WAS EDGAR ALLAN POE MURDERED?

It is October, the anniversary month of Edgar Allan Poe’s mysterious end.

Re-reading international best-selling author Albert Jack’s piece on Poe’s death got us thinking again: the crucial facts of Poe’s demise are so far just that, a collection of random facts, and much of these facts come from unreliable witnesses.  In terms of public awareness, an understanding of Poe’s death is exactly where it was the day after Poe’s death in 1849.  There’s a laundry list of theories, but all are mere guesses.  Nothing in the case has “come together” with any specificity or causal certainty.

Poe scholar John Walsh (Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death Of Edgar Poe, 1998) did the world a great service by demolishing the “cooping theory” and putting Poe’s contemporary, author Elizabeth Oakes Smith’s, published claim that Poe was physically assaulted, back on the table.  Unfortunately Oakes Smith didn’t tell us enough, and Walsh’s own theory that Poe was murdered by Poe’s fiance Elmira Shelton’s brothers requires too much “filling-in,” relying on too many things that might have happened.

To see Poe’s death as foul play, we need to do two things: first, separate what might have happened from what actually did happen. Secondly—and Poe’s own fictional detective, Dupin, provided his readers with this advice: seek out elements joined by a cause, by what cannot be mere coincidence or accident. In other words, we add coincidence to coincidence until it can no longer be a coincidence.  Applying these two principles to the widest possible field of factual evidence of Poe’s recorded, social existence, we find the following:

Dr. Joseph Snodgrass.  He is crucial for the following reasons:

1. Location, location, location.

Poe was found near-death, at an unplanned stop in Baltimore, on a 240 mile journey from Richmond to Philadelphia.  Poe’s 240 mile journey ended—for a reason no one has ever ascertaineda couple of blocks from Snodgrass’ home.   For this single fact alone, Snodgrass should be a “person of interest.”   This is the first coincidence.

2. Joseph Walker and the Sun

Poe left Richmond on September 27 and his whereabouts are unknown until October 3.  We know that a man named Joseph Walker found Poe, because on October 3rd, Walker wrote a note to Dr. Joseph Snodgrass: 

There is a gentleman, rather the worse for wear, at Ryan’s Fourth Ward Polls, who goes under the cognomen of Edgar A. Poe, and who appears in great distress, & he says he is acquainted with you, and I assure you, he is in need of immediate assistance. Yours, in haste, Jos. W. Walker.

Walker, like Snodgrass, worked for the Baltimore Sun.

For seven days, upon leaving Richmond, Poe is off the radar, until two employees of the Baltimore Sun (Snodgrass the writer, Walker, a typesetter) discover him, the world-renowned author, in a life-threatening condition on October 3, and here is the only thing the Sun has to say about the whole matter, on October 7:

We regret to learn that Edgar A. Poe, Esq., the distinguished American poet, scholar and critic, died in this city yesterday morning, after an illness of four or five days. This announcement, coming so sudden and unexpected, will cause poignant regret among all who admire genius, and have sympathy for the frailties too often attending it.

3. Snodgrass and the “Bestial Intoxicatin” alteration

Joseph Walker, the Baltimore Sun mechancial who wrote the note to Dr. Snodgrass, disappears and is never heard from again. Of that crucial window on October 3rd—when Poe turns up, “rather the worse for wear”— Snodgrass’s published remembrance is all we have to go on.  In one of his published reflections, Snodgrass informed his reading public that Walker’s note did not say “worse for wear,” but instead, according to Snodgrass,”bestial intoxication.” Snodgrass, a Temperance Man, changed the note in public view in order to libel Poe in a manner commonly used by Poe’s enemies.

4. The sole witnesses are…

There are no other witnesses to Poe’s discovery on October 3, even though Ryan’s, a tavern and polling place on that election day on October 3, was crowded.  According to Snodgrass, when he arrives at Ryan’s on the afternoon of October 3, Henry Herring, a uncle-by-marriage of Poe’s, is there.  Herring, who doesn’t like Poe, refuses to take him into his home.

Snodgrass and Herring give Poe to the care of a lunatic physician at a decrepit hospital—Dr. Moran later publishes unreliable and melodramatic reports of Poe’s death.

No other witnesses recognized Poe; except for the bedside ravings of Moran, it is only Snodgrass himself, armed with Walker’s (convenient?) note, who informs the public of Poe’s demise.  Only the testimony of Dr. Snodgrass (and the typsetter Walker’s note) places Poe at Ryan’s Tavern at all.

