Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography

By Arthur Hobson Quinn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
The Recoil of Fate

It was on the cold raw afternoon of October 9, 1849, that the little funeral brought to the Presbyterian Cemetery at Fayette and Green Streets, where now stands the Westminster Church, the body of Edgar Poe. Of the four men who paid him this last tribute, Neilson Poe and Henry Herring were relatives by blood or inter-marriage, Dr. Snodgrass had been his friend and fellow craftsman and Z. Collins Lee showed by his presence the strength of the boyhood ties made at the University of Virginia. The Reverend W. T. D. Clemm, of the Caroline Street Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore, read the funeral service.

Poe was laid in a grave near his grandfather, to lie there until 1875 when his coffin was removed to the southeastern corner of the cemetery. There his monument now stands, and beneath it Virginia and Mrs. Clemm are once more united to him.

On the day of Poe's funeral, Mrs. Clemm, frantic with anxiety, wrote to Neilson Poe for news. She had evidently read a notice of Edgar's death. Neilson Poe replied at once:

October 11, 1849.

My dear Madam:

I would to God I could console you with the information that your dear Son, Edgar A. Poe is still among the living. The news­papers, in announcing his death, have only told a truth, which we may weep over & deplore, but cannot change. He died on Sunday morning, about 5 o'clock, at the Washington Medical College, where he had been since the Wednesday preceding. At what time he arrived in this city, where he spent the time he was here, or under what circumstances, I have been unable to ascertain. It appears that, on Wednesday, he was seen & recognised at one of the places of election in old town, and that his condition was such as to render it necessary to send him to the college, where he was tenderly nursed until the time of his death. As soon as I heard that he was at the college, I went over, but his physicians

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