166 years ago today, Oct. 7, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore, MD.
Only a few weeks before his death, on September 14th of 1848, he gave the final reading of his poetry in my hometown of Norfolk, VA. Of course I was NOT in attendance owing to the fact that I was yet to be born for another 110 years. ;-)
This event was open to the public(at the price of a .50¢ ticket)and took place in the Lecture Room of the Norfolk Academy.
Mr. Poe's lecture was entitled, "The Poetic Principle" and the reviewer forThe Norfolk Beacon said: “Mr. Poe concluded the lecture by reciting by request his brilliant fantasy ‘The Raven.’ The audience seemed highly gratified by the intellectual repast which had been set before them”.
Just days before the lecture/reading Poe had performed the first reading of his now classic "The Raven" poem on a local resort seaside hotel veranda of the Hygeia Hotel at Old Point Comfort(now Hampton, VA.
Poe had arrived in town a few days early and during a nighttime gathering of locals and resort patrons he had debuted his famous poem.
Edgar Allan Poe sent some time in Norfolk as a child and his parents spent time here as well before his birth.
His mother, Eliza Poe, was a very popular stage actress of that time, traveling up and down the East Coast performing in a troupe called the Charleston Comedians. Six months after her first husband, Charles Hopkins, died in 1805, leaving her a widow at 18 years old, she married David Poe. David had seen her performing in Norfolk, VA, fell in love and pursued her until she wed him in 1806. He abandoned his family's plans for him to study the law and instead joined his new wife's acting troupe. A son William Henry was born 1807, 9 months after their wedding and then Edgar in 1809 in a boarding house near the theater where their troupe was performing. It is said that Eliza performed a mere 10 days before giving birth to him.
David was no longer with the family when a third child, a daughter Rosalie, was born in 1810, while again performing in Norfolk, VA.
In late 1811 while preforming in Richmond, VA Eliza came down with TB and died a couple of months later on Dec. 8, 1811. She was only 24 years old.
The three children were split up after their mother's death with little Edgar(not even 3 years old)going to live with John, a Scottish Richmond area merchant and his wife, Frances Allan. They gave him the middle name of Allan but never legally adopted him.
So let's here it for Edgar Allan Poe today.
Go read one of his works.