Anonymous, “Lying by Poe’s Side,” Baltimore American (Baltimore, MD), vol. CLXVIII, whole no. 27,835, January 20, 1885, p. 4, top of col. 4


[page 4, column 4:]





The Wife’s Body Placed by That of Her Husband in the Old Westminster Churchyard — A Very Simple Ceremony — Poe’s Growing Fame.


Yesterday, the seventy-sixth anniversary of the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe, was made the occasion for carrying out a wish long entertained by the members of his family of burying by his side the remains of his wife, Mrs. Virginia Clemm Poe, who died at Fordham, N. Y., in 1848 [[1847]]. Her remains were brought on to Baltimore on Sunday, by Mr. W. Fearing Gill, the author of a justly-celebrated life and vindication of the poet, and the Hon. Luther R. Marsh, president of the Park Commission of New York city, who delivered the oration on Shakspeare at the Poe memorial in New York some time since. Among those present yesterday were these gentlemen, together with Professor Andrew S. Kerr, of the Western Female High School; Miss Sara S. Rice, who projected, and was conspicuously identified with the Poe monument erected here in 1875; John P. Poe, who superintended the reinterment, and Rev. J. S. B. Hodges, rector of St. Paul’s P. E. Church. The services were exceedingly simple. When the remains had been lowered in the grave, at the old Westminster Presbyterian Church graveyard, Dr. Hodges gave utterance to the following prayer:

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. We recommit the mortal remains of our departed sister to the ground — ‘Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust’ — looking for the general resurrection on the last day, and the hope of the world to come, through our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen. ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they rest from their labors.’ Grant, we beseech Thee, Merciful Lord, to thy faithful people, pardon and peace; that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve Thee with a quiet mind, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.” Then followed the Lord’s prayer, concluding with — “The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make His face to shine upon us and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up His countenance upon us and give us peace through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

The remains were interred on the south side of the Poe monument.

It is a notable circumstance that Mr. Dennis Valentine, who buried Mrs. Poe in the Dutch Presbyterian Churchyard in Fordham in 1848 [[1847]], personally gave her remains to Mr. Gill to be brought to Baltimore, and that Mrs. [[Mr.]] George W. Spence, who buried Edgar Allan Poe in 1849, and officiated on the occasion of his reinterment under the monument in November, 1875, also buried the remains of Mrs. Poe by the side of her husband after a lapse of thirty-six years.

It may be noted as evidence of the growing fame of Poe that during the year two new editions of his complete works have appeared — one in London and one in New York — and that in the spring there will be placed in the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York as a tribute from the dramatic profession to the poet, whose parents were connected with the stage, a mural tablet representing Fame crowning a bust of Poe with laurel.

Mrs. Poe, his wife, was a Richmond lady, and was a cousin of her husband.



Andrew Scott Kerr (1840-1900) was the principal of the Western Female High School, 1880-1900.

Sara Sigourney Rice (1831-1909) was an elocutionist and a teacher at the Western Female High School. She headed the effort to plan, finance and erect Poe’s memorial grave, dedicated in November 1875.

John Prentice Poe (1836-1909) was the son of Poe’s cousin, Neilson Poe. He would serve at the Attorney General of the State of Maryland 1891-1895.

Rev. John Sebastian Bach Hodges (1830-1915) was the rector of St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church, 1870-1905. He was born in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England, emigrated to New York in 1845. He attended Columbia College, obtaining an A. B. in 1850 and an M. A. In 1853. He was ordained as a minister in 1854. After serving in churches in Pittsburgh, PA; Chicago, IL; and Newark, NJ; he relocated to Baltimore, where he remained until his death. He was well known as an organist, and for establishing a particularly fine choir of men and boys at St. Paul’s. He was designated as rector emeritus on November 7, 1905, and retired to a house in Avalon, MD, just south west of the city. At the time of his death, it was noted that he was in good health, had just played a game of chess and was looking forward to watching a game of lacrosse at the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University that afternoon. He was himself the composer of more than 100 hymns and anthems. In 1868, he compiled the Episcopal Common Book of Praise, and served on the Episcopal Hymnal Commission in 1874. He is buried in Allegheny Cemetery, in Pittsburgh.

Virginia Clemm Poe (1822-1847) was born in Baltimore, MD, not Richmond, VA. When she died in 1847, she and Poe were living in a cottage in Fordham, NY. She was interred in the Valentine family vault of the Old Dutch Reformed Church, whose grounds were carved out of the farmland donated by Dennis Valentine, Sr. about 1801, near Kingsbridge Road. The Dennis Valentine mentioned in the article appears to have been his son.

Luther Rawson Marsh (1813-1902) was a practicing lawyer, and briefly a law partner of Daniel Webster. He became president of the New York Park Association beginning in 1882. He was a devoted spiritualist, and lost a great deal of money to confidence artists who practiced their trade in a that field.

William Fearing Gill (1844-1917) was an early biographer of Poe. In 1889, he purchased the Fordham cottage where Poe and Virginia had lived.


[S:0 - BA, 1885] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - A Poe Bookshelf - Lying by Poe's Side (Anonymous, 1885)