness — Mrs. P — being to sail this Eve Mrs. T will excuse the haste with which this is written / Tuesday Eve” (Quinn, p. 42).



~~ 1811 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 10, continued:]

[1811] 23 JANUARY. CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA. Elizabeth Poe performs with the Placide and Green Company at the Charleston Theatre (Quinn, pp. 40-41, 723-24).

[1811] 26 FEBRUARY. RICHMOND. John Allan, a merchant of Richmond, Virginia, writes Margaret Nimmo, his wife’s cousin, in Norfolk, Virginia: “Poor Frances has really been quite ill, and though by no means well now, yet she has much recovered. Nancy [Ann Moore Valentine, Frances’ sister] sticks to the old thing. . . . So that we consider ourselves nearly fit for a frolic. . . . Write Fanny and tell her all the news of Norfolk” (ViRVal-THE).

[1811] 28 APRIL. LISBON, PORTUGAL. On a business trip John Allan writes his partner Charles Ellis, in Richmond: “My mind is not sufficiently composed to tell you all I have seen. The truth is I have a journal in which I shall insert all my remarks” (DLC-EA). [page 11:]

[1811] 11 JUNE. NORFOLK, VIRGINIA. The Placide and Green Company begins a theatrical season in Norfolk (Phillips, 1:80).

[1811] BEFORE 26 JULY. David Poe, Jr., deserts his wife and children (implied by “Floretta” to the Norfolk Herald, 26 July, and Samuel Mordecai to his sister Rachel, 2 November).

[1811] 26 JULY. Elizabeth Poe is cast as Donna Violante in Susannah Centlivre’s The Wonder; or, A Woman Keeps a Secret. “Floretta” writes a letter to the Norfolk Herald:

And now, Sir, permit me to call the attention of the public to the Benefit of Mrs. Poe and Miss Thomas for this Evening, and their claims on the liberality of the Norfolk audience are not small. The former of those ladies, I remember, (just as I was going in my teens) on her first appearance here, met with the most unbounded applause — She was said to be one of the handsomest women in America; she was certainly the handsomest I had ever seen. She never came on Stage, but a general murmur ran through the house, “What an enchanting Creature! Heavens, what a form! — What an animated and expressive countenance! — and how well she performs! Her voice too! sure never anything was half so sweet!” Year after year did she continue to extort these involuntary bursts of rapture from the Norfolk audience, and to deserve them too; for never did one of her profession, take more pains to please than she. But now “The scene is changed,” — Misfortunes have pressed heavy on her. Left alone, the only support of herself and several small children — Friendless and unprotected, she no longer commands that admiration and attention she formerly did, — Shame on the world that can turn its back on the same person in distress, that it was wont to cherish in prosperity. And yet she is as assiduous to please as ever, and tho’ grief may have stolen the roses from her cheeks, she still retains the same sweetness of expression, and symmetry of form and feature. She this evening hazards a Benefit, in the pleasing hope that the inhabitants of Norfolk will remember past services, And can they remember and not requite them generously? — Heaven forbid they should not (Quinn, pp. 41-42).

[1811] EARLY AUGUST. The Placide and Green Company departs from Norfolk for Richmond, leaving Elizabeth Poe and her two children behind (Phillips, 1:82; Shockley, p. 329).

[1811] 12 AUGUST. RICHMOND. The Ellis & Allan firm writes William Holder (a customer?), in Bristol, England: “Mr. [John] Allan has returned from Lisbon in good health without visiting England” (DLC-EA).

[1811] 14 AUGUST. The Richmond Theatre on Broad Street opens the twenty-ninth season with Susannah Centlivre’s The Wonder; or, A Woman Keeps a Secret and John C. Cross’s musical farce The Purse or The Benevolent Tar (Richmond Enquirer, 13 August; Shockley, p. 329). [page 12:]

[1811] LATE AUGUST OR EARLY SEPTEMBER. Manager Alexander Placide sends for Elizabeth Poe and her two children and finds them accommodations in or near the Washington Tavern, at the northwest corner of Ninth and Grace Streets (Phillips, 1:82; see also Quinn, pp. 45-46, 732-41).

[1811] 9 SEPTEMBER. LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA. William Galt, a prosperous Richmond merchant, writes his nephew John Allan on the day before his thirty-second birthday and instructs him about certain business transactions (DLC-EA).

[1811] 19 SEPTEMBER. BALTIMORE. Georgianna Maria Clemm, daughter of Harriet and William Clemm, Jr., is baptized (St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church record; Quinn, p. 726).

[1811] 20 SEPTEMBER. RICHMOND. Elizabeth Poe performs as one of three Graces in Byrne’s Cinderella; or The Little Glass Slipper (Virginia Patriot; Shockley, pp. 331-32, 340).

[Shockley speculated that Edgar Poe may have played the part of one of the Cupids.]

[1811] 25 SEPTEMBER. Elizabeth Poe is cast as Bridget in a farce A Budget of Blunders (Virginia Patriot, 24 September; Shockley, pp. 333-34).

[1811] 27 SEPTEMBER. Elizabeth Poe is Emily Bloomfield in William Ioor’s The Battle of Eutaw Springs, and Evacuation of Charleston (Virginia Patriot; Shockley, pp. 334-35).

[1811] 7 OCTOBER. Elizabeth Poe’s benefit on 9 October is advertised in the Virginia Argus (Shockley, p. 419 n. 52).

[1811] 8 OCTOBER. Elizabeth Poe’s benefit on 9 October is advertised in the Richmond Enquirer and the Virginia Patriot (Shockley, p. 419 n. 52).

[1811] 9 OCTOBER. Elizabeth Poe has a benefit. The plays, with no casts listed, are Nathaniel Lee’s Alexander the Great and George Colman the younger’s Love Laughs at Locksmiths with a comic song by Mr. West, and the children’s ballet The Hunters and the Milkmaid (Shockley, pp. 338 and 419 n. 52).

[1811] 11 OCTOBER. Elizabeth Poe makes her last stage appearance, playing the part of the Countess Wintersen in August F. F. von Kotzebue’s The Stranger (Quinn, p. 724). [page 13:]

[1811] 22 OCTOBER. The Placide and Green Company returns from Fredericksburg and Petersburg, Virginia, to open the thirtieth season at the Richmond Theatre (Shockley, p. 342).

[1811] OCTOBER? Alexander Placide writes the Poe family in Baltimore.

[“Mr. Placide wrote to her husband’s [David Poe’s] relatives in Baltimore in behalf of herself [Elizabeth Poe] and children, but received no satisfactory answer” (Weiss [1907], p. 5).]

[1811] 2 NOVEMBER. Samuel Mordecai, a Richmond merchant and historian, residing on the west side of Thirteenth Street between Cary and Main Streets, writes his sister Rachel, in Warrenton, North Carolina:

A singular fashion prevails here this season — it is — charity — Mrs. Poe, who you know is a very handsome woman, happens to be very sick, and (having quarreled and parted with her husband) is destitute. The most fashionable place of resort, now is — her chamber — and the skill of cooks and nurses is exerted to procure her delicacies — Several other sick persons also receive a portion of these fashionable visits and delicacies — It is a very laudable fashion and I wish it may last long — I visited the Theatre last night for the first time — The Lady of the Lake was announced in a pompous bill — with new Scenery and decorations — and as three horses were to constitute a part of the dramatis personae the house was filled to overflowing (NcD-M).

[1811] 29 NOVEMBER. The Richmond Enquirer prints an appeal:


On this night, Mrs. Poe, lingering on the bed of disease and surrounded by her children, asks your assistance; and asks it perhaps for the last time. — The generosity of a Richmond Audience can need no other appeal.

For particulars, see the Bills of the day.

[1811] 29 NOVEMBER. The Virginia Patriot advertises Shakespeare’s Henry IV and the afterpiece George Graham’s Telemachus in the Island of Calypso with this announcement:


In consequence of the serious and long continued indisposition of Mrs. Poe, and in compliance with the advice and solicitation of many of the most respectable families, the managers have been induced to appropriate another night for her benefit — Taking into consideration the state of her health, and the probability of this being the last time she will ever receive the patronage of the public, the appropriation of another night for her assistance, will certainly be grateful to their [page 14:] feelings, as it will give them an opportunity to display their benevolent remembrance (Shockley, pp. 348-49).

[1811] NOVEMBER? Mr. and Mrs. Luke Noble Usher, actor friends of Elizabeth Poe, take care of her children (Mabbott [1969], 1:532).

Frances Allan, Jane Scott Mackenzie, and Mary Dixon Richard visit Elizabeth Poe.

On occasion of her [Jane Scott Mackenzie’s] first visit to the Poes, she had observed that the children were thin and pale and very fretful. To quiet them, their old nurse — whom Mrs. Poe in her last days addressed as “Mother;” while she called Mrs. Poe “Betty” — took them upon her lap and fed them liberally with bread soaked in gin, when they soon fell asleep. Subsequently, after the death of the parents, the old woman (who remained in Richmond until her death, not long after, devoting herself to the children) acknowledged to Mrs. Mackenzie that she had, from the very birth of the girl [Rosalie], freely administered to them gin and other spirituous liquors, with sometimes laudanum, “to make them strong and healthy;” or to put them to sleep when restless. Mrs. Mackenzie was convinced that this woman, who was a simple, honest creature, was, in reality, the maternal grandmother of the children, and conscientiously acted for their good (Weiss [1883], p. 817).

[In his introductory note to “The Fall of the House of Usher,” in which he commented on its theme and autobiographical elements, Mabbott (1978, 2:393) identified Luke Noble Usher and Harriet Ann L’Estrange Snowden Usher as the parents of James Campbell Usher and Agnes Pye Usher, who, orphaned in 1814, became neurotics. Phillips (1:53) reported that Harriet Usher died in 1832 at Lexington, Kentucky, during a cholera epidemic. See 27 OCTOBER 1827.]

[1811] 8 DECEMBER. Elizabeth Poe dies (Richmond Enquirer, 10 December).

[1811] 8 DECEMBER OR LATER. John and Frances Allan, living over a store on the northeast corner of Main and Thirteenth Streets, provide for Edgar Poe (Quinn, p. 53).

William and Jane Scott Mackenzie, friends of the Allans, take Rosalie into their home (Miller [1977], p. 58. “Rosalie Mackenzie Poe was delivered to the care of Wm & Jane Mackenzie 9 Decr 1811” [Mackenzie Family Bible, ViHi]).

“William [Poe], the eldest, was cared for by his father’s friends at Baltimore” (Woodberry, 1:16-17).

Elizabeth Poe leaves her children two sketches and a bundle of letters. Edgar receives a small watercolor portrait of his mother, Rosalie a jewel case. John Allan acts as custodian of the few family trinkets, including [page 15:] some letters (Shew to Ingram, 3 April 1875, Miller [1977], p. 121; Ingram, p. 7; Weiss [1907], pp. 6-7).

[1811] 10 DECEMBER. The Richmond Enquirer prints a notice: “Died on last Sunday morning [8 December], Mrs. Poe, one of the Actresses of the Company playing on the Richmond Boards. — By the death of this Lady the Stage has been deprived of one of its chief ornaments — And, to say the least of her, she was an interesting Actress; and never failed to catch the applause and command the admiration of the beholder.”

The Virginia Patriot reports: “Mrs. Poe, of the Richmond Theatre. Her friends are requested to attend her funeral to day at ten o’clock.”

Elizabeth Poe is buried in St. John’s Church burial ground (Allen, p. 20).

[1811] 11 DECEMBER OR LATER. The Reverend John Buchanan, D.D., baptizes Poe at the residence of John and Mary Dixon Richard.

[Campbell (1917), pp. 223-24, recorded: “There is a tradition that he was baptized soon after being adopted by the Allans at the home of a neighbor of the Allans, a Mr. John Richard (Richmond Standard, May 7, 1881), and it is said that he was confirmed at sometime in youth as a member of the Episcopal Church (Mrs. Weiss, [[1907]] p. 31).” T. H. Ellis stated that “the names of Edgar Allan and Rose Mackenzie were given in baptism by the Rev. John Buchanan, D.D., at the residence of Mr. John Richard, who was a friend of all the parties concerned” (W, 1:23). Whitty (pp. xxii-xxiii) reported: “It is said that Edgar was baptized December 11, 1811, but I am unable to find the church record.”]

[1811] 11 DECEMBER? NORFOLK, VIRGINIA? David Poe, Jr., dies.

[Phillips (1:77) gave the time and place as 19 October 1810 in Norfolk, Ingram (p. 6) early in 1811 in Richmond, Weiss ([1907], p. 4) 5 August 1811, and Amelia Poe (ViU-I) “A short time before his wife’s death.” Ellis (quoted by Harrison [1900], p. 2159) stated: “On the 8th of December, 1811, Mrs. Poe . . . . died in Richmond, leaving three children. Her husband had died not long before, in Norfolk.” John P. Poe (Mabbott [1969], 1:532) reported David a widower only two days. Gill (p. 20) recorded that three days after his wife’s death David died as a consumptive or a victim of the Richmond Theatre fire! Poe himself wrote: “Our mother died a few weeks before him [my father]” (L, 1:68) and “Both died (as you [Nathaniel Beverley Tucker] may remember) within a few weeks of each other” (L, 1:78-79). “He [David Poe] was probably buried by the city [of Norfolk) in one of the obscure suburban cemeteries” (Weiss [1907], p. 4). See BEFORE 26 JULY 1811. [page 16:]

Burning of the Richmond Theatre [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 16, bottom]
The Burning of the Richmond Theatre

[1811] 18 DECEMBER. BOSTON. The Boston Patriot prints a notice of Elizabeth Poe’s death:


. . . In Richmond, on also 9th inst. Mrs. Poe, formerly of the Boston Theatre — She delighted a Boston audience but for one season — perhaps this was more owing to the eccentricity of her husband, than to her own volatility. Her remains were bedewed by the tears of strangers only. How transitory are the scenes of life!. . . .

[1811] CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS. TURKEY ISLAND, VIRGINIA. John and Frances Allan and Poe spend the holidays at the Bowler Cocke plantation, on the James River, in Henrico County, southeast of Richmond (T. H. Ellis, Richmond Standard, 7 May 1881; ViRVal-THE).

[1811] 26 DECEMBER. RICHMOND. Fire destroys the Richmond Theatre with a loss of seventy-two lives.

[1811] 31 DECEMBER. Members of the Placide and Green Company express their sympathy through a letter in the Richmond Enquirer, and lament: “Never again shall we behold that feminine humanity which so eagerly displayed itself to soothe the victim of disease, nor view with exultation the benevolent who fostered the fatherless, and shed a ray of comfort on the departed soul of a dying mother” (Shockley, pp. 375-78). [page 17:]



~~ 1812 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 17, continued:]

[1812] 3 JANUARY BALTIMORE. James Mosher Poe, Poe’s cousin, is born to Jacob and Bridget Poe (First Presbyterian Church record; Quinn, p. 725).

[A small typewritten book of memorabilia, entitled “The Family of George Poe, Oldest Son of Jacob Poe” (possessed by Mrs. J. Elliott Irvine, Durham, N. C., p. 11), has ‘James Mosher, born in Baltimore, January 3, 1812, died in South Carolina, October 1885.”]

