Krystie’s Kuriosities: Edgar Allan Poe

Krystie Morrison

“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.” -Edgar Allan Poe

Among the poets and writers of the world, one stands out with his macabre style and that is the mysterious Edgar Allan Poe. Born to Elizabeth and David Poe of Boston, Massachusetts in 1809, Poe lived a happy life. However, his happiness was cut short when his mother passed away in 1811 when Poe was just two years old. After his mother’s passing, he was placed in the home of a merchant and his childless wife in Richmond, Virginia.

In 1826, Poe was attending the University of Virginia, but his constant gambling worried his guardian and he pulled Edgar from the university. Upon returning to Richmond, he found that the love of his life was engaged to another man. This made Edgar very distraught but would lead to his leaving Virginia and going back to Boston to try his hand at being published.

Before becoming a successful poet, Edgar served as a soldier in the Army. Eventually, Poe entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. His time at West Point did not last long as he was continuously absent from all drills and classes for about a week. Poe was expelled from West Point and headed to New York City where he acquired multiple works of literature from different poets such as John Keats, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Poe returned to Baltimore where he began to start writing his short stories in the 1830s. In 1833, his short story, “MS. Found in a Bottle” won a $50 prize from a weekly newspaper. This small win had encouraged the poet to create more works that people would come to know and love. In 1835, he returned home to Richmond and soon became the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger. There he found happiness with the paper and also married his young cousin.

Sadly, in 1849, Poe succumbed to his demons and passed away at the age of 40. No one knows if his death came from heart failure, drinking, or another factor. Poe was buried in an unmarked grave outside of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. His funeral was attended by a small group of seven people. 

It wasn’t until 1874 that he had a proper gravestone to mark his burial place, but the stone listed the wrong date of his birth. The memorial stone was too big to be placed at his original grave and because of this Poe and the tombstone were relocated to another area of the churchyard. This site has become a popular tourist destination with thousands of visitors each year.

“Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best have gone to their eternal rest.” -Edgar Allan Poe, “The City in The Sea”

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