5. As Poe dies at the hands of a “friend” and Baltimore Sun journalist, the whole world is kept in the dark

From October 3rd to the 7th, when Poe’s death is briefly announced in the Sun, no other members of Poe’s family, nor any of his friends, are told anything—except for Neilson Poe, Poe’s cousin.

6. Hasty burial without an autopsy overseen by…

Neilson Poe and Joseph Snodgrass oversee Poe’s hasty burial—without an autopsy.

7. And the final coincidence…

Several years prior to Poe’s death, there is a window of many months in which Poe and Snodgrass corresponded, and in that correspondance Poe confesses to Snodgrass how much he hates his cousin, Neilson Poe.

In summary: No autopsy, hasty burial, and “found” by Baltimore Sun libeler 2 blocks from detour on a 240 mile journey, who was sole witness to the “finding,” and teamed with hated family members to keep everything as murky as possible.

Coincidence?

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76 Comments

  1. thomasbrady said,

    October 28, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    The Poe scholar John Walsh studied the Baltimore papers during this day…there were no ‘cooping’ reports. He also tracked down the guy who first put out the theory…an editor from Richmond who did not like Poe…fake theories like the ‘cooping’ theories were put out there as distractions…Poe’s case (ironically) waits for a real detective…

  2. Anonymous said,

    October 30, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I am sorry, I seemed to be confused of the author. Is there a way to find out who wrote this article and their credentials?

    • thomasbrady said,

      October 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      Dear anonymous,

      I wrote the article.

      What sort of credentials are you looking for?

      Thanks,

      Thomas Graves, a.k.a. Thomas Brady

      • Anonymous said,

        October 31, 2013 at 1:09 am

        Thank you for the speedy reply! I enjoyed your work very much. I am doing some research into the events of Poe’s death and came across your article. I would like to include it in my sources but I know my professor will ask me the credentials of the author. I was just curious of the level of education you have accomplished and possibly where. If you are willing to provide this it would help me please my professor and allow the inclusion of your work in my research.
        Thank You,
        Stephen Smith

        • thomasbrady said,

          October 31, 2013 at 2:47 am

          Stephen,

          I have a Masters in English, have lectured and taught college. It’s safe to say no one knows more about Poe than I do.

          Tom

  3. Anonymous said,

    October 31, 2013 at 2:55 am

    That’s great! Thank you for your time and my professor will be happy to hear that I have talked to a Poe master!
    Thanks Again,
    Steve

    • thomasbrady said,

      October 31, 2013 at 2:33 pm

      You are very welcome. Read the Walsh book cited in my article. I don’t always agree with Walsh but he’s a true Poe scholar, and his book is a good starting point. Whole biographies by untrustworthy Poe-haters make the task of knowing Poe very difficult. Griswold, his literary executor, was Poe’s sworn enemy. Poe was friends with Kennedy, Sec of Navy, and General Winfield Scott, who ran for president. Horace Greeley was also major party candidate for US pres. and published Griswold’s obit libel against Poe. Take every second hand fact on Poe with a grain of salt. Trust your own common sense. The truth about Poe is very important. Begin with verifiable facts: Poe’s published works, his own remarkably steady and beautiful handwriting, and slowly work outwards. Beware of hearsay.

    • noochinator said,

      October 31, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      And don’t miss the Poe exhibit at the Morgan Library!

      http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/exhibition.asp?id=82

  4. Bay said,

    December 20, 2013 at 4:44 am

    Hi Tom.
    I also in the process of writing a screenplay about Poe. I respect your prospective on Poe’s unfortunate demise, but what is the motive? Why would they want him killed? I’m a strong believer of Poe’s murder, and I drew form my imagination, your argument is valid but at the same talking lack motive. Thank you.