[1812] 7 JANUARY RICHMOND. John Allan pays the chairmakers John Hobday and William Seaton $8 for building a crib (DLC-EA).

[1812] 8 JANUARY NEW YORK. In a business letter W. Matlocke, Jr., writes John Allan: “How fortunate that yourself & family were out of town [the 26 December 1811]” (DLC-EA).

[1812] 11 JANUARY KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND. Allan Fowlds writes his brother-in-law John Allan: “I had a letter from your Uncle William Galt and I cannot help thinking that he is one of the best hearted men. . . . and now my Dear Brother we are fully Expecting to see you and Mrs. Allan this summer. . . . Mrs. F. is keeping for you some fine Nappy Ale. I hope therefore you will not disappoint her for Mr. Ellis told her it was a favourite drink of yours” (DLC-EA).

[1812] 10 APRIL. GREEN SPRING, VIRGINIA. Margaret Nimmo writes her brother James that plans for establishing a branch of the firm of Ellis & Allan in London, England, have been laid aside because of the Embargo (ViRVal-THE).

[1812] 21-23 MAY RICHMOND. Dr. Philip Thornton treats Poe for croup and bills John Allan $4 for three visits, “medicine,” and “vial pectoral mint” (DLC-EA).

[Poe named a character Thornton in “The Journal of Julius Rodman.”]

[1812] 27 MAY. John Allan writes Charles Ellis: “Edgar has got quite well” (Phillips, 1:112).

[1812] 18 JUNE. WASHINGTON. The United States Congress declares war on Great Britain.

[John Allan offered his services to his friend and customer General John [page 18:] Hartwell Cocke (see 10 AUGUST 1815). Charles Ellis volunteered as a private in Richmond’s Nineteenth Regiment (Quinn, p. 63).]

[1812] JULY? BALTIMORE. A letter from Poe’s Aunt Elizabeth to Frances Allan goes astray (Elizabeth Poe to Frances Allan, 8 February 1813).

[1812] SUMMER. WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, VIRGINIA. Poe accompanies Frances and John Allan to the springs (Elizabeth Poe to Frances Allan, 8 February 1813, and John Allan to Poe, 18 May 1829).

[“Edgar accompanied Mr. and Mrs. Allan to the White Sulphur in the summers of 1812, ‘13, ‘14, and ‘15. There are several persons now living in Richmond, who remember seeing him there in those years. They describe him as a lovely little fellow, with dark curls and brilliant eyes, dressed like a young prince, and charming every one by his childish grace, vivacity, and cleverness. His disposition was frank, affectionate, and generous, and he was very popular with his young companions” (Didier [1877], p. 28).]

[1812] AUGUST? STAUNTON, VIRGINIA. Poe accompanies the Allans to Staunton (Rosanna Dixon to John Allan, 6 September 1812).

[1812] 3 SEPTEMBER. RICHMOND. Poe’s sister Rosalie is christened Rosalie Mackenzie Poe (Rosanna Dixon to John Allan, 6 September 1812).

[1812] 6 SEPTEMBER. Rosanna Dixon, Frances Allan’s niece, writes distressing news to John Allan, in Staunton, Virginia: “ I am very sorry to inform you that poor little Rosalie is not expected to live, altho’ she is much better now than she has been for two weeks past; she was c[h]ristened on Thursday last and had Mackenzie added to her name. . . . Tell Edgar, Tib [a cat] is very well, also the Bird and Dog. . . . . Kiss Edgar for me” (ViRVal-THE).

[1812] 5 OCTOBER. John Allan pays William Richardson, a Richmond schoolmaster, $5 for tutoring his illegitimate son Edwin Collier for three months (DLC-EA; Allen, p. 36).

[The Richmond Compiler, 30 April 1822, reported the death of a Mrs. Eliza Richardson, “tutoress;” perhaps the wife of William Richardson, on 26 April 1822.]



~~ 1813 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 19:]

[1813] 8 FEBRUARY BALTIMORE. Elizabeth Poe writes Frances Allan a second letter, her first letter having gone astray:

’Tis the Aunt of Edgar that addresses Mrs. Allan for the second time, impressed with the idea that A letter if received could not remain unacknowledged so long as from the month of July; she is induced to write again in order to inquire in her family’s as well as in her own name after the health of the Child of her Brother, as well as that of his adopted Parents. I cannot suppose my dear Mrs. Allan that A heart possessed of such original humanity as your’s must without doubt be, could so long keep in suspence, the anxious inquiries made through the medium of my letter by the Grand Parents of the Orphan of an unfortunate son, surely e’re this allowing that you did not wish to commence A correspondence with one who is utterly unknown to you had you received it. Mr. Allan would have written to my Father or Brother if it had been only to let them know how he was, but I am confident you never received it, for two reasons, the first is that not having the pleasure of knowing your christian name I merely addressed it to Mrs. Allan of Richmond, the second is as near as I can recollect you were about the time I wrote to you at the springs where Mr. Douglas saw you, permit me my dear madam to thank you for your kindness to the little Edgar — he is truly the Child of fortune to be placed under the fostering care of the amiable Mr. and Mrs. Allan, Oh how few meet with such A lot — the Almighty Father of the Universe grant that he may never abuse the kindness he has received and that from those who were not bound by any ties except those that the feeling and humane heart dictates — I fear that I have too long intruded on your patience, will you if so have the goodness to forgive me — and dare I venture to flatter myself with the hope that this will be received with any degree of pleasure or that you will gratify me so much as to answer it — give my love to the dear little Edgar and tell him tis his Aunt Eliza who writes this to you. my mother and family desire to be affectionately remembered to Mr. Allan and yourself — Henry frequently speaks of his little Brother and expresses A great desire to see him, tell him he sends his very best love to him and is greatly pleased to hear that he is so good as also so pretty A Boy as Mr. Douglas represented him to be — I feel as if I were wrighting to A sister and can scarcely even at the risk of your displeasure prevail on myself to lay aside my pen — with the hope of your indulgence in pardoning my temerity I remain my Dear Mrs. Allan yours with the greatest respect

Eliza Poe

Mrs. Allan the kind Benefactress
of the infant Orphan Edgar, Allan, Poe (DLC-EA).

[Here and elsewhere the name of John Allan and his family has been corrected to read with an “a.”] [page 20:]

[1813] 20 FEBRUARY. RICHMOND. Margaret Nimmo writes her brother James, in Norfolk: “Kiss my dear little [nephew] Mucius for me, and tell him that little Edgar Allan Poe sends his love to him” (ViRVal-THE).

[1813] 14 MAY. John Allan writes his business partner Charles Ellis: “Edgar has caught the whooping cough. Frances has a swelled face” (DLC-EA).

[1813] 17 MAY. John Allan reports that “poor Frances has not recovered. All the rest with the exception of Edgar & Hooping cough are well” (DLC-EA).

[1813] 18 MAY. John Allan reports that Poe and Frances Allan “are getting better” (DLC-EA).

[1813] 20 MAY. ELIZABETH, NEW JERSEY. Charles Ellis writes John Allan: “I am proud to know that Edgar has got the hooping cough. This may appear strange — but it wishes him well” (DLC-EA).

[1813] 22 MAY. NEW YORK. Charles Ellis writes John Allan: “Sorry to hear of Mrs. Allan’s illness. Tell her to keep up her spirits, its better than all the doctors in town” (DLC-EA).

[1813] 22 MAY. RICHMOND. John Allan writes Charles Ellis that “all are well” (DLC-EA).

[1813] 26 JULY. NORFOLK, VIRGINIA? Edward Valentine, Jr., writes his brother-in-law John Allan: “ I am happy to hear that Edgar has recovered from an attack of the meazels” (DLC-EA).

[1813] 10 AUGUST. RICHMOND? Charles Ellis writes John Allan that he is engaged to Margaret Nimmo (Quinn, p. 59).

[1813] SEPTEMBER. NORFOLK, VIRGINIA. Margaret Nimmo writes John Allan: “Remember me to the two Nancys, little Edgar and all inquiring friends” (DLC-EA).

[The “two Nancys” were Frances Allan and her sister Ann Moore Valentine.]

[1813] 12 OCTOBER. RICHMOND. John Allan pays a bill of 75 cents for cutting “a suit for Edgar” (DLC-EA).

[1813] 13 NOVEMBER. NORFOLK COUNTY, VIRGINIA. Margaret Nimmo marries Charles Ellis, John Allan’s business partner. [page 21:]

[1813] 2 DECEMBER. RICHMOND. Margaret Ellis writes her brother James Nimmo: “Mr. Allan has sprained his knee, and has been unable for several days to leave the house” (ViRVal-THE).



~~ 1814 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 21, continued:]

[1814] 20 JANUARY. RICHMOND. Mrs. Clotilda Fisher, a teacher, gives John Allan a receipt:

Mr. John Allan

To Clotilda Fisher, Dr.

1814. Janry the 20th To 1 quarters Tuition of

Edgar A. Poe $4.00

Received Payment

Clotilda Fisher (DLC-EA).

[Listed in the Richmond City Directory of 1819, p. 47, is an Elizabeth Fisher “teacher, ss of E [Main] bt 9 and 10th sts. first from 9th st,” who may have been Clotilda’s sister. See Mabbott (1969), 1:533. More recently Denise Bethel discovered (in Rudd) a Mrs. Clotilda Fisher, at age 74, interred 14 January 1849 in Shockoe Hill Cemetery, Richmond.]

[1814] 2 FEBRUARY. Daniel Ford sends John Allan a bill for Edwin Collier’s education for one term, $5 (DLC-EA).

[1814] 28 MARCH. John Allan receives a tailor’s bill of 75 cents for cutting a new suit for Poe (DLC-EA).

[1814] 13 APRIL. The Monumental Episcopal Church, built on the site of the Richmond Theatre, issues a notice: “The sale of the pews . . . will take place on this day, at 12 o’clock. / Wednesday, April 13, 1814.” John Allan purchases Pew No. 80 for $340 (G. D. Fisher, pp. 29, 37).

[The church, a memorial to the victims of the Richmond Theatre fire, was at first nondenominational.]

[1814] 7 MAY. FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA. Robert Craig Stanard is born to Robert and Jane Stith Craig Stanard (see 1 APRIL 1823 and 28 APRIL 1824). [page 22:]

[1814] SUMMER. BUFFALO CREEK, VIRGINIA. Poe accompanies John and Frances Allan to their estate “The Grove” at Buffalo Creek (Phillips, 1:119).

[1814] 24 AUGUST. WASHINGTON. British forces capture Washington and burn the Capitol and other buildings.

[1814] 1 SEPTEMBER. CAMPBELL COUNTY, VIRGINIA. Margaret Ellis writes her brother James Nimmo: “Mr. Allan and Cousin started for Staunton the day that we left Richmond” (ViRVal-THE).

[1814] 6 SEPTEMBER. RICHMOND. John Allan writes Frances Allan, reassuring her that their friends are well and that Richmond is safe from the British (Frances Allan to John Allan, 11 September 1814).

[1814] 11 SEPTEMBER. STAUNTON, VIRGINIA. Frances Allan writes John Allan, expressing her fears at the British landings (DLC-EA).

[1814] 12-13 SEPTEMBER. BALTIMORE. British forces threaten Baltimore, but the Maryland Militia defeats them in the Battle of North Point. David Poe, Sr., Poe’s grandfather, takes an active part in the city’s defense (Phillips, 1:29).

[1814] 14 OCTOBER. RICHMOND. John Allan writes James Nimmo:

I have great pleasure in informing you of the return of my family to our own fireside, after a pleasant trip to the mountains, not, as you well know, from choice, but compulsion. Frances has caught a bad cold, but is not confined by it. Nancy has seen one of the wonders of the world — the Blue Ridge Mountains . . . . Margaret and your grandson are hearty; she is beginning to recover her flesh. Thomas H. Ellis is a wonderful fellow; I can’t distinctly comprehend him yet, but in a short time I have no doubt he will be an equal match for little Margaret . . . Now, my dear Sir, these things called privations — starvations — taxations — lastly, vexations, show the very age and figure of the times — their form and pressure, as Shakespeare says, — and he was a tolerable judge. God! what would I not give, if I had his talent for writing! and what use would I not make of the raw material at my command! (ViRVal-THE).

[1814] 17 NOVEMBER. BALTIMORE. Elizabeth Poe, Edgar’s aunt, marries Henry Herring, a lumber dealer (Quinn, p. 17).

[1814] 1814. RICHMOND. The Ellis & Allan firm records assets of $223, 133 and liabilities of $182,494.20 (DLC-EA).



~~ 1815 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 23:]

[1815] 8 JANUARY. BALTIMORE. William Clemm’s first wife Harriet is buried (St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church record; Quinn, p. 725).

[1815] 15 JANUARY. RICHMOND. Hetherton, a tailor, charges John Allan $5 for “making a suit of Cloaths for son” (DLC-EA).

[1815] 27 JANUARY. John Allan pays “duty” on a “4 wheeled carriage — a coacher” (DLC-EA).

[1815] CA. 1 FEBRUARY. Frances Allan has an accident (Mary Allan to John Allan, 24 March 1815).

[1815] EARLY MARCH. Poe attends the school of William Ewing (William Ewing to John Allan, 27 November 1817, and Allan to Ewing, 21 March 1818).

[The following year William Ewing removed “his school from Mr. M’Kechnies’ to a brick tenement at the intersection of H [Broad] and Eighth streets near Mr. [William] Wirt’s residence on Shockoe Hill;’ where he could “board three or four young men” (Meagher, pp. 55-56). He advertised his school in the Richmond Compiler for 17 January 1820:


THE friends of the subscriber in Richmond and Manchester and the public in general, are respectfully informed that on Monday the 17th inst. he will open SCHOOL at Summer Hill, on the plantation of the late John Lesslie, dec. about three miles distant from Manchester.

The Greek, Latin, French and English languages together with Writing, Arithmetic, and Mathematics, will be taught on the most approved principles. The tuition fees, which in all cases will be required in advance, are, viz:

For all or either of the above branches, per quarter


For board, washing and tuition do.


In summer or fall, there will be 1 month’s vacation; but to those who reside with the subscriber, throughout the year, it will be optional to continue during the vacation, for which no extra charge will be required. . . .


In the Compiler for 10 January 1821 Ewing announced that he would continue to conduct his school at Summer Hill, near Manchester, across the James River from Richmond. At the sale of the late John Lesslie’s estate William Galt bought land and a tenement house in Richmond, which he bequeathed to Elizabeth Galt. See Allen, p. 689.] [page 24:]

[1815] 15 MARCH 1815-14 MARCH 1818. William Ewing charges John Allan tuition fees for Edwin Collier: “$42. per annum” (William Ewing to John Allan, 27 November 1817).

[1815] 24 MARCH. KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND. Mary Allan writes her brother John that “by your letter to Mrs. Fowlds I am sorry to read that Mrs. Allan had been so indisposed. I hope by this time she is quite well and that her face will not be injured by the fracture” (Allen, p. 683).

[1815] 3 MAY. RICHMOND. John Allan has “a suit of cloeths [made for] Edgar $2.00” (DLC-EA).

