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Neilson Poe

(Born: October 11, 1809 - Died: January 3, 1884)

Cousin of Edgar Allan Poe. At one time, Edgar referred to him as the bitterest enemy he had in the world. The reasoning behind this charge is unknown. It may be simply that Neilson did not provide the kind of assistance one might have expected from a close family relative. Neilson abandoned his literary hopes near the end of 1839 and began a law career. He was appointed a Chief Judge of the Orphans' Court in 1878. Neilson was married to Virginia's half-sister, Josephine Emily Clemm, on November 30, 1831.

"Mr. N. Poe, at that time, 1860, intended writing a Memoir of his cousin, made some collection of facts, but never wrote anything. He belongs, so his friends say, to the class of dilatory men, who plan and never do. . . . He talks very freely about his cousin. I have not found him reticient; but I do not think the Poes fully appreciate the genius of Edgar" (Miller, Building Poe Biography, p. 52).

Neilson Poe


  • Heartman, Charles F. and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, MS: The Book Farm, 1943.
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vols 2-3 Tales and Sketches), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1978. (Second printing 1979)
  • Miller, John C., Building Poe Biography, p. 52.
  • Thomas, Dwight and David K. Jackson, The Poe Log: A Documentary Life of Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849, Boston: G. K. Hall & Sons, 1987.

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