  5. thomasbrady said,

    December 20, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Bay,

    Good question. Motives were many. Poe destroyed literary reputations with his pen. He was going to start a magazine. He was accused of dallying with men’s literary wives. He was disliked by abolitionists and pro-slavery types alike, because he was moderate on that issue, like Winfield Scott. Poe did not trust Great Britain and France, who were secretly agitating to split the U.S. in a civil war. Those nations’ neutrality during the actual Civil War gave the South hope and made the conflict as bloody as it was. The animosity between Poe and Emerson was based on unspoken politics. Emerson was on the British side—see Emerson’s “English Traits.” Emerson is connected to Margaret Fuller, who was mixed up in the love letters to another man’s wife affair against Poe in 1847 when Poe mingled with friend and foe in New York salon culture. Fuller lived with Horace Greeley—who published Griswold’s “Ludwig” signed Tribune obit. The motive was: Poe was feared and hated by crazy, influential people on several levels—and Greeley and Griswold, if you read about them, were CRAZY. Griswold and Poe were personal friends—Griswold, the most important poetry anthologist of his time, was jealous of Poe’s ability to charm women. Greeley was also the most influential newspaper guy in the world, with his New York Tribune—Greeley ended up running for president against Grant, and Greeley won the state of Maryland, where Poe mysteriously died. Perhaps that’s only a piece of trivia, but the Poe story is full of amazing little bits like that. Greeley was definitely an agitator and a crook, mixed up with Boss Tweed, etc. “Go West Young Man” is what Emerson’s Unitarian Harvard Divinity School pal did, T.S. Eliot’s grandfather, Greenleaf Eliot, who founded Washington University and a Unitarian church in St. Louis. Eliot wrote a hit piece against Poe, as well, in 1949. More revenge. Poe trashed the reputation of an Emerson mentor, the nephew of a prominent Divinity School preacher. (This was before Whitman came along.) A lot of things came together in Baltimore. Poe’s death looked like (and I think this was intentional) a drunken spree. Poe’s enemies loved to bring the ‘drinking charge’ against him, so it makes sense his death had to look like that, in order to crush him. One of the biggest proofs that Poe was murdered is the way he’s seen today in movies, etc. To kill a writer’s reputation is to kill that writer, and the Poe image that has carried forward is due to the malice of those who hated him and wrote against him, his drinking, his poverty, his macabre aspect, which were all nasty little half-truths. The Baltimore Sun was just like the Tribune in the sense that it dismissed Poe’s death (no investigation, no news about how he died) as the ruin of a brilliant but pathetic man. Sun, Tribune had the same take on the death. And others, I’m sure, were more or less silent, because they were too scared to say anything: it was clear to many, I’m sure, that this was some kind of top-down ordered ‘hit.’ It was a…dare I use the word? …conspiracy…the point is that MANY FACTORS came together in the killing of Poe…it was a perfect storm of ‘let’s get this guy.’ You have to remember the kind of guy Poe was: his guardian, John Allan, after his inheritance, was rich, a billionaire in today’s money…and he didn’t give Poe a penny—because Poe hated him for his philandering. Poe took the side of Allan’s wife. Poe was not practical, he was moral. He was a highly moral genius. He tended to make a certain type of person really uncomfortable.

  6. Anonymous said,

    March 14, 2014 at 1:11 am

    could someone please tels me who the sponsor of this site is

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 14, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      The sponsor of this site is THE TRUTH. She wears the same hat every day and lives at Cleveland Terrace.

      • powersjq said,

        March 14, 2014 at 12:27 pm

        Well played, T.

  7. Anonymous said,

    October 21, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    poe is a murderer weather u like it or naw

  8. Anonymous said,

    October 21, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    poe is insane not a muderer

  9. thomasbrady said,

    October 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    a nonny mouse.

  10. McMc said,

    November 2, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I read your post with interest, but you misquoted Dr. Snodgrass’ mischaracterization of Joseph Walker’s note. Snodgrass wrote of “beastly” (not bestial) intoxication.

    You suggest that Snodgrass and Walker worked together at the Baltimore Sun. What source is there for that? Snodgrass edited another publication in Baltimore during the 1840s, but I’ve never seen reference to him later working at the Sun. Snodgrass recalled that Walker once set type for him, but it was at a weekly paper that was already defunct at the time of Poe’s death.

    Also, a hasty burial and lack of autopsy was not unusual in an era before embalming and when the death was not considered suspicious. Conspiracy theories and supposed cover-ups are convenient to the “mystery.” But it’s a much shorter leap of logic to conclude that Poe’s demise was simply not considered suspicious at the time.

  11. thomasbrady said,

    November 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Mcmc,

    Thanks for your input. ‘Beastly’ vs, ‘Bestial’ hardly changes the slander by Snodgrass of Poe; the key fact is that Walker and Snodgrass were associates and that Poe somehow showed up unconscious and hundreds of miles off course miraculously at Snodgrass’s door (practically) so that Walker can conveniently con a note (then altered by Snodgrass to libel Poe—that’s not suspicious????) that has Poe asking for assistance from his “friend,” a clever way to disguise the nature of what was happening and who was doing it. As Poe understood, if you can’t ‘think like the criminal’ you will never catch them.