[1815] 1 JUNE. B. J. Macmurdo, a church treasurer, receives from John Allan $27.20, “being one half of an assessment of 16% on Pew, No. 80 in the Monumental Church” (Bondurant, p. 134).

[1815] 15 JUNE. John Allan and his family plan to leave “in a day or two” for Norfolk, Virginia, where they will board the Lothair, bound for Liverpool, under Captain Stone “to sail next week” (DLC-EA; Phillips, 1:121).

[1815] BEFORE 22 JUNE. John Allan disposes of household furniture and personal effects through Moncure, Robinson & Pleasants, auctioneers at the corner of Cary and Thirteenth Streets, and draws from the firm of Ellis & Allan £335.10.6 (Allen, p. 54).

Jane and Michael Poitiaux, parents of Mary I. Dixon (nee Poitiaux) and Catherine Elizabeth Poitiaux (Frances Allan’s godchild), give the Allans a farewell dinner. Poe shows great affection for Catherine (Phillips, 1:120).

[1815] 22 JUNE. NORFOLK, VIRGINIA. John Allan writes Charles Ellis to sell Scipio, a slave, for $600 and to hire out others at $50 a year:

The Lothair & Steam Boat went off together today at 10 AM, the Boat moved off handsomely and with the tide, think she must have reached the Halfway House in an hour or a little better — to-morrow at 9 A. M will all go down to the Road to take our departure. I shall write by the Pilot Boat we have every thing comfortable. Frances & Nancey evince much fortitude; it has been a severe trial to them, their Spirit is good, Ned [Edgar] cared but little about it, poor fellow (DLC-EA; Quinn, p. 64).

[1815] 23 JUNE. John Allan adds two postscripts to his letter of 22 June to Charles Ellis:

1/2 P. 3 PM. Off the Horse Shoe. Inclosed you have $8.63 which to my Credit — we are trying to Beat out, I hope to succeed. Frances & Nancy rather qualmish Edgar and myself well. [page 25:]

5 PM. We are now abreast of the Light House & are off. F. and Nancy sick Ed and myself well (DLC-EA).

[1815] 23 JUNE-27 JULY ATLANTIC OCEAN. Captain Stone of the Lothair is penurious. John Allan sleeps on the floor of the ship and complains that his wife and sister-in-law are “denied the privileges of Fire to broil a slice of Bacon” (DLC-EA; Quinn, p. 65).

[1815] 28 JULY. LIVERPOOL. John and Frances Allan, Ann Valentine, and Poe disembark (Allan to Charles Ellis, 29 July 1815).

[1815] 29 JULY. John Allan writes Charles Ellis: “I am now on English ground after an absence of more than 20 years. After a passage of 34 days all well — Frances and Nancey verry sick but are now perfectly Hearty. Edgar was a little sick but soon recovered. Capt. good seaman but too close. . . . We got here yesterday at 5 PM. I took our abode at Mr. Lillymans Hotel today” (DLC-EA).

[1815] 6 AUGUST. John Allan writes R. E Gwathmey, an exporter, that he is still at Liverpool (DLC-EA; Quinn, p. 65).

[1815] 10 AUGUST. RICHMOND. John Hartwell Cocke writes John Allan: “I . . . . hope that you & Mrs. A. & your little adopted boy have happily arrived by this [time] at Liverpool — if not at London” (TxU-HRCL).

[1815] CA. 11 AUGUST. IRVINE, SCOTLAND. John and Frances Allan, Ann Valentine, and Poe visit John Allan’s sisters Mary Allan and Jane Johnston. Perhaps for a few days Poe attends the Old Grammar School. Here Poe probably sees archers shooting the popinjay on the cathedral. Poe’s playmates are James Anderson and a lad named Gregory (Chase, p. 303; Phillips, 1:125, 132, 136-42; Allen, p. 56; Quinn, pp. 65-66).

[Poe was to refer to the popinjay in “The Bargain Lost” and “Romance.” See 6 AUGUST 1817.]

[1815] BEFORE 22 AUGUST. KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND. For several days John Allan and his family visit his younger sister, Mrs. Allan Fowlds (nee Agnes Nancy Allan) on Nelson Street (DLC-EA; Quinn, pp. 65-66).

[1815] 25 AUGUST. RICHMOND. William Galt writes his nephew John Allan:

I hope the Health of Mrs. Allan is very much improved by your passage and she has got quite strong and hearty & that I shl. soon hear from you to that effect. I hope the other Branches of your family are well & in good health also. I expect [page 26:] Edgar was like Boys generally highly pleased with being at sea, and that it would add to his health very much. I hope Miss Nancey [Nancy] Valentine is in her usual good Health she was so Healthy there was but little room for improvement. I have miss’d you all very much hear [here] more than I thought I would have done — Since you left this nothing very particular has turn’d up to me nor unto your House of Ellis & Allan that I know of (TxU-HRCL).

[1815] 21 SEPTEMBER. GREENOCK, SCOTLAND. John Allan writes Charles Ellis:

I arrived here about a half an hour ago . . . finding some American Vessels on the eve of sailing I avail myself of the chance to write a few lines, though I cannot say much about our business. . . . I flatter myself from the small quantity [of tobacco?] in London & the Posture of affairs on the Continent that our sales will be profitable.

It would appear that France and the Allies have concluded a Treaty but it has not been promulgated — the Allies will hold the strong posts for a while until the refractory spirit of some of the old adherents of Bonaparte has subsided. . . . Frances says she would like the Land o cakes better if it was warmer and less rain, she bids me say she will write Margaret [Ellis] as soon as she is settled but at present she is so bewildered with wonders that she canna write. Her best Love to Margaret & a thousand kisses to Thos [Ellis]. Nancy says give my love to them all — Edgar says Pa say something for me, say I was not afraid coming across the Sea. Kiss Thos. for him We all unite in best Love to my Uncle Galt & all our old Friends. Edgars love to Rosa & Mrs. Mackenzie (DLC-EA).

[1815] 7 OCTOBER. LONDON. John and Frances Allan, Ann Valentine, and Poe arrive in London (Allan to Ellis, 10 October 1815).

[1815] 10 OCTOBER. At Blake’s Hotel John Allan writes Charles Ellis: “I arrived here on the evening of the 7th, from Kilmarnock by way of Greenock, Glasgow, Edinburg, New Castle, Sheffield. . . . Frances has been confined to her room with a bad cold — sore throat — the rest of us are well but cursedly dissatisfied” (DLC-EA).

[1815] 13 OCTOBER. BALTIMORE. Elizabeth Rebecca Herring is born to Elizabeth Poe Herring and Henry Herring (Phillips, 1:514).

[1815] 30 OCTOBER. LONDON. John Allan writes Charles Ellis:

. . . by a snug fire in a nice little sitting parlour in No. 47 Southampton Row, Russel[l] Square where I have procured Lodgings for the present with Frances and Nancy Sewing and Edgar reading a little Story Book. I feel quite in a comfortable mood for writing. I have no acquaintances that call upon me and none whom as yet I call on. 6 Guineas a week furnished lodgings is what I have agreed to for 6 months until I can find a more convenient and cheaper situation. I have no compting room yet of course. I cannot copy the Letters which I am obliged to write — everything is high it alarms Frances she has become a complete economist [page 27:] and has a most lively appetite. I begin to think London will agree with her (DLC-EA).

[No. 47 Southampton Row, Russell Square, Bloomsbury, was a house owned by Mrs. Martha How. The offices of Allan & Ellis, an inversion of the Richmond firm’s name, were located at 18 Basinghall Street (DLC-EA; Quinn, pp. 67-68).]

[1815] 7 NOVEMBER. John Allan writes: “We are all sick with colds. Doctor says we must all have a seasoning. Nancy, also poor Frances, confined to her room” (Phillips, 1:136).

[1815] 11 NOVEMBER. KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND. Mary Fowlds writes her uncle John Allan:

I hope Miss Valentine has got a beau to make a husband of by this time as she is in the Capitol. I suppose they will be as the midges in a summers’ evening and when she is served herself I hope she will send them down a gross or two as they are a scarce commodity here and she may rely upon the thanks of all the ladies in Kilmarnock. I must finish this love story. Hope Mrs. Allan has got quite well again and able to go about and see all the curiosities as I understand they are great in number. . . . All the family join me in love to you, Mrs. Allan, Miss Valentine and little Edgar (ViRVal; Quinn, p. 67).

[1815] 15 NOVEMBER. LONDON. John Allan writes Charles Ellis: “Glad to hear my little Thomas [Ellis’ son] is getting better and none more delighted than Edgar” (DLC-EA).

Frances Allan [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 28]
Frances Allan

[1815] 20 NOVEMBER. John Allan writes Charles Ellis: “I told you I should stay here three years — this I gave you to understand was to remove Mrs. Allan’s reluctance. You may count upon five years without an accident — the expense of making an establishment is too heavy for a shorter period. . . . I would not stay longer on any account” (DLC-EA).

[1815] 21 NOVEMBER. John Allan writes William Holder: “Mrs. Allan who is now almost recovd. (and all the rest of us are well) bids me return you her (and in which Miss V. & myself unite) sincere thanks for the kind invitation you have given her & will avail ourselves of it, towards the Spring they request their compliments to the young Ladies & yourself, should you or them [they] visit London we shall be glad to see you in Southampton Row Russell Square” (typescript, ViRVal).

[1815] 12 DECEMBER. RICHMOND. William Galt writes John Allan and acknowledges the receipt of Allan’s letter of 22 August from Kilmarnock. He is anxious to know if Allan has commenced his business in London or has been prevented by sickness. “Please do remember me to my friends in [page 29:] Scotland & to Mrs. Allan Miss Valentine & to Edgar & believe me to be your affectionate Uncle” (TxU-HRCL).



~~ 1816 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 29, continued:]

[1816] 7 JANUARY. KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND. Allan Fowlds writes John Allan and sends his regards to Edgar (ViRVal; Quinn, p. 67).

[1816] 11 JANUARY. RICHMOND. Catherine Wood writes John Allan: “How is my dear Mrs. Allan, Nancy and Edgar? Don’t they look healthy and as sweet as ever?” (Stanard, p. 17).

[1816] 19 JANUARY. Margaret Ellis writes her brother James: “We had a letter from Nancy [Valentine] a few days ago; she says they are all miserably dissatisfied with London” (ViRVal-THE).

[1816] 19 JANUARY. LONDON. John Allan reports that “All [are] well” (Phillips, 1:142).

[1816] 23 JANUARY. John Allan reports that Frances Allan is “complaining” (Phillips, 1:142).

[1816] FEBRUARY. LONDON? Josiah Ellis writes Charles Ellis that Frances Allan dislikes London and has had a fall (Phillips, 1:144-45).

[1816] 3 MARCH. BALTIMORE. Jacob Poe and his son James Mosher Poe are baptized (First Presbyterian Church record; Quinn, p. 725).

[1816] 27 MARCH. LONDON. John Allan writes William Galt: “I had a letter from Elizabeth Allan a day or two past. All our friends were well and boys busy at school poor Aunt Jeannie Bone had paid the Great Debt of nature. She was my Fathers Sister and was very old and what is consoling a good Christian. . . . Frances does not enjoy good health but as the spring approaches I hope she will get better. Nancy Edgar and myself are all well and the whole unite in our best respects to you” (ViRVal).

[1816] EARLY APRIL. Poe enters the boarding school of the Misses Dubourg, daughters of Francis Dubourg, 146 Sloan Street, Chelsea (Campbell [1916], p. 144). [page 30:]

[Their brother George was a bookkeeper and copyist for John Allan. Poe named the laundress in “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” Pauline Dubourg.]

[1816] 18 MAY. RICHMOND. Catherine Poitiaux sends her love to Poe: “tell him I want to see him very much. . . . I expect Edgar does not know what to make of such a large City as London tell him Josephine and all the children want to see him” (Campbell [1916], p. 144).

[1816] MAY. LONDON. John Allan writes Charles Ellis: “If [I] get through the year I hope I shall not see such another” (DLC-EA; Quinn, p. 68).

[1816] 6 JULY. John Allan receives a bill for Poe’s tuition at the school kept by the Misses Dubourg. George Dubourg, Allan’s clerk, signs the receipt.

Mast Allan’s School Acct. to Midst. 1816.
Board & Tuition 1/4 year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7     17     6
Separate Bed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1    1    0
Washing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0    10    6
Seat in Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0    3    0
Teachers & Servants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0    5    0
Writing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0    15    0
Do. Entrance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0    10    6
Copy Book, Pens &c . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0    3    0
Medicine, School Expences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0    5    0
Repairing Linen, shoe-strings &c . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0    3    0
Mavor’s Spelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0    2    0
Fresnoy’s Geography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0    2    0
Prayer Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0    3    0
Church Catechism explained . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0    0    9
Catechism of Hist. of England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   0     0     9
  £12    2    0
(DLC-EA; Campbell [1916], p. 144).

[1816] 17 JULY. John Allan writes William Galt that Frances Allan “complains a little but Nancy and Edgar enjoy excellent health and desire their united respects to you” (Phillips, 1:146).

[1816] 22 JULY. The school of the Misses Dubourg recommences (Campbell [1916], p. 144).

[1816] 12 AUGUST. RICHMOND. Charles Ellis writes John Allan: “Margaret Thomas and James unite with me in every good wish for you, Mrs. Allan and little Ed” (Stanard, p. 13). [page 31:]

[1816] 15 AUGUST. LONDON. John Allan writes William Galt: “Frances, Nancy & Edgar beg to be kindly remembered to you” (typescript, ViRVal).

[1816] 31 AUGUST. John Allan writes Charles Ellis: “Nancy weighs 146, Frances 104, myself 157 of good hard flesh — Edgar thin as a rasor.” He plans to take Frances to Cheltenham “a few weeks for country air” (DLC-EA; Campbell [1912], p. 205; Quinn, p. 68).

[1816] 2 OCTOBER. BALTIMORE. Harriet Mary Elizabeth Clemm, daughter of William Clemm, is baptized (St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church record; Quinn, p. 726).

[1816] 2 OCTOBER. LONDON. John Allan writes William Galt: “Frances is beginning to enjoy much better health and better reconciled to Eng. Nancy is quite fat — Edgar is growing and of course thin and your Hble Servant as hard as a lightwood knot — we get fine Table Beer, now and then a good glass of Port” (DLC-EA; Campbell [1912], p. 205).

[1816] 5 OCTOBER. John Allan, 18 Basinghall Street, gives advice to William Galt, Jr., in Kilmarnock, Scotland, who is preparing to go to America: “Now my good Boy you will soon be ushered into the World where your own exertions and good Sense will be put to the test, never fail to do your Duty to your Creator first, to your Employer next & by all means keep clear of bad company. mixing with improper characters tends only to make you the slave of vicious Habits which you will avoid as you shun the coiled Serpent” (NcD-G).

[1816] 17 OCTOBER. BALTIMORE. David Poe, Sr., dies. He is survived by his widow Elizabeth Cairnes Poe.

