Text: Hervey Allen, “Appendix 02,” Israfel: The Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe (1934), pp. 682-684


[page 682:]



THE following miscellaneous items deal with the early Richmond days of Poe's childhood, or the trip of the Allans to England from 1815 to 1820.


Letter from John Allan's niece Mary Fowlds at Kilmarnock, Scotland, to John Allan, Esq., at 47 Southampton Row, London:

Kilmarnock, 11th Nov. 1815


I observed by your letter to Father that you were extremely fond I should have a sweetheart. I think they would only be lumber at present but I don’t intend to be an old maid the more of that but when my education is over then will I make a bold push and see what I can do. I hope Miss Valentine has got a beau to make a husband of by this time as she is in the Capitol. I suppose they will be as the midges in a summers’ evening and when she is served herself I hope she will send down a gross or two as they are a scarce commodity here and she may rely upon the thanks of all the ladies in Kilmarnock. I must finish this love story. Hope Mrs. Allan has got quite well again and able to go about and see all the curiosities as I understand they are great in number. We are often wondering how you are all coming on indeed when we are all met together at night (as you know I am always engaged at school through the day) you generally engross part of our conversation. We dined and spent the evening at Mrs. Fowlds (grandmother) on Halloween and according to the custom of Scotland we burnt our nuts and pulled our stocks. I was just making the observation had you been here you would have enjoyed (it) highly. We are all pretty well at present. My mother was engaged in making puddings yesterday and while she was filling the skins she was just saying how happy she would be if you would all come in on her and assist in eating them. I have no news to give you — the people here are just as you left them. All the family join me in love to you, Mrs. Allan, Miss Valentine and little Edgar (Poe). I am my Dear Uncle your affectionate niece. I shall be hoping to hear from you soon.


The above letter fixes the address of the Allans at 47 Southampton Row, London, as early as November, 1815, and the fact that young Poe was then in London. From Galt-Allan correspondence, courtesy of E. V. Valentine, Esq.


(a) Allan Fowlds addresses a letter to John Allan “at 47 Southampton Row, Near Russell Square, London,” from Kilmarnock, Scotland, May 27,1817.

(b) Mary Allan writes to her brother, John Allan, from Troon, Scotland, August 22, 1817, addressing him at “18 Basing Hall, London.”

(c) Unpublished portion of a letter quoted in the text, Jane Galt to Mary Allan:

Damlish, Oct. 24,1818


Mrs. Allan intended to have wrote herself to day but is very Weak. — ? and is afraid she will feel too much fatigued to write. We leave this on Monday for [page 683:] Sidmouth where Mrs. Elwell proposes staying two days we will let you know from there what day we shall have the pleasure of seeing you in Southhampton Row. Mrs. Allan seems to dread very much the returning to London as she will enter it about the first of November (See text, Chapter V, note 127).

(d) In a letter to John Allan at Richmond, Virginia, Mary Allan writes from Kilmarnock, March 24, 1815.

... by your letter to Mrs. Fowlds I am sorry to read that Mrs. Allan had been so indisposed. I hope by this time she is quite well and that her face will not be injured by the fracture. ...

This accident to Mrs. Allan seems to have delayed the trip of the family to England for some months.


Notices in Old Richmond Newspapers of Mrs. David Poe (Supplied by E. V. Valentine, Esq.).

(a) First mention of David and Mrs. Poe as a married couple, in Richmond papers — July, 1806.

(b) Last notice of Mrs. Poe's Richmond benefit. Patriot, November 29, 1811. (Last appearance was Tuesday October 8.) (Mrs. Poe died Sunday, December 8, 1811.) Death notice in Richmond Enquirer for December 10, 1811, “By the death of this ... ” etc. The Richmond Patriot for December 10, 1811, contained a notice of her funeral at ten o’clock.

(c) In 1804, Mr. and Mrs. C. D. Hopkins appeared with David Poe in plays given in Richmond, in an old carriage shop used as a temporary theater, situated just behind what was later the Allan residence at Fifth and Main. (Hopkins — Mrs. Poe's first husband.)


(d) Mrs. Poe (as Mrs. Hopkins) acted with Matthew Sully, brother of the artist, Thomas Sully, in 1803 in Norfolk. The Sullys had just then come over from England. Robert Sully, Poe's friend, was a son of the actor Matthew Sully.


(e) The name of Usher, as early friends of the Poes, occurs frequently in old play bills. These Ushers appear later to have settled in Baltimore, and to have known the Poes there. In the Baltimore North American for Saturday, October 27, 1827, occurs this notice:

Died ... On Friday evening, the nth inst. Elizabeth Usher, daughter of the late Thomas Usher, sen, of the county of Antrim, Ireland, and formerly a merchant of this city.


Data concerning Poe's Poster-Mother, Frances Allan

Mrs. Allan (Frances Keeling Valentine) and her sister, Anne Moore Valentine, were early left orphans. At eleven and twelve years of age, respectively, [page 684:] they appeared in Hustings Court, on January 12, 1795, and voluntarily took John Dixon (a Richmond printer, who seems earlier to have had affiliations in Williamsburg on the Government Gazette) as guardian. The two girls were brought up by this printer. Frances Valentine married John Allan in 1803. Young Poe was much about the house of John Dixon during boyhood days. Poe's early experience brought him much into contact with printing and bookselling. Ebenezer Burling's father, Thomas Burling, was also a printer. A Richmond correspondent says that John Dixon sheltered Poe from some of the “coarse influences” he was early subjected to.


Miscellaneous Legal Notices, etc.

(a) Richmond Compiler, April 24,1832 — sale of John Allan's property on deed of trust, corner of Main and Fifth Streets, Clay Street house, advertised. See Book Number 7, page 580. Ellis & Allan.

(b) John Allan elected Secretary of Amiable Society Club, — Richmond Whig, November 27,1830.

(c) Sale of property of Ellis & Allan, advertised in Richmond Compiler for May 13,1822. This was bought in by an advance of $10,000 on a note endorsed by William Galt now in the Ellis & Allan Papers.






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