    Tom

    • McMc said,

      February 20, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      I don’t credit the cooping theory, but John Walsh’s search of contemporary newspapers missed the mark on this point. Baltimore papers did indeed write about cooping in the 1849 election, and they specifically mentioned the 4th Ward where Poe was found.

      • thomasbrady said,

        February 20, 2015 at 11:10 pm

        I haven’t looked at 1849 Baltimore papers myself, but I think the cooping theory a mere distraction.

        Neilson Poe & Snodgrass: the correspondence between Poe and Snodgrass the place to start. Poe was not found in Baltimore by “friends” as biographers have calmly asserted.

        • McMc said,

          February 27, 2015 at 2:23 pm

          I’ve read the several letters from Poe to Snodgrass (whose replies are not preserved.) The letters are cordial and mostly on literary matters. One letter, from 1839, especially disparages Neilson Poe, but it’s hard to imagine how that would give rise to a murder plot a decade later.

          Poe’s letters did not surface publicly until they were published in the New York Herald in 1881 after the death of Snodgrass. There’s no indication that Neilson Poe ever knew of the letters before that time, or that they formed the basis for anything nefarious. I’m curious why you assign them any import as “the place to start.”

          To take just one other point, Poe was not “hundreds of miles” off course when he was found in Baltimore. When he left Richmond on his final journey, he planned to visit Philadelphia en route to New York. In 1849, that meant landing by boat in Baltimore and transferring to the train for Philadelphia. A stop in Baltimore was always part of Poe’s itinerary, so that’s a faulty starting point for any conspiracy theory.

          • thomasbrady said,

            February 27, 2015 at 4:37 pm

            McMc,

            The Philadelphia destination is not a certainty; the odds of Poe, landing, distressed, near Snodgrass’s residency, are miniscule, nonetheless.

            Re: the correspondence: In his own words, Poe was passing on a personal secret to Snodgrass re: his deep animosity to Neilson.

            That Neilson appeared, on the fatal day in question, and, with, Snodgrass, saw to it that Poe died mysteriously and secluded from his friends, is not a minor point, whether the murder plot was “a decade later,” or not. And the publication date of the letters does not change the scenario in the least. Neilson Poe may not have known of the letters, but it seems likely that Snodgrass told Neilson, as the two worked in concert during the end of Poe’s life, indicating they were in league.

            Or, we can just say it was all a marvelous coincidence: Poe’s death agony in proximity to Snodgrass, Neilson’s proximity in time and place to Snodgrass, the letter in which Poe confesses to Snodgrass his loathing of Neilson, the cover-up by the Baltimore Sun, which happens to be Snodgrass’s place of employment, the notice in the Tribune by Griswold/Greeley with the same cold, dismissive tone as we find in the Sun: Poor Poe, the wretch, is dead. What a pity.

          • Diane Roberts Powell said,

            February 27, 2015 at 7:00 pm

            The captain of the boat, that landed in Baltimore, said that he had noticed two men following Poe around. They also followed him as he disembarked, and I believe the captain said he thought Poe was moving strangely. He was worried about him and thought that the men were probably up to no good. That doesn’t mean that the men couldn’t have been hired by someone as part of a larger plot.

            • thomasbrady said,

              February 27, 2015 at 8:32 pm

              Yes. And none of the events surrounding Poe’s death appeared in the leading newspapers: the Tribune chose instead to print a diatribe by Griswold (signed simply, Ludwig) calling Poe a drunk “with few friends”—code, probably, for now that we’ve done him in, “friends” will be of no help.

            • McMc said,

              February 27, 2015 at 9:37 pm

              Sorry to say, but you’re garbling a story told by the notoriously unreliable Dr. Moran many years after the fact. He claimed as his source not the boat captain, but the conductor of the train from Philadelphia to Baltimore. You can safely disregard the tall tales Moran told over the years.

              • Diane Roberts Powell said,

                February 27, 2015 at 9:54 pm

                The story wasn’t from Moran.

              • Diane Roberts Powell said,

                February 27, 2015 at 10:49 pm

                He was Capt. Geoge W. Rollins.

                http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2009/2009_1-9/2009_1-9/2009-2/pdf/54-56_3602.pdf

                • McMc said,

                  February 27, 2015 at 11:25 pm

                  Not to be contrary, but Moran is still the source. He quotes Rollins from a supposed conversation after Poe’s death, but Moran never told this story until his book was published in 1885. Moran did not mention Rollins in his earlier accounts or in his various public lectures. (How he could be silent for so many years on such a sensational point is unknown.)

