Edgar Allan Poe was a writer, literacy critic, and poet. Edgar Allan Poe was
the first American author who tried to live off of his writings. He wrote many articles, stories, and reviews. He also worked in a newspaper company called Southern Literary Messenger. He was part of the Romantic Movement and was the first American author to start writing short stories and grotesque mysteries. In 1845, Poe wanted to start publishing his own magazine. Unfortunately, he died before he could do it. Some of the genres that he wrote in were macabre, detective, and science fiction.
Most of Poe’s stories are about being buried alive because while he was serving in the army, he saw people getting buried alive.
Born in 1809 to a family of traveling actors, Poe became one of the world’s greatest authors. In 1811, after both of his parents died of tuberculosis, Edgar Allan Poe began living with John and Frances Allan, who never formally adopted him. Later in Poe’s life, he fell in a pool of debts but John Allan refused to pay for them.
The paternal grandfather of Edgar Poe, David Poe, was of Irish descent. He spent lots of money while aiding the American Revolution. His son, (also David Poe), abandoned his law studies and became an actor. On stage, he met an actress named Elizabeth Arnold. It was love at first sight. They married afterwards.
In 1807, a baby boy named William Henry Poe was born. They went to Boston. There, the second son Edgar Allan Poe was born. David Poe fought with his wife and drank a lot. Their baby girl, Rosalie, was born in 1810.
In 1811, both Elizabeth and David got sick with tuberculosis and died. Mr. and Mrs. Luke Usher, (people who worked in the theatre), took care of Edgar and Rosalie. But on the day after Christmas, a terrible fire destroyed the Richmond Theatre.
Poe’s paternal grandparents raised Henry Poe. A Machenzie family raised Rosalie Poe. The Allans took in Edgar Poe. John and Frances Allan took in Edgar happily but never formally adopted him.
Frances was, like Eliza, always suffering from some illness. Frances was an orphan herself. Since she was living in a childless marriage, she accepted Edgar. Frances was poorly educated, but was a very good housewife and created lots of comfort for the growing Edgar.
John Allan was the son of a seafaring family in Scotland. He traveled to America at age 16 to work for his uncle, William Galt, Virginia’s leading merchant. John Allan worked as a tobacco exporter. John Allan and his family had three slaves.
John Allan was extremely mad at his uncle for not giving him a normal education. He believed that a man, (or woman), has to “stand on his/her own two feet.” Edgar Allan Poe was expected to do the same. Some people say that John Allan might have had an illegitimate child.
John Allan sent Edgar Poe to the best boarding schools and later on to Virginia University.
Edgar had a boyhood friend, Elmira Royster, who was a fifteen-year-old girl when Edgar was seventeen in the Virginia University. Edgar sent her love letters but never received a reply. He later found out that Elmira’s father was against Edgar sending love letters to his daughter and burnt all of the love letters before his daughter could read them. Maybe this unshared love was the reason why Edgar began drinking and gambling, which completely destroyed his relationship with John Allan.
Edgar sent letters to John Allan asking for money. John Allan sent him the least amount of money as possible. Edgar considered that “abusive” and instead of trying to live with what he had, he began gambling, even more, to get more money. Instead, that behavior left him with a greater debt.
In 1825, John Allan’s uncle was breakfasting in their home. At the end of his meal, he slouched in his chair and died. Edgar witnessed it. William Galt was considered one of the richest men in Richmond. He left absolutely everything, estimated to almost one million dollars, to his nephew John Allan but that money did not help Edgar in any way.
On May 26, 1827, Edgar Allan Poe entered the Army under the name Edgar A. Perry. Edgar published a book called, Tamerlane, and other stories. Since he did not want to be asked about his book in the army, he took the pseudonym Edgar A. Perry.
On January 1, 1829, Edgar was named sergeant major for artillery. That was the highest rank that a soldier could reach. Edgar confessed his real name to his commanding officer and told him that he had trouble with his father. Edgar did this because he wanted to leave the army. Edgar served only two years in the army, even though he was supposed to serve five. His commanding officer was a kind man and allowed him to leave the army.
During his time in the army, Edgar sent many letters to John. John never answered. Edgar did not write to Frances the whole time he was in the army. He had no idea that she was dying. John Allan did not answer Edgar until Edgar wrote in one of his letters that he wanted to enroll into West Point, a US Military Academy. John sent a letter to Edgar telling him that Frances was dying. Edgar arrived in Richmond the day before her funeral. John agreed to pay for Edgar’s entry into West Point and even bought Edgar a new set of clothes. On July 1, 1830, Edgar enrolled into West Point. The pay was $28 per month.
In 1830, John Allan proposed to Miss Louisa Patterson. She said that she would accept only if he changed his womanizing behavior. He did. They married. Edgar hated John for that.
After a few years, Edgar wanted to leave West Point. For that, he needed John’s consent. John refused to give his consent. Edgar knew that if he did vandalistic things at West Point, he would get kicked out. He got expelled for drinking, gambling and missing out on classes.
Edgar moved in with his Aunt, (Maria Clemm), and her daughter, (Virginia Clemm). Maria supported the family by working as a dressmaker. Edgar paid her for her help by tutoring his cousin, Virginia. In 1835, Edgar secretly got married to Virginia. He was twenty-six ad she was thirteen, even though their marriage certificate said that she was twenty-one.
In 1834, when John Allan had his third son, he fell ill and died. He left absolutely nothing to Edgar and Edgar was devastated.
In 1847, Virginia Poe fell ill and died of tuberculosis. Edgar did not have enough money to keep his wife warm so he used their cat. The poem Annabel Lee was written for Virginia.
In 1849, Edgar and Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton became engaged. Edgar was on his way to bring Maria Clemm to the wedding when he stopped in Baltimore. He was found half-dead, half-alive on the streets on October 3.
Edgar Allan Poe died on October 7, 1849. His death is as interesting as his own make belief mysteries.
Edgar died of unknown causes. Some of the theories are: suicide, cholera, rabies, syphilis, influenza, cooping, hypoglycemia, overdose of laudanum, tranquilizer and painkiller. Some people believe that it might have even been murder. Joseph W. Walker found him and said that he found Poe “in great distress and in need of immediate assistance”. Edgar died in Washington College Hospital at 5 a.m. on Sunday.
Since Edgar had no visitors, the new about last few days of his life came from his attending physician, Dr. John Joseph Moran, even though the man was considered untrustworthy. Moran claimed to have contacted Maria Clemm as soon as Poe died. What really happened was that Moran told Maria Clemm when she began demanding an answer on where Edgar was.
Edgar Allan Poe was buried on Monday, October 8, 1849. The funeral lasted three long, grave minutes. Poe’s coffin had no handles. On October 10, 2009, Poe got a “second chance” funeral. A bit better. The original burial place of Edgar had no headstone. The headstone that his uncle bought for him had been destroyed. Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote a poem that was read at Poe’s funeral.
“Fate that once denied him,
And envy that once decried him,
And malice that belied him,
Now cenotaph his fame.”
A few years later, Virginia was moved next to his burial place.