~ The Childhood of Edgar Allan Poe ~

Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809.  His parents, David Poe Jr. and Elizabeth Hopkins Poe, were both actors.  His father died in 1810 and his mother died in 1811, leaving Poe, William and Rosalie orphans.  John and Frances Allan welcomed Poe into their home and agreed to take care of him.  His siblings were taken in by other families. Poe’s brother, William, died young.  His sister, Rosalie, became insane later in life.  John and Frances had never legally adopted Poe but Poe took the Allan’s name as his middle name making him Edgar Allan Poe.  At the age of five Poe could recite passages of English poetry.  One of his teachers from Richmond stated: “While the other boys wrote mere mechanical verses, Poe wrote genuine poetry; the boy was a born poet.” (Reynolds 132)

Later in life, Poe attended the University of Virginia (1826-27).  After a few years, he had been expelled from school for not paying his gambling debts.  John Allan became furious with Poe and refused to pay the debts for him.  Eventually John Allan disowned him, leaving Poe financially tied and lonely.  Poe then joined the U.S. Army in 1827.  Poe joined the U.S. Army as a common soldier under assumed name, Edgar A. Perry, because he had not yet turned eighteen years of age.

Despite the fact that Poe had been an orphan with a troubled childhood, he became America’s first impressionable and great author and poet.  Poe became the inventor of modern detective stories, a pioneer of science-fiction, and the master of macabre.  At the age of forty, Poe had become the first internationally influential American writer.  At this time he began to be labeled as the American Shakespeare.

Poe In The Early Life