                  • Diane Roberts Powell said,

                    February 27, 2015 at 11:34 pm

                    Ok, I can see that searching through the archives would be a huge waste of my time. I guess if Rollins left written proof with his relatives, of his testimony, you would argue with its authenticity.

                    • March 1, 2015 at 1:30 am

                      Ignore the McMc troll. I, on the other hand, would love to hear more about Mr. Rollins.

  12. McMc said,

    February 27, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    drp …Source?

    thomasbrady … More flawed supposition, I’m afraid. There is no doubt Poe planned to visit Philadelphia by way of Baltimore. He was engaged to edit the poems of Marguerite St. Leon Loud in advance of publication. His fee would have been $100 for the work of a few days. Needless to say, a very attractive proposition for someone in Poe’s financial circumstance. (One of the last letters he wrote, dated 18 April 1849, was to confirm details of his arrival in Philadelphia.)

    • McMc said,

      February 27, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      Sorry, that should be 18 September 1849. The original letter is held by the Poe Museum in Richmond.

  13. thomasbrady said,

    February 27, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    McMc,

    I’m not sure what your point is.

    Snodgrass altered the Walker note. So he’s unreliable. But unreliability doesn’t mean we ignore, when trying to piece together a mystery. Moran is not the source for what Diane mentioned. Why did you assume so? You seem too sure of what you don’t know. Agree that Moran is not trustworthy. There’s material for further investigation. You seem to want to shut down the investigation.

  14. McMc said,

    February 27, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    No intent to close out the “investigation.”

    Dr. Moran told his story many times over the years, but the specific account about the train conductor and the men supposedly following Poe appeared for the first time in his 1885 book. I was merely inquiring what other source is being cited.

    • Diane Roberts Powell said,

      February 27, 2015 at 10:59 pm

      If this is the same George W. Rollins, he was a black man who served in the Union during the civil war. I’ll have to look into it but I’m certain he existed.

      Dr. Moran did seem to exagerate a bit, but he must have been so sick of simply repeating, “He was not drunk. He did not have DTs. No, he was not drunk.”

      http://www.pa-roots.com/pacw/vrc/16thvrcofficers.html

      • McMc said,

        February 27, 2015 at 11:17 pm

        Moran gave his source as a Capt. George W. Rollins, a train conductor who was supposedly well-known in Baltimore (although I don’t think he’s ever been identified from city directories and other records of the period.)

        See page 60 of Moran’s book:

        http://www.eapoe.org/papers/misc1851/jjm18850.htm

        Written some 35 years after the fact, but I believe it’s the earliest appearance of this specific story about men following Poe when he left the train in Baltimore.

        • Diane Roberts Powell said,

          February 27, 2015 at 11:29 pm

          Ok, but if I find other proof of his existence (i. e. census data and such) are you just going to poo-poo my info and cry for “proof,” as if you never even looked at what was provided? That gets very tiring. You may have an academic stake in this but I certainly don’t. And I would just hate to waste my time with something that you would automatically discount.

          • McMc said,

            February 27, 2015 at 11:57 pm

            I would imagine George W. Rollins is a common name that appears many times in pubic records of the mid-19th century. How to be certain you have the right Rollins?

            A likely candidate would be any George W. Rollins listed as a conductor in a Baltimore (or Philadelphia) census or city directory of the period. That search has been done more than once, and no one has ever come up with anything. I strongly suspect that this a false trail laid down by Dr. Moran, it bears repeating, 35 years after the fact.

            • Diane Roberts Powell said,

              February 28, 2015 at 12:14 am

              How many George W. Rollins would you expect to see in Baltimore? 100…5…1?

              I have heard of the name Rollins, but have never personally met anyone by that name. It’s not as common as Smith, Jones, or Williams. There are different varients of that name, and I believe that the Rollins family first came in the early 1600s to Virginia. I’m not positive, though.

              • McMc said,

                February 28, 2015 at 12:55 am

                Ancestry.com lists 851,721 records for the last name Rollins. But no one by the name of George W. Rollins appears in the Baltimore city directories in the years surrounding Poe’s death. And no one of that name is to be found in the 1850 Census for Baltimore.