[1816] 18 OCTOBER. The Federal Gazette reports: “Died yesterday, in his 74th year, David Poe, a native of Ireland, and for the last 40 years a resident of Baltimore” (Quinn, p. 18 n. 38).

[1816] 19 OCTOBER. The American and Commercial Advertiser prints an obituary: “Died on Thursday afternoon, in 74th year of his age, Mr. David Poe, a native of Ireland and for the last forty years a resident of Baltimore. Mr. Poe was an early and decided friend of American Liberty, and was actively engaged in promoting that cause during the Revolutionary War. He died as he lived, a zealous Republican, regretted by an extensive circle of relatives and friends” (ViU-I; Phillips, 1:29).

[1816] 25 OCTOBER. KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND. Allan Fowlds writes his brother-in-law [page 32:] John Allan: “I hope Mrs. Allan[’s] health is . . . . Established and she is enjoying London with all its curiositys. . . . all here join me in warmest affection to Mrs A Miss Valentine Edgar and yourself” (TxU-HRCL).

[1816] 22 NOVEMBER. LONDON. John Allan writes William Galt: “F.N. & E. are all well and desire their love to you” (Phillips, 1:147).

[1816] 30 NOVEMBER. RICHMOND. William Galt, Sr., writes William Galt, Jr., in Kilmarnock, Scotland, holding up John Allan as a model: “to be both quick and correct is very desirable & such was [is] John Allan, he writes well & very fast, and he is very quick in both calculating exstending and adding; this he acquired when living with me he is now a clever man at business & I cannot allow myself to doubt but that you will be so also; Certain it is that much more pains has been taken in giving you an education than was taken for him and I hope that you are naturally clever as him” (NcD-G).

[1816] 7 DECEMBER. LONDON. John Allan writes: “Frances complaining as usual. Nancy, Edgar and myself quite well” (Phillips, 1:147).

[1816] 28 DECEMBER. John Allan receives a bill (£23. 16s.) from the Misses Dubourg for teaching Poe during the preceding six months (Campbell [1916], p. 144).



~~ 1817 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 32, continued:]

[1817] 13 JANUARY. LONDON. John Allan writes William Galt: “Mrs. A. Miss N. and Edgar send their kindest regards” (Phillips, 1:147).

[1817] 14 JANUARY. John Allan writes Charles Ellis: “Our property [assets] should now be worth 140,000 Dollars” (DLC-EA; Campbell [1912], p. 205).

[1817] 30 JANUARY. John Allan writes William Galt: “Mrs. Allan, Miss Nancy and Edgar desire their kindest regards” (Stanard, p. 13).

[1817] 3 FEBRUARY. John Allan writes James Fisher, a shipbroker, in Richmond: “Mrs. Allan is not well Miss Valentine myself & Edgar are perfectly so & unite in best respects to Mrs. Fisher the children & yourself” (typescript, ViRVal). [page 33:]

[1817] 8 MARCH. John Allan writes William Galt, Jr., in Kilmarnock, Scotland: “you will recollect you are to have no Political Opinions, as you go to America as one of its foster Sons it is but right you should be neuter No man will blame your attachment to the country which gave you Birth, but prudence dictates that you should not say anything about the Government, but the best is to let Politics alone altogether” (NcD-G).

[1817] APRIL. RICHMOND. Thomas Willis White, a printer, returns to take up permanent residence (White to N. B. Tucker, 17 November 1834, Vi-W-TC. See 15 MAY 1834).

[1817] 2 MAY. MANCHESTER, ENGLAND. John Allan writes his clerk George Dubourg: “ I am pleased to hear that Mrs. Allan & the Family are well. . . . tell Mrs. Allan I am well & if I dont go to Liverpool I shall tell her so myself” (TxU-HRCL).

[1817] 6 MAY. LONDON. John Allan writes Mrs. William Galt, Jr.: “Edgar is at school” (ViRVal; Quinn, p. 70. Stanard, p. 17, has 6 March. MS not accessible).

[1817] 13 JULY. BALTIMORE. William Clemm, Jr., marries Maria Poe, Poe’s aunt (St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church record. Quinn, p. 726, in error has 12 July, which was a Saturday. See 18 JULY).

[1817] 18 JULY. An unidentified newspaper reports: “Married, on Sunday evening last, by the Rev. Mr. Wyatt, Mr. WILLIAM CLEMM to Miss MARIA POE” (clipping in a book of memorabilia possessed by Mrs. D. Skinner, Jr., Princeton, N. J.).

[1817] MIDSUMMER. LONDON. John Allan rents No. 39 Southampton Row from the Misses M. C. and M. A. Hows, subtenants of Charles Bleeks; but the Allans do not take possession of the house until September or October (Phillips, 1:133, 147-48; Allan to Dubourg, 12 September).

[1817] 2 AUGUST. KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND. Mary Allan writes her brother John that she and Mrs. Galt plan to visit his family in the spring: “I was sorry to notice that Mrs. Allans Health was such as to require a change of Air but shall be extremely glad to hear that Cheltenham has been of service to her would a trip to Scotland not have answered the same purpose” (TxU-HRCL).

[1817] 6 AUGUST. CHELTENHAM ENGLAND. The day after his arrival at the Stiles Hotel John Allan writes George Dubourg: “Mrs. Allan desires me to add [page 34:] that she expects a Parrot from Liverpool. Shd. it arrive she will be obliged by your taking care of it. . . . My Head feels a little confused from Drinking the Cheltenham Salts this morning but I hope to improve my Health eventually by a judicious use of them” (TxU-HRCL).

[Frances Allan’s parrot spoke French and was lodged at least temporarily with the Dubourgs. In America the Allans had possessed a parrot that could speak the English alphabet. This English-speaking parrot, left with the Dixon family when the Allans went abroad, had sickened and died. Whitty (1935), pp. 188-90, thought the following lines from “Romance” were autobiographical: “To me a painted paroquet / Hath been — a most familiar bird — / Taught me my alphabet to say — / To lisp my very earliest word.” Mabbott (1969), 1:128-29, linked “Romance” with the popinjay in Scotland and also called attention to the paroquet in “The Bargain Lost.” In his “Philosophy of Composition” Poe stated that in planning “The Raven” he first considered a parrot, then an owl, and settled for a raven. See CA. 11 AUGUST 1815.]

[1817] 9 AUGUST. John Allan writes George Dubourg: “Mrs. Allan has been using the waters and they agree verry well with her” (TxU-HRCL).

[1817] 12 AUGUST. John Allan writes George Dubourg: “We are all well. . . . Mrs. Allan desires her love to Edgar. she has derived great benefit from the use of the waters” (TxU-HRCL).

[1817] 14 AUGUST. John or Frances Allan writes Poe (Allan to Dubourg, 14 August).

[1817] 14 AUGUST. John Allan writes George Dubourg: “Enclosed is a letter for Edgar, who, if he writes at all, must direct to his Mama, as I do not think she will return with me, as finding her health much improved, she wishes to give the waters a trial of greater duration” (Stanard, p. 17).

[1817] 28 AUGUST. LONDON. A payment of £24 16s. “for Edgar’s School” is charged to John Allan in the cash books of the Allan & Ellis firm (DLC-EA).

[Poe had been attending a school run by the Misses Dubourg.]

[1817] 12 SEPTEMBER. CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND. John Allan writes George Dubourg: “I should hope to be with you by the 20th. inst therefore you will send no letters after the evening of the 18th., call on Mr. David Manley of 48 Southn. Row & present my Kind Respects & say I should like to have lodgings for a Month (or apartments) from the 20th. until I obtain possession of No. 39. . . . We are all well” (TxU-HRCL). [page 35:]

[1817] 17 SEPTEMBER. CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND. Frances Allan writes John Allan that she is “better but not hearty.” A bill for a dinner includes an “order for a child” (Phillips, 1:149).

[1817] 20 SEPTEMBER? LONDON. John Allan returns from Cheltenham and takes lodgings until he can obtain possession of 39 Southampton Row (Allan to Dubourg, 12 September).

[1817] SEPTEMBER. RICHMOND. Ellis & Allan move their offices to Fifteenth Street, opposite the Bell Tavern (Allen, p. 76).

[1817] 27 NOVEMBER. William Ewing writes John Allan:

. . . relative to Master Edwin Collier, whom you placed under my tuition in the spring of the year 1815 and who has regularly attended my school since that period. His mother informs me that she has frequently reminded your partner Mr. Ellis to mention Edwin’s situation to you, but thinks that amid the hurry of important communications he had omitted the subject altogether. She has accordingly solicited me to write to you, and to present a statement of Edwin’s account from his first entrance to the end of the year. It is as follows:

  Mr. Allan     To Wm Ewing, Dr.
  For Master Edwin Collier’s tuition from March 15th          
  1815 to March 14 1818 at $42 per annum         $126.00
Cr. June 1815 by cash from Mr. Allan     $12.25    
  Oct. 1816 by cash from Mr. Ellis     $29.75     42.00
To Balance         84.00

Thus there will be a balance due of $84 on the 14th of March next — You will confer a favor on me, and equally so on Mrs. Collier, by dropping a few lines to me through the medium of your firm, first opportunity, expressive of your concern for the tuition and education of the above child, as far as you may deem proper in regard to the future. . . . I trust Edgar continues to do well and to like his school as much as he used to when he was in Richmond. He is a charming boy and it will give me great pleasure to hear how he is, and where you have sent him to school, and also what he is reading. . . . remember me respectfully to your Lady Mrs. Allan and her Sister who I hope are well and do not forget to mention me to their august attendant Edgar (DLC-EA).

[1817] 1817. Peter Cottom, a Richmond publisher and bookseller, brings out a second edition of The American Star. Being a Choice Collection of the Most Approved Patriotic & Other Songs. Together with Many Original Ones Never Before Published.

[One of the songs was “Nobody Coming to Marry Me” sung by Elizabeth Arnold Poe to “unbounded applause, at the New-York Theatre.” See Hubbell (1941).] [page 36:]



~~ 1818 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 36, continued:]

[1818] 21 MARCH. LONDON. John Allan writes William “Erwin [Ewing]”:

I received your favr. of the 27th. Novr — last [by] the Albert that arrived here on the 7th. inst handing your a/c for the Education of Edwin Collier making a balance due you on the 15th. of March 1818 of $84 which sum Mr. Ellis will pay you; but I cannot pay any more expense on a/c of Edwin. you will therefore not consider me responsible for any expenses after the 15th. of this month I cannot conceive who had a right to warrant Ellis & Allan on my a/c Accept my thanks for the solicitude you have so kindly expressed about Edgar & the family. Edgar is a fine Boy and I have no reason to complain of his progress (DLC-EA).

[1818] 22 JUNE. John Allan writes home: “Edgar is a fine Boy and reads Latin pretty sharply” (DLC-EA; Stanard, p. 17).

[1818] 23 JUNE. John Allan writes Charles Ellis: “Frances has had an attack of catarrh. Nancy is so attentive a nurse, she hasn’t time to visit her friends” (DLC-EA).

[1818] 25 JUNE. John Allan writes Charles Ellis: “First frolic for a long time, was a grand dinner on board the Philip Tabb. Mrs. A. in high spirits received the ladies up and down the decks. She is much better and the rest of us all well” (DLC-EA).

Manor House School, Stoke Newington [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 37, top]
Manor House School, Stoke Newington

[1818] 24 JULY. Poe’s tuition fee (£16 14s. 3d. ) is paid to the Reverend John Bransby at the Manor House School, Stoke Newington (DLC-EA).

[In “William Wilson” (1839), Poe’s fictional account of his experiences at the Manor House School, the schoolmaster was part Bransby and part George Gaskin, rector of St. Mary’s Church. Poe perhaps knew three men named William Wilson: two conducted business with John Allan and a third taught school in Richmond (see Jackson, 1983, p. 13). “I [William Elijah Hunter] spoke to Dr. Bransby about him [Poe] two or three times during my school days. . . . Dr. Bransby seemed rather to shun the topic, I suppose from some feeling with regard to his name being used distastefully in the story of ‘William Wilson.’ In answer to my questions on one occasion, he said, ‘Edgar Allan’ (the name he was known by at school) ‘was a quick and clever boy and would have been a very good boy if he had not been spoilt by his parents,’ meaning the Allans; ‘but they spoilt him, and allowed him an extravagant amount of pocket-money, which enabled him to get into all manner of mischief — still I liked the boy — poor fellow, his parents spoilt him!’ ” (Hunter, p. 497).] [page 37:]

[1818] 17 AUGUST. John Allan plans a trip to the Isle of Wight “to see what effect sea air will have on” his wife (Phillips, 1:165).

[1818] 31 AUGUST. STOKE NEWINGTON, LONDON. Poe hurts his hand badly. John Allan is charged 10s. 6d. for having the wound dressed, and several days later, 18 September, 2s. 6d. for ointment and lint (see 25 SEPTEMBER 1818).

[1818] BEFORE 10 SEPTEMBER. RIDE, ENGLAND. John Allan writes that Frances Allan is improving (Phillips, 1:165-66).

[1818] 10 SEPTEMBER. LONDON. John and Frances Allan return from the Isle of Wight (Phillips, 1:166).

[1818] 10 SEPTEMBER. BALTIMORE. Henry Clemm is born to Maria Poe Clemm and William Clemm, Jr. (St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church record; Quinn, p. 726).

[1818] 25 SEPTEMBER. LONDON. John Allan is billed. [page 38:]

Mas Allan at Mr Bransbys.
1818. To Thos. Smith & Son Stoke Newington   £   s.   d.
Augt. 31 Dress Hand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     10   6
Sept. 18 Ointment & Lint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     2   6
    £   13.    
Mast. Allan ———
Shoem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   £   s.   d.
July 27 — Pair of Shoes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   0.   7.   0
Aug 26 — Mending . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   0.   1.   9
Sep. 21 — Do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   0.   2.   0
25 — Do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   0.   2.   0
New shoes &c as per bill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   0.   12.   9
    £1.   15.   6
(Stanard, p. 327).

[1818] 10 OCTOBER. John Allan reports that Frances Allan is visiting friends in Devonshire and has caught cold (Phillips, 1:166).

[1818] 13 OCTOBER. John Allan writes Frances Allan (Frances Allan to John Allan, 15-16 October 1818).

[1818] 15-16 OCTOBER. DAWLISH, ENGLAND. Frances Allan writes John Allan:

Your kind letter of the 13 was received this morning and you will perceive I have lost no time in replying to it, however pleasant a duty it may be I fear it will be long ere I shall write with any facility or ease to myself, as I fiend [find] you are determined to think my health better contrary to all I say it will be needless for me to say more on that subject but be assured I embrace every opportunity that offers for takeing [taking] air and exercies [exercises] but at this advanced season of the year we cant expect the weather to be very good I am this moment interupted [interrupted] with a message from Mrs. Dunlop requesting I would accompany her in a ride which I shall accept the Carriage is now at the door / Friday morning Octr 16 / we had a very long and pleasant ride we started at two o’clock and did not return until six the day was remarkably fine we had a beautyfull [beautiful] view of the surrounding Cuntry [country] we had a smart Beau with us who arrived here from London a few days ago I was very much pressed to go to the ball last night and nothing prevented me from going but the want of a little finery so you and the Doctr may lay aside some of your consequence for I really think you have a great deal of Vanity to immagien [imagine] you are the cause of all my misery, I only wish my health would admit of my entering into all the gaieties of this place I would soon let you see I could be as happy and contented without you as you appear to be in my absence as I hear of nothing but partyes [parties] at home and abroad but long may the Almighty grant my dear husband health and spirits to enjoy them now I must request my dear hubby to get me a nice piece of sheeting and a piece of shirting Cotton as they will be much wanted when I return [page 39:] tell Nancy she must get Abbatt to put up the tester and drapery to my bed and the parlour window Curtains to have the bedroom floors well cleaned before the Carpets are put down Miss G is very well and joins me in kind love to you the girls the Doctr Mrs. Rennolds & all friends and believe me my dear old man yours truely [truly] (ViRVal; Quinn, p. 78).

