Last Update: Feb. 8, 1998         Navigation:   Main Menu     Poe Info. Menu     Poe's Foster-family

Frances Keeling Valentine Allan

(Born: 1785 - Died: February 28, 1829)

She married John Allan on February 5, 1803 (Quinn, p. 53). (Mary Phillips gives the date of marriage as February 9, 1803, presumably confusing the announcement of the marriage in The Virginia Gazette and General Advertiser of that date.) The marriage produced no children. She and John Allan took the orphaned Edgar Poe into their home sometime in December of 1811. Although they never officially adopted Poe, he clearly thought of her as a mother and called her "Ma." After her death, Poe wrote to John Allan: "If she [Frances Allan]" had not have died while I was away there would have been nothing for me to regret . . . she I believed loved me as her own child" (Poe to John Allan, January 3, 1831, Ostrom, Letters, p. 41). In 1875, Mrs. Shelton noted that "He [Poe] was devoted to the first Mrs. Allan and she to him" (The Poe Log, p. 65).

This picture is taken from an oil painting by Thomas Sully. The original is now in the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia. She is buried in Shockoe Hill Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

~~~ End of Text ~~~