Quoth the Raven

Edgar_Allan_Poe_by_Pratt,_1849[1]

The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—

            Only this and nothing more.”

On October 8th, 1849, at 4:00 p.m., 23 hours after Edgar Allan Poe died in mysterious circumstances, he was buried on a raw and stormy afternoon.  His funeral was a hasty three-minute service with less than a dozen people in attendance.  Poe, a noted literary critic, poet, fiction writer, and the creator of the modern detective story was buried in a homemade coffin, handmade shroud, and an unmarked grave next to his grandfather’s grave in the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground at Baltimore, Maryland.

His cousin, Neilson Poe, later purchased a marker for Edgar Allan Poe but in a freak accident, a train jumped the tracks and smashed the marker that had been carved to mark his grave.  So, his grave remained unnoticed under a stone simply marked “No. 80”.  After a newspaper article was published describing Poe’s unmarked grave, a local school teacher, Sara Sigourney Rice, took up the torch to raise money to have a monument designed for Poe.

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On October 1, 1875, Poe’s body was moved from the back of the graveyard to a place of prominence just inside the West gates.  A white marble monument was designed by architect George A. Frederick.  Featured in the center of the shaft is a medallion with a bas-relief of Poe’s bust by artist Adalbert Volck.  The new monument was dedicated on October 17th in a ceremony that included poet Walt Whitman.

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Ten years later, Poe’s wife, Virginia, whose bones in a macabre twist had been hidden under William Gill’s bed, was finally laid to rest next to her husband.

Poe’s original grave was later marked, paid for by Orrin Painter, in the 1920s by with a gravestone depicting a raven, a nod to his most famous poem.

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