Text: Mary E. Phillips, “Addendum,” Edgar Allan Poe: The Man (1926), pp. 1611-1618


[page 1611, unnumbered:]



FROM the Reverend Anson Titus, of Somerville, Mass., it comes that the surviving children of Luke Noble and Harriet Ann Usher were erratic neurotics and the last of their family.

Colonel A. H. Pye, of eminent theatrical interests at Quebec, was the 1806 to 1812 quartermaster of that garrison. He was a member of the Poet Laureate's family, connected with the Arnold family by marriage, also in some way with the Ushers. Through Colonel Pye, the Ushers made various theatrical circuits and finally found a home at Lexington, Kentucky.

The Ushers’ second son, James Campbell, was born at Boston, Mass., March 20, 1807, the same year as Henry Poe, the poet's brother. Young Usher was a wanderer, mentally bright and cherished ambitions of entering the Episcopal ministry, but was held in the bondage of blighted nervous equipment, as was also his sister. James Usher was strongly outlined in these and other points by Roderick Usher, Poe's hero of “The Fall of the House of Usher.” And his sister Agnes, in points of personality, seems to be identical with “lady Madeline,” the heroine of this “perfection” of Poe's stories. Colonel Pye stood godfather for Agnes Pye Usher, born at Quebec, May 10, 1809, the same year as was Edgar Poe, at Boston, Mass. She made theatrical appearances at various [page 1613:] places from Lexington, Ky., to Philadelphia. In the latter city, during 1830, she made an unhappy marriage with John Hedden Ward, and about that time an actor-artist made a pen-and-ink portrait sketch of Agnes P. Usher, who died in 1834, at Lexington, Ky, One record dates her mother's death at Louisville, Ky., March,1814. Luke Noble Usher died, November, 1814, at Chambersburg, Penn, Because Poe was in Philadelphia at times during the years 1829, 1830 and 1831, Dr. Titus seems convinced it was there that the poet met James Campbell and Agnes Pye Usher. Also for the reason that it was Poe's way to look up and renew old friendships, there is all but certainty that Roderick Usher and the “lady Madeline,” of “The Fall of the House of Usher,” are, in Poe's usual wavering outlines, his pen-pictures of James Campbell and Agnes Pye Usher. Her pen-and-ink portrait sketch appears in this Poe life story by the kindness of the Reverend Anson Titus.


Reprinted from an article by James H. Whitty entitled “A Newly Discovered Portrait of Edgar Allan Poe,” published in The Literary Digest International Book Review in October, 1923, and used by permission of Mr. Whitty and Editor Clifford Smyth (see page 894). [page 1615:]


See Sections III and IV

WHILE sheets of this book were passing through the press, the J. B. Lippincott Company published twenty-seven letters from Poe to John Allan (on the reverse of some of which were notes by John Allan himself) ; two copies of Allan's letters to Poe; one letter from Sergeant Graves to Poe; and one letter from Mrs. Clemm to John Allan. The introduction and comments were written by Mrs. W. G. Stanard.

The letters from Poe to Allan show for themselves that the series of correspondence is incomplete, and one known letter is unrecorded. The published “Letters” are mainly about financial aid asked by Poe, and the London Times Literary Supplement for Dec. 3, 1925, in a review, considered the claims made for the volume as “absurdly extravagant.” These “Letters” make no material changes in the recorded facts for the period of Poe's life covered from the year 1826 to Oct. 16, 1831. There are some efforts, through mistaken hypotheses, by Mrs. Stanard to fasten down Poe's time spent from March to May, 1827, as at Boston, Mass., but the “Letters” give no direct evidence for the whereabouts of Poe for the many disputed days (about sixty-seven) when he might well have been “absent from this country,” as is stated in a letter written by Poe, July 28, 1829, to Carey, Lea & Carey of Philadelphia, Pa., the full text of which is to be found in this present life of Poe, but entirely ignored by Mrs. Stanard. A letter from [page 1616:] Poe to a companion who was on this ocean trip is now under investigation, and may eventually reveal the real whereabouts of Poe for the dark period in question.

