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"I am a Virginian."

Black and white photo of Edgar Allan Poe

Though Edgar Allan Poe lived in many different places throughout his life, he self-identified as a Virginian first.

Born in 1809 in Boston, Poe considered Richmond his home and often referred to himself as “a Virginian.” Poe grew up, married, and was first recognized as a gifted writer while living at his childhood home, Moldovia, in the Commonwealth's capital city. Few of the homes in which he lived still exist today, but the layout of Moldavia can be found in a Mutual Assurance policy stored in the Library of Virginia archives.

Following his mother Eliza Poe's death from tuberculosis in 1811, Poe was raised by John and Frances Valentine Allan. Allan, a successful tobacco merchant, and his wife had no children of their own, so they were happy to welcome Poe into their small family. At his christening, he was given the name Edgar Allan Poe to honor both families. At that time, they lived above Mr. Allan’s offices at 13th and Main Streets.

In 1825, when Poe was 16, Allan purchased “Moldovia,” a large house at 5th and Main in Downtown Richmond. Allan insured this home with Mutual Assurance Society. There were 8 buildings on the large lot that encompassed the entire block between 5th and 6th Streets, with the main house facing 5th. In 1829, Allan had a reevaluation of the home done by Mutual Assurance which resulted in a policy amount of $11,075, a substantial sum at the time.

Poe worked for many years in Richmond as an editor for the Southern Literary Messenger and lived in a boarding house on Bank Street near Capitol Square. It is here he wrote several novels and poems.

Following his wife’s death in 1847, Poe returned to Richmond for short stays in 1848 and 1849. He gave lectures and readings of his poems and gave his last reading of “The Raven” at “Talavera,” home to the Talley family on West Grace, on September 25, 1849.

Inset story about Edgar Allan Poe's final days in Richmond where he disappeared one week before his death in Baltimore.

Poe’s room on The Lawn at the University of Virginia is still a popular tourist site, and the Poe Museum in Richmond is made from materials salvaged from the offices of the Southern Literary Messenger where Poe worked.

CTA box directing visitors to the Get-An-Estimate page for Mutual Assurance.


Sources: Richmond Times Dispatch, Poe Museum, Wikipedia,



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