                Moran said Rollins was well known in Baltimore, but he has not been identified by any researcher to date. It would be great if you did do. I’m not a naysayer, and I did look at your link. I just didn’t find it persuasive that a black soldier in the Civil War would be one in the same with the “Captain” Rollins who was supposedly a train conductor a number of years earlier in pre-war Baltimore.

                • Diane Roberts Powell said,

                  February 28, 2015 at 1:03 am

                  He may NOT have been the black soldier. Please read the link I sent you describing the Old Bay Line. Steam packets were the mode of transportation between Philly and Baltimore. Also, Rollins is mentioned in that work.

                  Well, maybe we need to search for him in Philly?

                • Diane Roberts Powell said,

                  February 28, 2015 at 3:13 am

                  Wow, you did a real good job searching ancestry. Are you kidding me?

                  1880 Census

                  Rollins, George W.
                  white male
                  69 years old

                  He was born in Maryland as were both of his parents. Now, I have some really important research that I need to get back to, if you don’t mind!

                  • McMc said,

                    February 28, 2015 at 12:39 pm

                    You’re just assembling scraps of information to try to bolster something that might be entirely of Dr. Moran’s invention 35 years after the fact. I’ll say it again: Moran never told the Rollins story until 1885. How was it that he kept such sensational detail to himself for decades?

                    The George W. Rollins you’re referencing is listed as a tailor in the 1880 Census, A tailor. It’s unlikely that he would be the former train conductor (or black soldier, or ship’s captain, as you might have it.)

                    No conductor named George W. Rollins has been located in Baltimore or Philadelphia in 1849 or in the several years before and after Poe’s death. Only the wildly unreliable Dr. Moran places him there, not any historical record. The fact that you found a tailor by that name living in Maryland in 1880 is immaterial.

                    • Diane Roberts Powell said,

                      February 28, 2015 at 4:14 pm

                      Rollins was almost 70 in 1850, which was considered quite old. He was a captain when he was younger and then was a tailor.

            • Diane Roberts Powell said,

              February 28, 2015 at 12:34 am

              He was a Capt., not a conducter. I’m including info including a link to “Steam Packets on the Chesapeake: A History of the Old Bay Line since 1840,” as well as a link to a Baltimore city directory from 1814-1815, which lists a sea Capt. James Rollins. He very well could be his father.

              • McMc said,

                February 28, 2015 at 1:20 am

                Here’s how Moran described Rollins in 1885:

                “… the conductor of the train, Capt. George W. Rollins, well-known in Baltimore.”

                And how he quoted Rollins about the men who supposedly followed Poe off the train:

                “From their appearance I knew they were sharks or men to be feared, and when I got out of the train at Baltimore I saw them following POE down towards the dock.”

                Conductor. Captain. Train. No mention of a boat or a ship’s captain. Moran is the only source for Rollins, and he claims Rollins was a conductor on a train and that Poe was followed after departing a train. How did we get off the train tracks and into harbor? It’s not in Moran’s book or anywhere else

                • Diane Roberts Powell said,

                  February 28, 2015 at 2:53 am

                  In the name of all that is holy, please read the link I sent about steam packets on the Chesapeake. One would travel by train, from the north, into Philly. One then had to board a boat that landed in Baltimore. This argument was settled by a Poe scholar a long time ago. Some people said Poe traveled by train, while others said by boat. He did both.

  15. thomasbrady said,

    February 27, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    I guess I don’t see how a possible appointment in Philly in any way cancels out the facts of Snodgrass/N. Poe. The author Elizabeth Oakes, another contemporary, and not unreliable, argued that violent assault was the cause of Poe’s death. Snodgrass altering Walker’s note from “worse for wear” to “bestial intoxication” is extremely suspicious; unreliable in a different way.

  16. thomasbrady said,

    February 28, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Mcmc demonstrates what many fear is true:

    Poe scholars: Dull, unimaginative, spineless no-nothings who passively swallow every piece of anti-Poe cant out there.

  17. McMc said,

    February 28, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Where are you reading anything anti-Poe in my comments? I’m arguing against illogic and factual errors, both of which are abundant in this discussion.

    I count no fewer than 10 outright errors of fact, or details in dispute, in your original post. I’m sure there are more in your follow-on comments. And this from someone who boldly asserts, “(N)o one knows more about Poe than I do.”

    • Diane Roberts Powell said,

      February 28, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Once again, did you even bother to read the link I sent about the steam packets on the Chesapeake? They worked in concert with the railroads. And there was a family of mariners named Rollins who lived in Baltimore during that time period.