[1818] 24 OCTOBER. Jane Galt, who is with Frances Allan, writes Mary Allan, who is visiting her brother John in London:

Mrs. Allan intended to have wrote herself today but is very Weak. — [?] and is afraid she will feel too much fatigued to write. We leave this on Monday for Sidmouth where Mrs. Elwell proposes staying two days we will let you know from there what day we shall have the pleasure of seeing you in Southampton Row. Mrs. Allan seems to dread very much the returning to London as she will enter it about the first of Nov. I think she regrets leaving this part of the country. Mr. Dunlop has been persuading her to remain here for some time. he will leave her in charge of two beaus who winter here, Major Court and Captain Donnell who he is sure will take good care of her and he would take a nice little cottage for her. What do you think of that arrangement don’t you think we plan very well? Mrs. Allan drank tea last evening at Mr. Dunlops. They leave this Monday. Mr. [Charles Robert] Leslie who has been with them for some time is quite delighted with the country. He has been very busy taking views of the different places around. Mrs. Allan is much about the same as when I wrote (ViRVal; Allen, pp.72, 682-83).

[Charles Robert Leslie (1794-1859) was the brother of Eliza Leslie (1787-1858), the editor of the Gift (1836), in which appeared Poe’s “MS. Found in a Bottle,” and of Thomas Jefferson Leslie (1796-1874), the paymaster at West Point in 1831. For a description of Dawlish, see Leslie, pp. 208-209.]

[1818] 27 OCTOBER. TYDEMOUTH. Frances Allan and perhaps Jane Galt visit Tydemouth (ViRVal; Quinn, p. 79).

[1818] 10 NOVEMBER. LONDON. Mary Allan writes her cousin William Galt, Jr., in Richmond: “Edgar is at School at Stock [Stoke] newington about four miles from London he is quite well he was in town for a day this week” (NcD-G).

[1818] 12 NOVEMBER. John Allan writes William Galt, Jr.: “it [Virginia] abounds with natural Beauties in my eyes & I would not care how soon I was back among them” (NcD-G).

[1818] 15 NOVEMBER. BALTIMORE. Henry Clemm, son of Maria Poe Clemm and William Clemm, Jr., is baptized (St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church record; Quinn, p. 726). [page 40:]

[1818] 23 NOVEMBER. LONDON. John Allan reports that his wife Frances is “certainly improved” (Phillips, 1:166).

[1818] 28 NOVEMBER OR BEFORE. Frances Allan joins her family in London (Quinn, p. 79).

[1818] 25 DECEMBER. John Allan receives a bill from the Manor House School.

    £   S.   D.
Board & Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   23.   12.   6.
Washing £1:11:6 Single Bed            
  £2:2:0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3   13   6
Allowance £0:5:0 Pew & Chary.            
  Sermon £0:3:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     8   6
Books, Stationary &c . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     14   11
French . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      
Dancing £2:2:0   Drawing £ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .            
  Music £   2   2  
Shoemaker £1:15:6   Taylor £            
  Hairdresser £ 0:2:0. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1   17   6
Sundries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     1  
Apothecary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   0   13   0
Please to pay to Messrs. Sikes Snaith   0   13   0
  & Co. Mansion House St. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   £33.   2.   11
  The vacation will terminate Jany. 25th 1819.            
(Stanard, p. 319).



~~ 1819 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 40, continued:]

[1819] 15 JANUARY. LONDON. Poe’s tuition fees are paid to Fry and Bransby at the Manor House School: £69 16s. 4d. (DLC-EA; Campbell [1912], p. 206).

[1819] 25 JANUARY. Poe’s school vacation ends (see 25 DECEMBER 1818).

[1819] 26 JANUARY. Poe’s bill at the Manor House School is paid:

[page 41:]

Mast. Allan   Mast. Allan
Books . . . . . . . . . . . . .     £   s   d           Sundries . . . . . . . . . . £   s   d
Sep – Biglands               Postage . . . . . . . . . . 0.   0.   6
  test – E. N. 0.   6.   6     Shoestrings . . . . . . . 0.   0.   6
  2 Large Slates 0.   2.   4       —————
  Small copy book . . . 0.   0.   10       £0.   1.   0
Tables 0.   0.   3       =========
Paper pens &c 0.   5.   0                
  £0.   14.   11                

London 26 Jany 1819

Recd of Mess’s Allan & Ellis the Sum of Thirty Three Pounds 2 / 11 — on Acct. of the Revd Jno Bransby for Messrs Sikes Snaith & Co £33.2.11

P. White (Stanard, p. 323).

[1819] MAY OR BEFORE. The firm of Allan & Ellis suffers financial difficulties, and John Allan begins to think of returning home (Phillips, 1:167; Quinn, p. 79).

[1819] 4 MAY. RICHMOND. For the purpose of securing to Messrs. Ewart, Taylor & Co. of London a certain sum of money, Ellis & Allan and Charles Ellis execute a deed of trust (recorded 4 October 1819 in the records of Henrico County, Virginia; Richmond Compiler, 13 and 14 May 1822).

[1819] BEFORE 22 MAY. LONDON. John Allan writes that “Frances begins to think she will never be able to cross the Atlantic” (Phillips, 1:168).

[1819] ABOUT 22 MAY. John Allan reports that his wife “is certainly improved in her general health” (Phillips, 1:168).

[1819] 26 JUNE. IRVINE, SCOTLAND. John Allan and family attend the wedding of his sister Elizabeth to John Miller. Edgar Poe is left at Irvine until September (Phillips, 1:168).

[1819] 6 SEPTEMBER. RICHMOND. In the Richmond Compiler Joseph H. Clarke advertises his school, which Poe enters the following year:


J. H. CLARKE tenders his best thanks to the patrons and friends of his ACADEMY and begs leave to say that the English, French, Latin and Greek Languages are [page 42:] taught in his School, by a method, which equally facilitates the student’s proficiency and diminishes his labour. By this method, which is the product of much study and research, Mr. C. has no hesitation to say, boys of ordinary capacity, may be taught to read, write, and speak the three first of these languages, with considerable accuracy and judgment, in a shorter space of time, than is usually allotted to the superficial attainment of but one. Mr. C. pledges himself to teach the French by this method in six months. Arithmetic, Geography, and the Elementary principles of Geometry and Astronomy form also an important appendage to his course of instruction.

[1819] 28 SEPTEMBER. LONDON. John Allan writes his uncle William Galt: “Edgar is growing wonderfully, & enjoys a good reputation and is both able & willing to receive instruction” (Campbell [1912], p. 206; Phillips, 1:169. Quinn, p. 77, has 28 September 1818. MS. not accessible).

[1819] 2 OCTOBER. Mr. Birch, landlord of a Southampton Row house, duns John Allan for rent (Campbell [1912], p. 205).

[1819] 28 OCTOBER. KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND. Mary Allan writes her cousin William Galt, Jr.: “I heard how very foolishly the young men in Virginia spend their time that they are much given to swearing, drinking, fighting with all the other vices that lead to destruction” (NcD-G; Guilds, pp. 5-7).

[1819] 21 NOVEMBER. BRIGHTON, ENGLAND. An agent writes John Allan regarding a search for a house for “Mrs. Allan and another Lady to stay” (Quinn, p. 79).

[1819] 27 NOVEMBER. LONDON. John Allan writes William Galt: “Edgar is in the Country at School, he is a verry fine Boy & a good Scholar” (DLC-EA).

[1819] 29 NOVEMBER. John Allan, unable to return to America until he receives cash, writes “Messrs. Ellis and Allan”: “Please bear in mind that I have only about £100 here in the world, and I depend upon you” (DLC-EA).

[1819] 4 DECEMBER. John Allan writes Charles Ellis that Frances has “the greatest aversion to the sea and nothing but dire necessity and the prospect of a reunion with her old and dear Friends could induce her to attempt it. Ann submits with her wonted good nature and patience” (DLC-EA).

[1819] 4 DECEMBER. RICHMOND. Ellis & Allan write Ewart, Myers & Company, referring to “their suspension and of their efforts to pay their creditors” (DLC-EA; Quinn, p. 79). [page 43:]

[1819] 1819. The Richmond Directory, Register and Almanac, for 1819 appears. Included in the directory are Martha Burling, a boardinghouse keeper; the Rev. John Buchanan; Peter Cottom; Peter V. Daniel; Charles Ellis; Elizabeth Fisher, teacher; William Galt; James E. Heath; Hetherton, tailor; John Hobday, chairmaker; William Lambert; William Mackenzie; Samuel Mordecai; Michael B. Poitiaux; Andrew Stevenson; John H. Strobia; Philip Thornton, physician; Carter Wills, bricklayer; and James Yarrington, carpenter.



~~ 1820 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 43, continued:]

[1820] 28 JANUARY. LONDON. John Allan writes his uncle William Galt: “Mrs. Allan & Miss Valentine are in good health & particularly request to be kindly remembered to you I am truly glad to hear of your good health — You are among the few that Edgar recollects perfectly Uncle Galt & Uncle Roland are his old Friends” (typescript, ViRVal). On this same day John Allan writes William Galt, Jr., that by his own exertions he has “repaired many Gaps [in his education) both in general literature and the Sciences” (NcD-G).

[1820] 1 FEBRUARY. John Allan pays Poe’s tuition fees of £70.9s. 6d. to the Manor House School (DLC-EA; Campbell [1912], p. 206). He writes Charles Ellis, reporting the death of George III on 29 January and describing the immense crowds welcoming the reign of George IV (Phillips, 1:170).

[1820] 19 FEBRUARY. John Allan writes about the assassination of Duke Charles Ferdinand of Berry on 13 February and concludes that “France appears in a terrible state” (Phillips, 1:170).

[1820] 17 MARCH. John Allan writes Charles Ellis:

The truth is Charles we have erred through pride and ambition. I hope we shall yet have an opportunity to conduct our business like sensible and reflecting men. I shall leave the house and furniture standing, live it out for 12 or 18 months ready, should we be in condition, to prosecute our business. If impossible — it is easy getting rid of the furniture, home and all. . . . Rather than the old way — I would turn farmer or planter. This is a private letter. We must support and encourage each other. F. is getting better. She has to learn what a pleasing sensation is experienced on returning Home — even in Hot weather (Phillips, 1:170; see also 9 JUNE 1820). [page 44:]

[1820] MARCH. John Allan is seriously ill with dropsy (Allen, p. 72).

[1820] 3 APRIL. John Allan winds up his affairs at the countinghouse (Allen, pp. 72-73).

[1820] 18 APRIL. John Allan writes Charles Ellis that he has been robbed by his clerk Edward Tayle. He adds: “Would say we are all tolerably well, I certainly am much better. Frances complaining a good deal & Ann & Edgar are quite well” (Allen, p. 73).

[1820] 20 MAY. John Allan writes a Richmond correspondent, probably Charles Ellis: “I trust to be off by the June Packet & when I arrive I shall use every exertion of which I am capable to complete our engagements to our creditors. . . . Mrs. Allan is in better health than usual, Ann quite well & so is Edgar, as for myself I was never better” (Allen, p. 73).

[Similar to a later entry, 16 JUNE 1820.]

[1820] 26 MAY. John Allan pays Poe’s bill of £35.4s. 10d. for board and tuition to the Manor House School (DLL-EA; Campbell [1912], p. 206).

[1820] BEFORE 8 JUNE. IRVINE, SCOTLAND. John and Frances Allan, Ann Valentine, and Poe visit John Allan’s sisters (Phillips, 1:171).

[1820] 8 JUNE. LIVERPOOL. This evening the Allans and Poe arrive on their return journey to Richmond (Allan to Ellis, 9 June).

[1820] 9 JUNE. John Allan writes Charles Ellis:

[Frances] . . . felt much indisposed. I hope the trip to Virginia [?] will be of service to her, she has yet to learn what a pleasing sensation is experienced on returning Home — Even in verry Hot weather. We will trust to God that our congratulations on the Birth of another Daughter to your family be . . . finally realized . . . make my best respects to our dear Margaret & all the children. Mrs. A. & Ann desire their love to you, Margaret & the young ones. Remember us all to Mr. and Mrs. Richard, Doct. and Mrs. Thornton, the children, Rose, Mr. and Mrs. Mackenzie. . . . . Mrs. Mackenzie of Forest Hill called and addressed her love to Mrs. Mackenzie, they are all well (DLC-EA; Campbell [1912], p. 206; Allen, p. 73).

[1820] 16 JUNE. The Allans and Poe leave aboard the sailing ship Martha: “The Martha Capt. Sketchly will not sail before Wednesday next the 14 int. I have made arrangements for all the Goods you ordered. . . . Mrs. Allan is in better Health than usual Ann is quite well so is Edgar. I for myself never was better” (DLC-EA; Allan to Ellis, 9 June; Quinn, p. 80). [page 45:]

[The Martha actually set sail 16 June. The voyage required thirty-six days.]

[1820] 21 JULY. NEW YORK. The Martha arrives in the United States during the night (John Allan to Dr. Arnott, 22 August, and 26 JULY).

[1820] 22 JULY. The New-York Daily Advertiser reports the arrival of the Allans and Poe:




Ship Martha, Sketchely, 31 [36] days from Liverpool, with drygoods, hardware, &c. . . . Passengers, J & F Allan, E A Poe, Ann Valentine, J Edgar, Henrietta Edgar, Lydia Parker, . . . .

[1820] 26 JULY. RICHMOND. The Compiler prints the following news item:


New York, July 22. —— The quick sailing ship MARTHA, Capt. Sketchley, which sailed from Liverpool on the 16th ult. arrived at this port last evening.

[1820] 27 JULY. NEW YORK. John Allan writes Charles Ellis that Frances Allan’s illness has delayed their departure from New York: “I intended leaving this place today but Mrs. Allan was so unwell yesterday that I was obliged to call in Doctr. Horrock she is better today & I design starting tomorrow in the Steam Boat . . . by way of Norfolk” (DLC-EA).

[1820] 27 JULY. RICHMOND. The Compiler prints three news items:


The fine fast sailing ship MARTHA, capt. Sketchley, arrived last night in 33 [36] days from Liverpool.



New York, July 22. —— By the fast sailing ship MARTHA, Capt. Sketchley, which arrived last night in 33 [36] days from Liverpool, the Editors of the {New York} Commercial Advertiser have received Liverpool papers to the 15th June.

