The Final Days of Edgar Allan Poe

On October 3, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe was found lying outside Ryan’s Fourth Ward polls in Baltimore, MD wearing clothes that were not his own. He was semiconscious and described as being in ‘great distress.’ He mentioned the name of an acquaintance of his who lived nearby. He was then taken to the Washington College Hospital where he died a few days later. There were many rumors surrounding his death and what he was doing during his final days. Many said he had been drinking. Others claimed he was picked up by thugs, liquored up, then taken to different polling places in different clothes to vote multiple times for one candidate.

He had traveled from Richmond, VA about a week before. He was on his way to Philadelphia, PA for an editing job. In Richmond, his physician said he was not well and should stay a few more days before traveling. He declined. He took his physician’s walking cane by mistake instead of his own. He had lost his luggage which was found several weeks after his death. His fiancé had said he seemed ill. This was why he met with his physician in Richmond. This illness is likely the cause of his death. Baltimore had an epidemic of Cholera in the Summer of 1849 and many believe this was the illness that claimed Edgar Poe’s life.

Poe’s funeral was held one day following his death and was described as “cold-blooded” and “unchristianlike.” Only seven people attended. Poe’s mother-in-law discovered his beloved tortoiseshell cat Catterina dead shortly after learning of Poe’s death. Learn more about Poe at Biography’s 13 Haunting Facts About Edgar Allan Poe’s Death. Celebrate Poe this week by reading his stories and poetry. It will get you into the spooky season. Read it with friends and have an E.A. Poe appreciation party.