The editor of the “Letters” further states that “Poe came home, presumably on March 2, 1829,” but infers for some purpose that the first Mrs. Allan must have been buried on the previous clay. As is shown elsewhere in the present volume (and further verified by the Shockoe Cemetery records at Richmond, Va), the Richmond Whig published, March 2, 1829, that the funeral of Mrs. Allan would take place that day.

This also corroborates the testimony of contemporary authorities that Poe was present at the Shockoe Cemetery, Richmond, Va., on March 2, 1829. The “Letters,” page 35, print what purports to be an exact copy of an advertisement in the Richmond Enquirer of 1827, giving the amount required to pay a tuition at the University of Virginia as $233. This seems to have been clone to controvert Poe's own statement in his letter to Allan from West Point, dated Jan. 3, 1830 (the year date should have been 1831), in which he placed his expenses at $350. In reality this advertisement shows a total of $373, two important items, one of $100 for clothing and the other $10 for pocket money, being omitted. The further efforts on the same page of the “Letters” to criticize Poe for charging a bill of clothing to Allan is unjust. The photostat copy of this bill from the Library of Congress, which is acknowledged by the editor, shows plainly that the hill was charged to Poe, and is so written on its reverse by Allan himself. [page 1617:]

In Letter 24 (to John Allan), Poe plainly states that his short allowance forced him to leave his “Lawn” room and proper companions, and go to No. 13 West Range — “Rowdy Row” — and associates there, where, by cards, he tried to win enough to meet his college dues. This money shortage from Allan, when he had abundance, seems an intentional, sinister plan for obtained results to make, for public effect, his “gambling” charges against Poe. So far as known no other such records exist.

The late Mrs. Holmes Cummings of Richmond, Va., paid a visit to the present editor at Boston, Mass., several years ago, and at that time she had in her possession an abstract of the letters to Allan from Poe, written by the late G. W. Mayo of Richmond, Va., who was the executor of the second Mrs. Allan's will, afterwards disputed in court. \‘o mention of these letters, however, is found in his report to the final court. The unrecorded letter may have been sold separately by Mr. Mayo, or for some reason destroyed. (It was much after. the order of the West Point, Jan. 3, 1830, letter written by Poe to Allan.) It showed a dispute over an amount of money sent to Poe by Allan for a schoolbook which Poe had diverted to his use for living expenses. In the letter Poe among other things severely arraigned Allan for his relations with women, and upbraided him for humiliating him by sending him to a school in Richmond where he had to be in attendance, in the same class, with one of Allan's natural sons. This matter presumably had reference to a boy whose tuition Allan neglected to pay, and a letter touching the case in the Library of [page 1618:] Congress was only used in part by the editor of the “Letters.”

The second Mrs. Allan is reported to have shown, and used, the published Poe letters in her lifetime to the detriment of Poe. Her derogatory statements concerning Poe published in two Richmond, Va., newspapers, and the charge of forgery against Poe printed in the Virginia edition of his works, emanating from the same source, did Poe's memory the gravest injustice. The correction, the “Letters” now demonstrate, surely comes none too soon.


The Baltimore, Md., North American or Weekly Journal of Politics, Science and Literature, Volume I, May to September, 1827, contains poems, a short story, and other matters over the signature “W. H. P.“(oe). He was E. A. Poe's brother, and the poems “The happiest day — the happiest hour” and “Dreams,” appearing in E. A. Poe's 1827 volume, are printed herein. The former has only four stanzas, one of which is new:

The smile of love — soft friendship's charms —

Bright hope itself has fled at last,

’T will ne‘er again my bosom warm —

’T is ever past.

These E. A. Poe poems are likely early drafts obtained by W. H. Poe from his brother. Attention to these matters was first published by Dr. T. O. Mabbott. It was the habit of Rosalie Poe, the sister, to copy E. A. Poe's poems, sometimes over her own name. She also wrote poetry of her own, and Mr. J. H. Whitty has in his Poeana collection fac-similes of her verses, written about the year 1827.






[S:0 - EAPTM, 1926] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - E. A. Poe: The Man (M. E. Phillips) (Addendum)