—————— [page 46:]


NEW YORK, JULY 22. —— Arrd. ship Martha, Sketchley, Liverpool —— among the passengers, J. Allen and lady, Edgar Allen, and Miss Valentine, of Richmond, (Vir.).

[The Compiler misspelled the Allan name and changed “E A Poe” to “Edgar Allen” and “Ann Valentine” to “Miss Valentine” (cf. 22 JULY).]

[1820] 28 JULY. NEW YORK. The Allans leave on a steamboat, bound for Richmond by way of Norfolk (implied by Allan to Ellis, 27 July).

[This trip normally required from three to four days.]

[1820] 31 JULY. RICHMOND. Charles Ellis writes his wife Margaret, who is visiting in Concord, Virginia: “Mr. & Mrs. Allan has [have] at last arrived in New York, and as soon as they get on, and settled down a little I shall leave them the bag to hold and flee to the mountains . . . . Mr. Allan would set out from New York last Friday via Norfolk and I suppose will be here on next Friday or Saturday. Mrs. Allan was rather unwell & was resting. The rest were hearty, don’t give yourself any uneasiness about my health” (DLC-EA).

[1820] 2 AUGUST. The Allans and Poe return home and take up residence in the house of Charles Ellis (Woodberry, 2:361; T. H. Ellis, Richmond Standard, 7 May 1881).

[“The square on the south side of Franklin, between First and Second Streets, was the residence of Charles Ellis, of the long existing firm of Ellis & Allan, worthy members of our community for nearly half a century. This unpretending mansion, now overtopped by those around, is still occupied by his family. The square opposite to it was Mr. Ellis’s garden, embellished by a fine row of Linden trees along its front. Most of the Lindens have disappeared, but have given their name to the square, now built up with fine residences” (Mordecai, pp. 123-24).]

[1820] 2 AUGUST. The Richmond Compiler prints a list of students who have excelled in the last session of Joseph H. Clarke’s Academy. One is Ebenezer Burling, later Poe’s friend.

2d Latin Class, 1st premium Benjamin Hooper.

“Vain, very vain my weary search to find,

“That bliss which only centres in the mind,

“Why have I stray’d from study and repose,

“To seek a good each well spent hour bestows.”

Accesserunt 1st. Alexander Rutherfoord, premium,

2. Jos. Stras, 3. Ebenezer Burling. [page 47:]

[1820] 7 AUGUST. Charles Ellis writes his wife Margaret: “Your letter of the 4th inst. by last nights mail affords me great pleasure, and that of Mr. and Mrs. Allan who are at our home receiving the congratulations of their friends. Mrs. Allan could she be as even tempered and as accommodating as she has been sence [since] her return, she would make the path through life much more even to herself” (Allen, p. 77).

[1820] 10 AUGUST. Charles Ellis writes his wife Margaret, who is visiting in Concord, Virginia: “Our friends Mr. & Mrs. Allan Nancy & Edgar are very well & you would be surprised to see what health and colour Mrs. A. has. They are quite well satisfied at our house, & I make out pretty well altho not as well as you would do. They are a little Englishised but it will soon wear off. They talk of going to Staunton” (DLC-EA). John Allan brings with him from England a telescope (Woodberry, 2:363).

[1820] 22 AUGUST. John Allan writes his friend Dr. Neil Arnott, in London: “I arrived at New York July 21st, after a passage of 36 days. The ocean was very rough — Mrs. Allan and Miss Valentine suffered from seasickness” (Phillips, 1:171).

[1820] 22 AUGUST. BALTIMORE. Virginia Sarah (or Maria) Clemm is born to Maria Clemm and William Clemm, Jr. (St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church record; Quinn, p. 726).

[1820] SEPTEMBER? RICHMOND. Poe enters the school of Joseph H. Clarke “over Dr. Leroy’s store at Broad and Fifth.”

Edgar Poe was five [three?] years in my school. During that time he read Ovid, Cæsar, Virgil, Cicero, and Horace in Latin, and Xenophon and Homer in Greek. . . . He had no love for mathematics. . . . While the other boys wrote mere mechanical verses, Poe wrote genuine poetry: the boy was a born poet. As a scholar, he was ambitious to excel, and although not conspicuously studious, he always acquitted himself well in his classes. He was remarkable for self-respect, without haughtiness. In his demeanor toward his playmates, he was strictly just and correct, which made him a general favorite. . . . His natural and predominant passion seemed to me to be an enthusiastic ardor in everything he undertook. . . . Even in those early years, Edgar Poe displayed the germs of that wonderfully rich and splendid imagination which has placed him in the front rank of the purely imaginative poets of the world. His school-boy verses were written con amore, and not as mere tasks. When he was ten years old, Mr. Allan came to me one day with a manuscript volume of verses, which he said Edgar had written, and which the little fellow wanted to have published. He asked my advice upon the subject. I told him that Edgar was of a very excitable temperament, that he possessed a great deal of self-esteem, and that it would be very injurious to the boy to allow him to be flattered and talked about as the author of a printed book at his age. . . . The verses, I remember, consisted chiefly of pieces addressed to the different little girls in Richmond (Didier [1877], pp. 30-31, quoting Clarke). [page 48:]

[1820] 2 AND 4 OCTOBER. Joseph H. Clarke advertises his school in the Richmond Compiler.

Richmond Academy.


THE subscriber having engaged the assistance of a Gentleman late from Europe, offers to his patrons and friends in Richmond, Manchester, and their vicinities, the flattering prospect of a permanent Literary Institution, —— where will be taught in the shortest possible time, not only the Learned Languages, but Writing and Arithmetic in its various departments, with Book-keeping by single and double entry; Geometry, Mensuration, Trigonometry plain and spherical; Navigation with the method of working Celestial and Lunar Observations; Land Surveying in theory and practice; Gunnery, and the doctrine of Projectiles, Gauging, Fortification and Optics with the use of the Instruments; Elementary and Physical Astronomy, Conic Sections, Algebra, Fluxions, Mechanics, &c. &c. Geography, with constant reference to Maps and Charts, and occasional illustrations from Astronomy, adapted to the student’s capacity.

The subscriber, whose chief ambition is to be serviceable to the rising generation, will assure the present and future patrons of his Academy, that no literary labor shall be spared on his part or that of his assistant, to give universal satisfaction. The studies of the Academy will be conducted as formerly, by his direction and under his immediate supervision. There will be four exhibitions in the year, that the parents of the pupils and the public may judge of their proficiency; and one grand examination in the year, when the classical victors shall be honourably rewarded for pre-eminence in classical and mathematical acquirements. —— The subscriber becomes responsible to parents for the progress of their children — both in science and polite manners. An accession of a few more scholars is desirable —— no exceptions as to age.

For the Mathematics and                                                            
Classics, per quarter,   $15   payable in
For plain English education,       advance.
per quarter,   10    
       J. H. CLARKE.

[According to Meagher, p. 55, Clarke advertised his school as early as December 1818 in the Compiler and first had a “commodious room in the Old Capitol building” and later, in 1819, a classroom “over Dr. Leroy’s store at Broad and Fifth.”]

[1820] 9 DECEMBER. John Allan is charged for “1 knife for Edgar” (DLC-EA; Campbell [1912], p. 207).

[1820] BEFORE 25 DECEMBER. John Allan and his family take a house on Fifth Street, fronting west, between Marshall and Clay Streets (Weiss [1907], p. 20; Stanard, p. 19. See also 13 and 14 MAY 1822). [page 49:]

[The exact date of the Allans’ leaving the Charles Ellis home for a house of their own on Fifth Street is not known. Both Weiss (1907), p. 20, and Quinn, p. 82, have “at the end of the year.” Allen, p. 79, citing a July 1925 letter from E. V. Valentine, has “Autumn of 1820.” T. H. Ellis wrote that the Allans lived with his family “the greater part of the year” (ViRVal-THE). Stanard, p. 19, states that the Allans spent several months in the Ellis home. Before moving to “Moldavia” in the summer of 1825, the Allans occupied in 1822 or 1823 a house at the corner of Fourteenth Street and Tobacco Alley (ViRVal-THE). See AFTER MAY 1822.]

[1820] 25 DECEMBER 1820? The Charles Ellis family spends Christmas evening with the Allans (Harrison [1900], p. 2160, quoting T. H. Ellis).

[Thomas H. Ellis, son of Charles and Margaret Ellis, later recalled: “No boy ever had a greater influence over me than he [Poe] had. He was, indeed, a leader among boys; but my admiration for him scarcely knew bounds; the consequence was, he led me to many a forbidden thing, for which I was punished. The only whipping I ever knew Mr. Allan to give him was for carrying me out into the fields and woods beyond Belvidere, one Saturday, and keeping me there all day and until after dark, without anybody at home knowing where we were, and for shooting a lot of domestic fowls, belonging to the proprietor of Belvidere (who was at that time, I think, Judge Bushrod Washington). He taught me to shoot, to swim, and to skate, to play bandy, &c.; and I ought to mention that he once saved me from drowning — for having thrown me into the falls headlong, that I might strike out for myself, he presently found it necessary to come to my help, or it would have been too late” (Richmond Standard, 7 May 1881).]



~~ 1821 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 49, continued:]

[1821] 13 MARCH. BALTIMORE. Virginia Sarah (or Maria) Clemm, daughter of Maria Poe Clemm and William Clemm, Jr., is baptized (St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church record; Quinn, p. 726).

[1821] 15 MAY. LONDON. Dr. Neil Arnott, of Bedford Square, writes John Allan: “You know that I have Master Edgar still inhabiting one of my rooms. Your not asking for him with these other things makes me hope that you do mean to come back again” (DLC-EA). [page 50:]

[Dr. Arnott may have been referring to a portrait of Poe by his daughter Anne or by Charles R. Leslie.]

[1821] BETWEEN 3 JUNE 1821 AND 31 OCTOBER 1825. RICHMOND. John Allan is charged eleven times for postage, from eighteen cents to a dollar and a half, for Poe, and several times for lesser amounts for Rosalie (DLC-EA; Campbell [1912], pp. 207-208).

[1821] 11 JUNE. Poe continues to attend Joseph H. Clarke’s school. John Allan pays $12.50 tuition in advance for the period 11 June to 11 September 1821 (DLC-EA; Campbell [1912], p. 207).

[1821] 11 SEPTEMBER 1821-11 MARCH 1822. Poe attends Joseph H. Clarke’s school during its fall quarter 11 September-11 December 1821 (see 11 MARCH 1822).

[Thomas H. Ellis later recalled: “Talent for declamation was one of his [Poe’s] gifts. I well remember a public exhibition at the close of a course of instruction in elocution which he had attended (in the old frame building that stood high above the present grade of Governor street, at the southwest corner of Governor and Franklin streets,) and my delight when he bore off the prize in competition with Channing Moore, Cary Wickham, Andrew Johnston, Nat Howard, and others who were regarded as amongst the most promising of the Richmond boys” (Richmond Standard, 7 May 1881).]



~~ 1822 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 50, continued:]

[1822] 11 MARCH. RICHMOND. Poe continues to attend Joseph H. Clarke’s school.

To tuition of Master Edgar Poe      
  from Sept. 11th to March 11th. 1822      
  at 12 50 pt. qt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25.00  
  Portion of fuel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.00  
  to Pens Ink & Paper        .75  
Recd. payt Jos. H. Clarke      
By a / c paid the 17th      
Decr up to the 11th of that      14.-    
Month   $12.75 (DLC-EA). [page 51:]

[1822] 19 MARCH. Jesse Higginbotham of the late firm of Ellis & Higginbotham makes an effort to discharge his debts (Richmond Compiler, 19 March 1822).

[“Miss [Ann] Valentine,” wrote Thomas H. Ellis, “was at one time engaged to Jesse Higginbotham, a very clever and competent clerk, who had lived with Ellis and Allan and afterward became the partner of uncle Josiah Ellis, under the firm of Ellis and Higginbotham. The match was broken off, in consequence of his base and fraudulent treatment of my uncle” (ViRVal-THE).]

[1822] 13 AND 14 MAY. Robert Gwathmey, as trustee, advertises for sale at auction properties owned by Ellis & Allan and Charles Ellis “for the purpose of securing to Messrs. Ewart, Taylor & Co. of London, a certain sum of money expressed in a deed of trust.” These properties include a brick tenement occupied by Messrs. Ellis & Allan on Fifteenth Street, a part of a brick tenement next door to Robert Poore’s Cabinet Warehouse, a “house and half acre lot on 5th and K [Leigh] street in handsome order, and now occupied by John Allan,” “that beautiful half acre lot on F [Franklin] and 2d street, opposite to Mr. Charles Ellis’s residence, which is well enclosed and laid out for a garden,” land purchased from the Adam Craig heirs, a parcel of land commonly called “Mackenzie’s Gardens,” and “that highly improved and beautiful lot, containing about half an acre on F [Franklin] and 2d streets, the present residence of Mr. Charles Ellis” (Richmond Compiler. See 4 MAY 1819).

[All properties to be auctioned were bought in by an advance of $10,000 on a note endorsed by William Galt (Allen, p. 684). Apparently Quinn, p. 88, is referring to this endorsement: “in 1822 . . . he [John Allan] made a personal assignment with permission to retain his property.” The Adam Craig mentioned in the advertisement was, of course, the father of Jane Stith Craig Stanard.]

[1822] AFTER MAY. John Allan and his family move from the house on Fifth Street, between Marshall and Clay Streets, to a house on Fourteenth Street and Tobacco Alley (Quinn, p. 88; Phillips, 1:187-88).

[1822] 11 JUNE. John Allan pays Joseph H. Clarke.

  To present quarter’s tuition of    
Master Poe from June 11th to Sept 11 – 1822      $12.50  
  1. Horace 3 50, Cicero de Off. 62 1/2 ——      4.12 1/2
  1. Copy book, paper Pen & Ink ————           .87 1/2
  to tuition of son Edgar Poe from June 11th    
  to Sept 11th - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -   $12.50  
Recd payt. in advance    
  J. H. Clarke (DLC-EA). [page 52:]

[1822] 12 JULY. Timour the Tartar, a horse-spectacle about Tamerlane by M. G. Lewis, is presented at the Richmond Theatre. It is repeated 17 July and 25 October (Both Shockley [1941], pp. 1103-06, and Mabbott [1969], 1:24, speculate that Poe may have seen it or surely heard about it. See 7 NOVEMBER 1829).

[1822] 15 AUGUST. BALTIMORE. Virginia Eliza Clemm, Poe’s cousin and future wife, is born to Maria Clemm and William Clemm, Jr. (St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church record; Quinn, p. 726. Mabbott [1969], 1:523, has 16 August and baptismal date 15 November).

[1822] 31 AUGUST. RICHMOND. The following entry appears in the Ellis-Allan cash books: “postage to Miss [Rosalie] Poe .19” (DLC-EA; Campbell [1912], p. 208).

[1822] 11 SEPTEMBER. John Allan pays in advance $13.25 to Joseph H. Clarke, $12.50 for the “Instruction of Edgar Poe” from 11 September to 11 December 1822, and $0.75 for “pens Ink & paper” (DLC-EA).

