Text: Susan Archer Weiss, “Appendix,” Home Life of Poe (1907), pp. 227-229


[page 227:]


NO. 1.

Lest the reader should be under the impression that much of what I relate concerning Poe’s childhood and certain circumstances connected with his early youth is taken from Gill’s Life of Poe, I will make an explanation.

At the time when the first edition of Gill’s work was issued I was engaged in writing what I intended to be a little book concerning Poe, compiled from my own personal knowledge of him and what I had been told by others. In some way Gill heard of this, and wrote to me, coolly requesting to be allowed to see my manuscript, which I, of course, excused myself from doing. Again and again he wrote, saying that he “merely wished to see exactly what I had written.” In self-defence, I finally sent him the first part or chapter of the manuscript, he promising to return it as soon as read. After some weeks it was returned to me, without a word accompanying; and at [page 229:] the same time a second edition of Gill’s “Life” was issued — the first having been suppressed — in which, to my surprise, I found copious extracts from my manuscript. All those little anecdotes of Poe’s childhood were thus appropriated, with more important matter — such as Poe’s dissipation when in Richmond and his enlisting in the army, both of which Gill had in his first edition positively denied; and this he made use of as though it had been his own original material. My book was, of course, ruined, and all that I could do was, some years after, to write “The Last Days of Poe,” published in Scribner’s Magazine, though even from this Gill made “Notes” for the Appendix of his second or third edition.

Some of the material thus appropriated by Gill I have reclaimed and inserted in this work. A comparison between the first and second edition of Gill’s “Life of Poe” affords a curious study, since in the second he has carefully corrected the misstatements of the former from my manuscript.

My friend, Gen. Roger A. Pryor, late Judge of the Supreme Court of New York, brought suit against Gill in this matter, but met with so much trouble and annoyance by reason of the latter’s persistence in evading it, that it [page 229:] was finally, at my own earnest request, abandoned.

Mr. Gill, I am informed, is still living.


NOTE. 2.

A strange fate was that of the poet’s family, all of whom were indebted to charity for a last resting place.

His father, David Poe, died in Norfolk in the summer of 1811. His grave is unknown.

His mother was buried by charity in Richmond, December 9, 1811.

His wife was indebted for a grave near Fordham, in New York, to charitable contributions of friends.

His sister, Rosalie Mackenzie Poe, died July 14, 1874, and was given a pauper’s grave in the cemetery of the Epiphany Church Home, in Washington.

Mrs. Clemm, his mother-in-law, died an inmate of the Church Home Infirmary, Baltimore, and was buried by the charity of friends in Westminster churchyard of that city in 1871.

Poe himself, whose last days were passed in a charitable institute, was indebted to relatives for a grave.

Truly a record unparalleled in the annals of Literary History.






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