      • McMc said,

        February 28, 2015 at 4:46 pm

        I read it, but it still amounts to wrestling with a ghost. Moran’s story late in life about the train conductor is already problematic without expanding the search to a family of Baltimore mariners.

        Most of what Moran said and wrote is of dubious value, if any at all. In the words of one scholar, Moran’s accounts of Poe’s death were “self-interested, often preposterous, and virtually worthless as biographical evidence.”

        • Diane Roberts Powell said,

          February 28, 2015 at 4:57 pm

          Fine. Your mind is made up. Carry on.

          • McMc said,

            February 28, 2015 at 5:03 pm

            I would, but you keep larding on unsourced or tangential material. What’s your source for your assertion that the captain became a tailor later in life?

            I suppose it’s possible, but improbable, If you look more closely at the Census record you cited, the George W. Rollins who was a tailor in 1880 could not read or write. I think that’s unlikely for someone who a ship’s captain and had to deal with schedules, passenger lists, navigational charts, and the like.

            • Diane Roberts Powell said,

              February 28, 2015 at 5:08 pm

              Please, move on.

              • McMc said,

                February 28, 2015 at 5:26 pm

                Gladly, but I’ll take you have no source.

                • Diane Roberts Powell said,

                  February 28, 2015 at 5:37 pm

                  Please, get a life.

  18. thomasbrady said,

    February 28, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    McMc believes Poe died of rabies.

    “10 outright errors.”

    See, this is what I mean. You don’t speculate on a mystery by simply dismissing what can’t be 100% proven. You add up a number of possibilities to gradually arrive at a coherent story.

    • March 1, 2015 at 1:11 am

      I notice that McMc got great delight out of trolling Ms. Robrts-Powell, but ran away abruptly when you showed up.

      C’mon, McMc: Point out the “10 outright errors”.

      • mcmc said,

        March 1, 2015 at 6:28 am

        Trolling? Is that what the young people are calling facts these days?

        I’ll summarize drp’s posts for you: She entered the discussion with unsourced nonsense that came from Dr. Moran, although she didn’t seem aware of it. When her source was questioned, she pointed to a black Civil War soldier. Then a ship’s captain. And finally, in an absurd reach, an illiterate tailor.

        When the hole was deep enough that she decided to stop digging, she threw up her hands and resorted to, “Carry on” and “Get a life.” That’s your idea of scholarship and critical thinking in the name of Poe’s memory?

        I’ll be glad to detail thomasbrady’s errors when time permits. Far from running away, I thought better of responding to his diversionary piffle about rabies. How many straw men are going to be assembled here? No one seriously credits rabies as the cause of Poe’s death, and it ranks alongside murder as fodder for gullible school lads and the naive among us.

        • Diane Roberts Powell said,

          March 1, 2015 at 6:57 am

          I just don’t see the point of wasting my time to research for you, or to prove something to you. I told you that I not an academic. I don’t have a career based upon this. You really need to open your mind a little. Everything about Poe’s death tells me that he met with foul play. Yes, Dr. Moran tended to embellish his stories about Poe, but that type of writing, to a certain extent, was also in common in newspapers of that era. If you read any newspaper reports about the Lincoln assassination, you may be surprised what you’ll find.

          I really don’t want to argue about it because I think that you are really convinced of your views.

          If you actually cared about Poe’s memory, you would be concerned about how he died. Maybe his memory would be better served by people who want to seek the truth about his death instead of by academics whose sole concerns are getting their next paper published.

        • thomasbrady said,

          March 1, 2015 at 1:44 pm

          Mcmc,

          I’d be interested in your theory. Moran was one of the persons involved in Poe’s death. Therefore, whatever he says has interest, whether we deem him “reliable” or not. NO ONE surrounding Poe’s death is “reliable,” which is reliable evidence, in my mind, of foul play. Skepticism is fine, and even a virtue; I understand that. But with so much we don’t know, I wonder how you can be so certain it wasn’t murder, so that you—the all-knowing—dismiss it with scorn. I’m sorry, but your very position seems suspicious and untrustworthy. What do you say? We’re all ears.

  19. March 1, 2015 at 1:25 am

    By the way: Did you know that Poe, the author of Eureka, was a nihilist with Satanic cunning? And that he believed in Nothing?