[This is the last payment that Allan is known to have made to Clarke.]

[1822] 5 NOVEMBER. BALTIMORE. Virginia Eliza Clemm is baptized by Bishop James Kemp. Virginia Sarah (or Maria) Clemm, her sister, is buried (St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church record; Quinn, p. 726; Ingram List, p. 185).

[1822] 3 DECEMBER. RICHMOND. In an advertisement dated 19 November in the Enquirer William Burke, a schoolmaster, “informs the public that the duties of his Seminary will be continued, the ensuing year, in its present situation or its vicinity.” Poe enters his school the following year, 1 April.

[1822] 8 DECEMBER. BALTIMORE. Elizabeth Poe Herring, wife of Henry Herring, dies, leaving a husband and five children (Maria Clemm to William Poe, 7 October 1836 [1835], W, 17:379-81).

[1822] 17 DECEMBER. RICHMOND. John Allan pays his semiannual vestry assessment “for $20, on ac’t of Pew, No. 80, in Monumental Church” (Phillips, 1:196).

[1822] DECEMBER. A tailor bills John Allan for $11.50: “coats, pantaloons & trimmings for Edgar” (Phillips, 1:196).

[1822] LATE 1822. In Joseph H. Clarke’s school Poe is a good student and athlete. [page 53:]

[John T. L. Preston, a schoolmate, later recalled: “Although I was several years his junior, we sat together on the same form for a year or more, at a classical school in Richmond, Virginia. Our master was John [Joseph] Clark[e], of Trinity College, Dublin [Georgetown College] . . . a hot-tempered, pedantic, bachelor Irishman; but a Latinist of the first order, according to the style of scholarship of that date, he unquestionably was. I have often heard my mother amuse herself by repeating his pompous assurance, that in his school her boy should be taught ‘only the pure Latinity of the Augustan age’ . . . Edgar Poe might have been at this time fifteen or sixteen —— he being one of the oldest boys in the school, and I one of the youngest. His power and accomplishments captivated me, and something in me or in him made him take a fancy to me. In the simple school athletics of those days, when a gymnasium had not been heard of, he was facile princeps. He was a swift runner, a wonderful leaper, and what was more rare, a boxer, with some slight training. . . . For swimming he was noted, being in many of his athletic proclivities surprisingly like Byron in his youth. . . . We selected Poe as our champion [in a foot-race] . . . . The race came off one bright May morning at sunrise, on the Capitol Square. . . . our school was beaten. . . . In our Latin exercises in school, Poe was among the first. . . . One exercise of the school was a favorite one with Poe: it was what was called ‘capping verses’ . . . . He was very fond of the Odes of Horace, and repeated them so often in my hearing that I learned by sound the words of many, before I understood their meaning. . . . I remember that Poe was also a very fine French scholar. Yet with all his superiorities, he was not the master-spirit, nor even the favorite of the school. . . Poe, as I recall my impressions now, was self-willed, capricious, inclined to be imperious, and though of generous impulses, not steadily kind or even amiable. . . . Of Edgar Poe it was known that his parents were players, and that he was dependent upon the bounty that is bestowed upon an adopted son. All this had the effect of making the boys decline his leadership. . . . Not a little of Poe’s time, in school and out of it, was occupied with writing verses. . . . My boyish admiration was so great for my schoolfellow’s genius, that I requested him to give me permission to carry his portfolio home for the inspection of my mother. If her enthusiasm was less than mine, her judgment did not hesitate to praise the verses very highly; and her criticism might well gratify the boyish poet; for she was a lady who, to a natural love for literature, inherited from her father, Edmund Randolph, had added the most thorough and careful culture obtained by the most extensive reading of the English classics —— the established mode of female education in those days. Here, then, you have the first critic to whom were submitted the verses of our world-famed poet. Her warm appreciation of the boy’s genius and work, was proof of her own critical taste” (Rice, pp. 37-42).] [page 54:]

[1822] LATE 1822? Poe’s fellow students elect him to compose and deliver a farewell ode to Joseph H. Clarke (Graves, p. 916).

[“When Professor Clarke left Richmond in 1823 [1822], young Poe addressed to his beloved teacher a poem which was a remarkable production for a boy of fourteen [thirteen]. In after years the Professor was proud of his distinguished pupil, and referred, to his dying day, to the fact that Poe always called upon him when he visited Baltimore, to which city Mr. Clarke removed from Richmond” (Didier [1909], p. 222). Weiss (1907), pp. 24-25, records that Poe wrote Clarke a letter in Latin verse.]

[1822] 1822? Poe addresses lines to schoolgirls at a school kept by Miss Jane Mackenzie, Mrs. William Mackenzie’s sister-in-law (Mabbott [1969], 1:3-4. See Bondurant, pp. 86-88).

[In September 1828 Jane Mackenzie announced that on the reopening of her school in October she would accept boarding as well as day pupils. “During the six years that Miss M has been a Teacher, her day School has been abundantly supplied with Scholars” (advertisement, Richmond Compiler, 11, 13, 20, and 27 September 1828).]



~~ 1823 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 54, continued:]

[1823] 1 JANUARY. RICHMOND. John Allan begins making entries in his “general Note Book”:

The Maverick engraving of early Richmond [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 55, top]
The Maverick engraving of early Richmond

From long observation and experience I have been induced to commence a kind of dailey journal of events, which may have a bearing upon points in which I may be able to serve the cause of Truth & justice — to refresh my memory occasionally, to record the result of my reflections & observations note remarkable events or occurrences & lastly to enable me by bringing the transactions of every day before my Minds eye to correct any error either in my conversation or conduct (TxU-HRCL).

[1823] 2 JANUARY. Another session of William Burke’s school begins (see 7, 8, AND 9 JANUARY).

[1823] 3 JANUARY. John Allan notes that against his better judgment he has made an arrangement for renting Rosanna Dixon’s 240 acres of land in Hanover County to a Mr. Temple (TxU-HRCL). [page 55:]

[1823] 7, 8, AND 9 JANUARY. William Burke continues to promote his school in the Richmond Enquirer ( 7 and 9 January) and in the Richmond Compiler (8 January):


THE subscriber respectfully informs the public that the duties of his Seminary will be resumed on the 2d Jan. in Southgate’s buildings, opposite the City Hall. He has employed Mr. CAVIDALLY as Professor of French and Italian, and Mr. CHARLES O’FLINN, to conduct the Mathematical department. His own exertions united with the assistance of these gentlemen will, he hopes, make his Seminary worthy of public support. The course will be extensive, and such as to prepare young gentlemen for obtaining an honourable entrance in any University in the United States; or for acquiring any profession with advantage. At the close of each term there will be an examination at which gentlemen of literary acquirements will be requested to attend and award suitable premiums. The discipline will be mild but firm, and no youth of bad moral character will be received. ——— The subscriber will be found during the recess, at Mr. Southgate’s boarding house. He requests all who wish to obtain places to make early application.

WM. BURKE. [page 56:]

Terms —— payable in advance ——

Greek, Latin, French, Italian
and Mathematics.
5 months,
  Do. do. do. do.     10 do.     $55
Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Grammar,            
Geography, and the use of the Globes,     5 months     20
  Do. do. do. do.     10 do.     35
No extra charge for fuel (Richmond Compiler, 8 January).

[Peyton Randolph, Thomas F. Ritchie, and Robert Stanard, whose sons attended Burke’s school, endorsed it in an advertisement in the Richmond Compiler, 13 August 1828.]

[1823] 21 JANUARY-10 MARCH. John Allan writes in his notebook:

Warm weather for the Season & so has continued to Jany 21st. Early this morning the River James began to rise rapidly & unexpectedly. . . Mar 10, 1823 yesterday Sunday & the Day before quite Summer to day Monday cold enough for a Great coat. the Blossoms of Fruit Trees will be kept back done nothing in Horticulture yet but I augur favourably of the Spring and what depends on our fluctuating & variable climate (TxU-HRCL).

[1823] MARCH OR EARLIER? Poe and Robert Mayo, Jr., engage in a dangerous swimming feat, and both are ill for several weeks (Richmond Evening Journal, 1874; Baltimore Sun, 8 July 1875; clippings in ViRVal).

[1823] 1 APRIL. John Allan records in his notebook: “Edgar was entered with Mr. Burke for a session of 5 mos. & $30 paid in advance” (TxU-HRCL).

[William Burke’s “Seminary” for boys was founded by Charles O’Flinn (or O’Flynn), and was first located in the Mansion House on Main Street between Fifteenth and Sixteenth Streets (Meagher, p. 58). One of Poe’s classmates was James Albert Clarke, of Manchester, Virginia, who was later suspended from the University of Virginia (Poe to Allan, 25 May 1826). Other classmates during the years 1823, 1824, and 1825 were Creed Thomas, Robert Gamble Cabell, William H. Howard, Andrew Johnston, Joseph Selden, Miles C. Selden, and Robert Craig Stanard (Didier [1877], p. 33). Thomas later recalled a fight Poe had with one of the Seldens:

Selden told somebody that Poe was a liar or a rascal. The embryo poet heard of it, and soon the boys were engaged in a fight. Selden was heavier than Poe whom he pommelled vigorously for some time. The delicate boy appeared to submit with little resistance. Finally Poe turned the tables on Selden, and much to the surprise of the spectators, administered a sound whipping. When asked why he permitted Selden to pommel his head so long, Poe replied that he was waiting for his [page 57:] adversary to get out of breath before showing him a few things in the art of fighting.

Poe was a quiet, peaceful youngster, and seldom got into a difficulty with his schoolmates. He was as plucky as any boy at school, however, and never permitted himself to be imposed upon. When it came to a question of looking after his individual rights, however, the young classic asserted himself. He was not at all popular with his schoolmates, being too retiring in disposition and singularly unsociable in manner. The only two boys he was intimate with were Monroe [Robert] Stanard, who afterwards became Judge Stanard, and Robert G. Cabell. He was quite fond of both of them, and the three boys were continually in each other’s company. It was a noticeable fact that he never asked any of his schoolmates to go home with him after school. Other boys would frequently spend the night or take dinner with each other at their homes, but Poe was seldom known to enter into this social intercourse. After he left the play-grounds at school that was an end of his sociability until the next day. Dr. Thomas was a member with Poe, Beverley Anderson, and William F. Ritchie, of the Thespian Society, that had its headquarters in the old wooden building which stood on the northeast corner of Sixth and Marshall Streets. Poe was a member of this society, contrary to the wishes of Mr. Allan. He had undoubted talent in this direction. The audience usually numbered about forty or fifty. A small admission fee was charged, and this was divided between the actors, who used it as pin money. A singular fact, Dr. Thomas used to say, was that Poe never got a whipping at school. He remembered that the other boys used to come in for a flogging quite frequently, and that he got his share. Mr. Burke believed in the moral power of the birch. He accepted the theory, “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” as a matter of course, and the consequence was that whippings were so frequent that they created no sensation among the scholars who witnessed them (obituary notice of Dr. Creed Thomas, Richmond Dispatch, 24 February 1899; W, 1:27-29).]

[1823] AFTER 1 APRIL. Poe accompanies Robert Craig Stanard home and meets Robert’s mother Jane Stith Craig Stanard (see 28 and 30 APRIL 1824).

[“This lady, on entering the room, took his hand and spoke some gentle and gracious words of welcome, which so penetrated the sensitive heart of the orphan boy as to deprive him of the power of speech, and, for a time, almost of consciousness itself. He returned home in a dream, with but one thought, one hope in life — to hear again the sweet and gracious words that had made the desolate world so beautiful to him, and filled his lonely heart with the oppression of a new joy. This lady afterwards became the confidant of all his boyish sorrows, and her’s was the one redeeming influence that saved and guided him in the earlier days of his turbulent and passionate youth. . . . It was the image of this lady . . . that suggested the stanzas ‘To Helen,’ published among the poems written in his youth” (Whitman, pp. 49-51). On 14 April 1859 Maria Clemm wrote Sarah Helen Whitman: “It is true dear Eddie did love Mrs. Stannard [Stanard] with all the affectionate devotion of a son. When he was unhappy at home, [page 58:] (which was very often the case) he went to her for sympathy, and she always consoled and comforted him, you are mistaken when you say that you believe he saw her but once in her home. He visited there for years [months?]. He only saw her once while she was ill, which grieved him greatly, he was but a boy at that time. Robert has often told me, of his, and Eddie’s visits to her grave, he has pointed to her last resting place to me often, when we would visit the [Shockoe] cemetery. It was a favorite drive of my darling Virginia’s” (Miller [1977], p. 42).]

[1823] 23 APRIL. John Allan writes that “though up and about” his wife Frances is “never clear of complaint.” Allan himself, Ann Valentine, and Poe are well (Phillips, 1:197).

[1823] APRIL, MAY, AND JUNE. John Allan pays shoe bills for himself and Poe (DLC-EA; Phillips, 1:197).

[1823] JULY. A Richmond correspondent reports that “all are well John, Frances, Ann, Edgar” (DLC-EA; Phillips, 1:197).

[1823] 15 SEPTEMBER. John Allan writes Charles Ellis about their financial affairs: “Mr. [William] Galt arrived Sunday, well, much pleased that we have a prospect of escape” (DLC-EA; Phillips, 1:197).

[1823] 1 OCTOBER. Andrew Johnston enters Burke’s school.

I [Johnston] knew him [Poe] before, but not well, there being two, if not three, years difference in our ages. We went to school together all through 1824 and the early part of 1825. Some time in the latter year (I cannot recollect at what time exactly) he left the school . . . Poe was a much more advanced scholar than any of us; but there was no other class for him — that being the highest — and he had nothing to do, or but little, to keep his headship of the class. I dare say he liked it well, for he was fond of desultory reading, and even then wrote verses. . . . We all recognized and admired his great and varied talents, and were proud of him as the most distinguished school-boy of the town. At that time, Poe was slight in person and figure, but well made, active, sinewy, and graceful. In athletic exercises he was foremost: especially, he was the best, the most daring, and most enduring swimmer that I ever saw in the water. . . . His disposition was amiable, and his manners pleasant and courteous (Didier [1877], pp. 33-34).

[1823] 13 NOVEMBER. Poe witnesses a power of attorney granted to Joseph W. Dickenson by the Ellis & Allan firm (Phillips, 1:196).



~~ 1824 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 59:]

[1824] 23 JANUARY. RICHMOND. John Allan makes an entry in his notebook: “My Uncle [William Galt] said that he was establishing his present business for all our Interests, that I was so hobbled [by creditors] that I could not be Known but that Wm. [Galt, Jr.] should have a third when James [Galt] became a Citizen he should have a third & when I was at Liberty I should have his third but this he did not wish mentioned” (TxU-HRCL).

[1824] 26 JANUARY. William Burke is paid $10 for Poe’s tuition (DLC-EA; Campbell [1912], p. 207).

[1824] FEBRUARY. A bill of $1.50 for “Boy’s” shoes is entered in the Ellis & Allan office books (DLC-EA; Phillips, 1:211).

[Two other bills of $1.50 for a boy’s shoes were recorded in March and May 1824 (Phillips, 1:211).]

