Text: Edgar Allan Poe to John Pendleton Kennedy — January 22, 1836 (LTR-054)


Richmond — Jany 22. 1836.

Dear Sir,

Although I have never yet acknowledged the receipt of your kind letter of advice some months ago, it was not without great influence upon me. I have, since then, fought the enemy manfully, and am now, in every respect, comfortable and happy. I know you will be pleased to hear this. My health is better than for years past, my mind is fully occupied, my pecuniary difficulties have vanished, I have a fair prospect of future success — in a word all is right. I shall never forget to whom all this happiness is in great degree to be attributed. I know that without your timely aid I should have sunk under my trials.

Mr White is very liberal, and besides my salary of 520$ pays me liberally for extra work, so that I receive nearly $800. Next year, that is at the commencement of the second volume, I am to get $1000. Besides this I receive, from publishers, nearly all new publications. My friends in Richmond have received me with open arms, and my reputation is extending — especially in the South. Contrast all this with those circumstances of absolute despair in which you found me, and you will see how great reason I have to be grateful to God — and to yourself.

Some matters in relation to the death of Mrs Catherine Clemm, who resided at Mount Prospect, four miles from Baltimore, render it necessary for me to apply to an attorney, and I have thought it probable you would be kind enough to advise me.

Mrs Catherine Clemm was the widow of William Clemm Sr (the owner of Clemm's lot). At his death, one third of Clemm's lot passed to his widow — to be divided at her death among the heirs of Mr C. She is now dead. The heirs are Mr C's surviving children, and the children of his deceased children. He had in all 5 children — William, John, James, Eliza, and Joseph. Of these Eliza and Joseph are living — and inherit each 1/5 of the 1/3. Another 1/5 will be divided among the children of John, another 1/5 among the children of James, and the remaining 1/5 among the children of William. It is in relation to this last 1/5 I desire to call your attention. Mrs Clemm, the widow of William Clemm Jr is now residing under my protection in Richmond. She has two children who have an interest in this 1/5 — one of them, Virginia, is living with her here — the other, Henry, is absent (at sea). William Clemm Jr had seven children in all — the 1/5 is to be divided among the seven. 5 of the children are in Baltimore (being Mr C's children by a former wife) the other two Henry & Virginia I have already spoken of. They are the children of Mr C by a second wife & share equally with the rest. Each (Henry & Virginia) then, <are> is entitled to 1/7 of 1/5 of 1/3 = 1/105 of the whole lot. Mrs Catherine Clemm's 1/3 is to be sold immediately and the money divided as stated. Of this 1/3 Henry and Virginia are entitled (each) to 1/7 of 1/5 = 1/35.

Mr James M. McCulloch, who has an office under Barnums, is the attorney for Mr C's children by his first wife, and what I would wish is that you would see justice done to his children by his second. [page  ]

I am entirely ignorant of all law matters, and know not what steps should be taken. Mrs Wm Clemm (now living in Richmond) wishes me (if possible) to be appointed the guardian of her 2 children. Henry is seventeen and Virginia 15. Will you be so good as to write me in reply, and give me advice. There is other property of which (I believe) Henry & Virginia are heirs precisely in the same way as of the lot. Mr McCulloch will give every information.

<A> I should be glad to have your opinion in regard to my Editorial course in the Messenger. How do you like my Critical Notices?

I have understood (from the Preface to your 3d Edition of Horse-Shoe) that you are engaged in another work. If so, can you not send me on a copy in advance of the publication?

Remember me to your family, and believe me with the highest respect and esteem.

Yours very truly
Edgar A. Poe.

John P Kennedy Esqr



This letter is printed here with permission from the Archives of the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.


[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to J. P. Kennedy (LTR054/RCL114)