    That’s what Ruth Clements apparenly thinks. (Though I suspect the English translation of her critique is “I really like Poe and his works but I’m angry at him for not converting to Catholicism when he had the chance, so I’m gonna pull a Griswold on him and his defenders”.)

    Fire up the ol’ JSTOR and read it for yourself (or type “poe ruth clements nice nothing nihilism” into the search engine of your choice)):

    http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/41507823?sid=21105487598511&uid=4&uid=3739256&uid=2&uid=3739736

    • March 1, 2015 at 1:38 am

      I should note that it doesn’t surprise me in the least that a “frenemy” of Poe would have insinuated herself into a society dedicated to the preservation of Poe’s memory. I’ve been seeing a similar situation obtain with the Richard III Society, where a number of persons are counterfactually backstabbing Good King Dick under the guise of providing an alleged balance to what they claim is excessive praise of the man who (among other things) made law courts conduct their business in English so that commoners could have a fighting chance at understanding the proceedings.

      • Diane Roberts Powell said,

        March 1, 2015 at 2:03 am

        I’ve noticed this new idea about Richard III. I still have to wonder; what ever happened to his little nephews?

        It has nothing to do with Poe, but I just watched this video of one of Beckett’s plays, and it is so beautiful, poetic, and heartbreaking.

        • noochinator said,

          March 1, 2015 at 12:17 pm

          Jack MacGowran! He was the go-to guy for performing Beckett!

          • Diane Roberts Powell said,

            March 1, 2015 at 10:24 pm

            Wasn’t McGowran wonderful? That face! I found another video of him in Beckett’s “Eh Joe.”

  20. thomasbrady said,

    March 1, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Phoenix Woman,

    I think the Catholics can claim Poe. That’s part of Poe’s genius. Anyone can claim him. I’m not superstitious or religious, but if I believed in angels, I think Poe was one.

  21. thomasbrady said,

    March 1, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Poe did not believe in “nothing,” but he solved the origin of the universe better than anyone, because he grasped the idea that if you take all matter and squeeze it into a ball, prior to the Big Bang, you get “nothing,” since matter, to exist, as matter, requires relation, and all matter squeezed together in one particle has no relation, and thus is nothing.

  22. Anonymous said,

    November 16, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    I think Poe died of Natural Causes. I mean he lived in the 18th century full of diseses or a time when time was really ruff i mean just think about it

    • Anonymous said,

      November 18, 2015 at 4:53 pm

      yasssss

  23. noochinator said,

    February 29, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    If EDGAR ALLAN POE had written OLD KING COLE

    Hear the call of Old King Cole —
    Old King Cole!
    What a frantic, fearful craving fills his morbid soul!
    Hear him moaning, moaning, moaning
    For his pipe and for his bowl,
    Like the dreaded, deadly groaning
    Of some ghoul that is intoning
    From its ghostly, graveyard hole!
    Hear him plea, plea, plea
    As he calls his fiddlers three!
    Ah, what horrifying hunger fills the terror-troubled soul
    Of King Cole, Cole, Cole, Cole,
    Cole, Cole, Cole —
    Of the bleak and blackened soul of Old King Cole!

    Frank Jacobs

  24. noochinator said,

    June 21, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Nice Poe-centric musical work just uploaded to YouTube: Nikolai Tcherepnin’s ‘Le Destin’, Symphonic Fragments on a Ballad by Edgar Allan Poe Op.59

  25. noochinator said,

    June 22, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Here’s a Poe-ean one from Joni Mitchell:

    Of the darkness in men’s minds
    What can you say
    That wasn’t marked by history
    Or the T.V. news today
    He gets away with murder
    The blizzards come and go
    The stab and glare and buckshot
    Of the heavy heavy snow
    It comes and goes

    His grandpa loved an empire
    His sister loved a thief
    And Lindsey loved the ways of darkness
    Beyond belief
    Girls in chilly blouses
    The blizzards come and go
    The stab and glare and buckshot
    Of the heavy heavy snow
    It comes and goes
    It comes and goes

    The cops don’t seem to care
    For derelicts or ladies of the night
    They’re weeds for yanking out of sight
    If you’re smart or rich or lucky
    Maybe you’ll beat the laws of man
    But the inner laws of spirit
    And the outer laws of nature
    No man can
    No—no man can

    There lives a wolf in Lindsey
    That raids and runs
    Through the hills of Hollywood
    And the downtown slums
    He gets away with murder
    The blizzards come and go
    The stab and glare and buckshot
    Of the heavy heavy snow
    It comes and goes


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