[1824] 5 MARCH. John Allan sends Charles Ellis a request: “If you have looked over the papers send them to me by Edgar — I have been looking over Bonds” (DLC-EA; Phillips, 1:211).

[1824] 16 MARCH. In the Ellis & Allan office books John Allan is charged $10 “sent him by Edgar” (DLC-EA; Campbell [1912], p. 208).

[1824] 28 APRIL. Jane Stith Craig Stanard, the mother of Poe’s friend Robert Craig Stanard, dies.

[1824] 30 APRIL. The Richmond Enquirer reports: “DIED — On Wednesday night in this city, Mrs. STANARD, the beloved and lamented lady of Robert Stanard, Esq.”

Mrs. Stanard is buried in the Shockoe Hill Cemetery (Rudd, 1:2; see also Allen, p. 90 n. 154, and Phillips, 1:205).

[1824] JUNE? 1824? Poe swims the James River from Mayo’s Bridge (Ludlam’s Wharf) to Warwick bar, a distance of six miles.

Robert Gamble Cabell recalled: “I was one of several who witnessed this swimming feat. We accompanied Mr. Poe in boats. Messrs. Robert Stannard [Robert Craig Stanard], John Lyle (since dead), Robert Saunders, [page 60:] John Munford, I think, and one or two others, were also of the party. Mr. Poe did not seem at all fatigued, and walked back to Richmond immediately after the feat — which was undertaken for a wager” (Ingram, p. 23).

Robert Mayo, Jr., another participant, recalled that he “started with Poe in his celebrated swim from Richmond to Warwick bar, six miles down James River. . . . the day was oppressively hot.” Mayo “concluded rather than endure the infliction to stop at Tree Hill, three miles from town. Poe, however, braved the sun and kept on, reaching the goal, but emerging from the water with blistered back, neck and face, and bearing the semblance of a boiled lobster” (Richmond Evening Journal, 1874; Baltimore Sun, 8 July 1875; clippings in ViRVal).

[Richard Carey Ambler indicated the feat probably took place in 1825 (Ambler to E. V. Valentine, 14 December 1874, ViRVal). Woodberry (1:26) has “when fifteen years old”; Mabbott (1969, 1:536), “June 1824.” Robert Gamble Cabell (1809-1889), the grandfather of the novelist James Branch Cabell, should not be confused with Robert Henry Cabell, who married Julia Mayo 3 January 1823. Other witnesses to the feat were William Burke and T. G. Clarke. Clarke wrote Valentine in February 1878 (ViRVal). See CA. 10 FEBRUARY and 30 APRIL 1835, 12 FEBRUARY 1840.]

[1824] 14 AUGUST. NEW YORK. Lafayette begins a triumphal tour of the United States.

[1824] 1 SEPTEMBER? RICHMOND. John Allan pays William Burke $30 for Poe’s tuition “for five months from 1st of April [1824] last” (DLC-EA; Campbell [1912], p. 207).

[1824] 24 SEPTEMBER. William Galt, Jr., becomes a partner in the William Galt firm (Herndon, pp. 326-43).

[1824] 8 OCTOBER. BALTIMORE. Lafayette notices the absence of David Poe, Sr.

The next day he [Lafayette] received visitors at the Exchange and dined with the corporation, &c., &c., and in the evening visited the Grand Lodge; after which he attended the splendid ball given in Holliday Street Theatre, which had been fitted up for the occasion. After the introduction of the surviving officers and soldiers of the Revolution who resided in and near Baltimore, to General Lafayette on Friday [8 October], he observed to one of the gentlemen near, “I have not seen among these my friendly and patriotic commissary, Mr. David Poe, who resided in Baltimore when I was here, and of his own very limited means supplied me with five hundred dollars to aid in clothing my troops, and whose wife, with her own hands, cut out five hundred pairs of pantaloons, and superintended the making of them for the use of my men.” The General was informed that Mr. Poe was dead [page 61:] but that his widow [Elizabeth Cairnes Poe] was still living. He expressed an anxious wish to see her (Scharf, p. 415).

[1824] 9 OCTOBER. Elizabeth Cairnes Poe calls on Lafayette.

The good old lady heard the intelligence with tears of joy, and the next day [9 October] visited the General, by whom she was received most affectionately; he spoke in grateful terms of the friendly assistance he had received from her and her husband: “Your husband,” said he, pressing his hand on his breast, “was my friend, and the aid I received from you both was greatly beneficial to me and my troops.” The effect of such an interview as this may be imagined but cannot be described. On the 11th General LaFayette left the city with an escort for Washington (Scharf, p. 415).

[1824] CA. 10 OCTOBER. On visiting the grave of David Poe, Sr., General Lafayette kneels and says: “Ici repose un cœur noble!” (Philadelphia Saturday Museum, 4 March 1843).

[1824] 25 OCTOBER. Henry Poe writes his brother Edgar (Allan to Henry Poe, 1 November 1824).

[1824] 26, 27, AND 28 OCTOBER. RICHMOND. The capital of Virginia welcomes Lafayette. Thomas H. Ellis is impressed by the role played by Poe in the ceremonies honoring the French hero.

[“But never was I prouder of him [Poe] than when, dressed in the uniform of the ‘Junior Morgan Riflemen’ (a volunteer company composed of boys, and which General Lafayette, in his memorable visit to Richmond, selected as his bodyguard), he walked up and down in front of the marquee erected on the Capitol Square, under which the old general held a grand reception in October, 1824” (W, 1:25-26, quoting Ellis).]

[1824] 31 OCTOBER. Lafayette attends a service in the Monumental Episcopal Church (Richmond Enquirer, 5 November 1824; G. D. Fisher, p. 92).

[1824] 1 NOVEMBER. John Allan writes Henry Poe:

I have just seen your letter of the 25th ult. to Edgar and am much afflicted, that he has not written you. He has had little else to do for me he does nothing & seems quite miserable, sulky & ill-tempered to all the Family. How we have acted to produce this is beyond my conception — why I have put up so long with his conduct is little less wonderful. The boy possesses not a Spark of affection for us not a particle of gratitude for all my care and kindness towards him. I have given him a much superior Education than ever I received myself. If Rosalie has to relie on any affection from him God in his mercy preserve her — I fear his associates have led him to adopt a line of thinking & acting very contrary to what he possessed when in England. I feel proudly the difference between your principles [page 62:] & his & have my desire to Stand as I ought to do in your Estimation. Had I done my duty as faithfully to my God as I have to Edgar, then had Death come when he will had no terrors for me, but I must end and this with a devout wish that God may yet bless him & you & that Success may crown all your endeavors & between you your poor Sister Rosalie may not suffer. At least She is half your Sister & God forbid my dear Henry that We should visit upon the living the Errors & frailties of the dead. Beleive [Believe] me Dear Henry we take an affectionate interest in your destinies and our United Prayers will be that the God of Heaven will bless & protect you. rely on him my Brave & excellent Boy who is willing & ready to save to the uttermost. May he keep you in Danger preserve you always is the prayer of your Friend & Servant (DLC-EA).

[1824] 17 NOVEMBER. Poe, a lieutenant, and John Lyle, a captain of the Richmond Junior Volunteers, write the Governor and Council of Virginia, soliciting permission “to retain the arms which they lately were permitted to draw from the Armory” (L, 1:3).

[1824] 20 NOVEMBER. Poe and John Lyle confer with Peter V. Daniel, one of three members of the Virginia State Council, regarding the arms which they have turned over to Dr. John Adams, the Mayor of Richmond (Poe and Lyle to Daniel, 23 November; see also Allen, p. 100).

[1824] 23 NOVEMBER. Poe and John Lyle write Peter V. Daniel, referring to their Saturday meeting with him and soliciting his aid in retaining arms (L, 1:3-4).

[1824] 2 DECEMBER. John Allan pays a tailor’s bill: “Master Edgar Allan, making and trimming Blue Cloth Coat $8.50, Rec. payment, Bradley M. McCrery & Co. [Bradley, McCreery & Co.]” (DLC-EA; Phillips, 1:211. The tailor was Thomas H. Bradley).

[1824] 25 DECEMBER. William Mackenzie, Secretary of the Marine Insurance Company of Richmond notifies the stockholders of his company of a dividend declared by its President and Directors (Richmond Compiler, 25 December).

[1824] 1824. The partnership of Ellis & Allan is dissolved by mutual consent (T. H. Ellis, Richmond Standard, 7 May 1881).

[1824] 1824? Poe reads the part of Cassius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (Mabbott [1969], 1:536).

[1824] 1824? Poe composes “Poetry.” [page 63:]

[An undated sheet of paper placed in the Ellis & Allan files contains financial calculations by a person who estimates that he has $30,000 available for any emergency, and the earliest surviving poem by Poe.

— Poetry. by. Edgar A. Poe —

Last night with many cares & toils oppress’d

Weary, I laid me on a couch to rest —

Both Allen (facing p. 77) and Mabbott (1969, 1:5-6) ascribe the calculations to John Allan and the lines (which are in a different handwriting) to Poe, and date the lines November 1824.]

[1824] 1824? Poe composes the satire “Oh, Tempora! Oh, Mores!”

[Mabbott (1969, 1:8-13) reprinted this satire. Campbell (1933, p. 203) and Stovall (1965, pp. 294-95) do not accept it as Poe’s.)



~~ 1825 ~~

Scroll down, or select month:


[page 63, continued:]

[1825] 5 JANUARY. RICHMOND. John Allan is elected to the Board of Directors of the Richmond branch of the Bank of Virginia, of which his uncle William Galt is already a director (Richmond Compiler, 5 January 1825).

[1825] 11 JANUARY. John Allan records a payment to Bradley & Co. of $8.50 for “Edgar’s clothes” (DLC-EA; Campbell [1912], p. 208. Apparently this ledger entry refers to the 2 December 1824 bill).

[1825] 25 FEBRUARY. William Galt, Jr., writes Mary Fowlds that his fiancee Rosanna Dixon is a niece of Frances Allan “but not exactly like her in temper & disposition” (NcD-G).

[1825] 7 MARCH. CHARLOTTESVILLE. Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia opens its doors.

[1825] 25 MARCH. RICHMOND. William Galt, one of the wealthiest men in the State of Virginia, signs his will. The will is probated 29 March (MS, Deed Book 117-B, p. 99, in the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond, Va., Division I).

. . . I give, devise and bequeath to the said John Allan, my three landed estates, [page 64:] named the “Byrd,” lying and being situate in the Counties of Goochland and Fluvanna, on the Byrd Creek, with the slaves, stocks and property of all kinds belonging thereto. . . . I give and bequeath to Mrs. Allan, the wife of said John, my Carriage and horses. . . . I give and bequeath to Miss Ann M. Valentine two thousand dollars. . . . I give and bequeath to Miss Rosanna Dixon, one thousand dollars. . . . I give my pew in the First Presbyterian Church to the said John Allan, William Galt, Jr., and James Galt.

[1825] 26 MARCH. William Galt dies. John Allan writes an account of Galt’s death (NcD-G).

[1825] 28 MARCH. The Richmond Compiler prints an obituary.

DIED —— In this City, on Saturday morning, WILLIAM GALT Esq. one of the oldest and most respectable Inhabitants. He breathed his last, profoundly impressed with the truths of the Christian Religion, and perfectly resigned to his lot.

The friends and acquaintances of the late WILLIAM GALT, are requested to attend his funeral this morning at 11 o’clock.

[The Richmond Enquirer printed an obituary on 1 April.]

[1825] MARCH. Poe leaves Burke’s school (Woodberry, 1:29. See also 1 OCTOBER 1823).

[1825] AFTER MARCH? Poe attends the school of Dr. and Mrs. Ray Thomas (Didier [1877], p. 34; Ingram List, pp. 159-60).

[The Richmond Compiler for 1 September 1828 ran this advertisement: “Mr. & Mrs. Thomas’s School, will be reopened on MONDAY, 1st September, at the Old Council Chamber, in the rear of Governor’s st.”]

[1825] 2 APRIL. WASHINGTON. William Wirt writes Francis Walker Gilmer: “old Galt is dead and has enriched swivel-legged Allan Sic vos non nobis — I wish the old rascal had cut short my labours by giving me a hundred or two thousand dollars” (Davis, p. 132).

[1825] 5 APRIL. RICHMOND. John Allan and William Galt, Jr., as executors, require notice of all claims against and payments of indebtedness to the estate of William Galt (Enquirer, 5 and 8 April; Compiler, 16 April).

[1825] 28 JUNE. John Allan purchases at auction from Peter Joseph Chevallié, executor of the Joseph Gallego estate, and Mary Richard, executrix of the John Richard estate, three lots, including “Moldavia,” a substantial brick house with a portico on the southeast corner of Main and Fifth Streets, for [page 65:] $14,950 (Deed Book 24, page 96, Circuit Court, Division I, Richmond, Va. See also Scott [1941], pp. 46-49; Woodberry, 1:30-31, 2:362-64).

[1825] AFTER 28 JUNE. Poe falls in love with Sarah Elmira Royster, then about fifteen years of age.

[She was the daughter of the James Roysters, neighbors of the Allans. Later, as Mrs. Shelton, she recalled: “He [Edgar] was a beautiful boy — Not very talkative. When he did talk though he was pleasant but his general manner was sad — He was devoted to the first Mrs Allan and she to him. We lived opposite to Poe on 5th. I made his acquaintance so. Our acquaintance was kept up until he left to go to the University” (Edward V. Valentine, “Conversation with Mrs Shelton at Mr Smith’s Corner 8th and Leigh Streets Nov. 19th 1875,” ViRVal).]

[1825] SUMMER. Henry Poe makes the last of two visits to his brother Edgar. The two boys, with Henry in nautical uniform, and with Ebenezer Burling, Poe’s friend, call at the home of Elmira Royster (Edward V. Valentine, “Conversation with Mrs Shelton at Mr Smith’s Corner 8th and Leigh Streets Nov. 19th 1875,” ViRVal; Whitty, p. xxxi. The date of Henry’s first visit is not known).

[1825] 14 SEPTEMBER. William Galt, Jr., marries Rosanna Dixon, Frances Allan’s niece (NcD-G).

[1825] 7 NOVEMBER. FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY. Jereboam O. Beauchamp, an attorney, fatally stabs Solomon P. Sharp, a politician. Beauchamp acts to avenge the honor of his wife Ann, who has been seduced by Sharp.

[This famous murder case, known as the “Kentucky Tragedy,” provided the plot for Poe’s unfinished and unsuccessful tragedy Politian. See CA. 26 NOVEMBER 1835.]

[1825] 1825? RICHMOND. Poe composes a satire on the Junior Debating Society.

I remember to have heard some verses of his in the shape of a satire, upon some of the members of a debating society to which he belonged. This society held its meetings in a house known as Harris Building, situated at the corner of Main and 11th Streets (if I recollect it aright[)] — I cannot recall a line of these verses (R. C. Ambler to E. V. Valentine, 14 December 1874, ViRVal; see also Mabbott [1969], 1:6-7).

[By September 1828, when it celebrated its fourth anniversary, the Society was called the Richmond Athenaeum.]






[S:1 - TPL, 1987] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - The Poe Log (D. R. Thomas and D. K. Jackson) (Chapter 01)