Museum News


A Stroll Through Shockoe Hill Cemetery


One of Edgar Allan Poe’s favorite places for a stroll in Richmond was Shockoe Hill Cemtery. Located at 4th and Hospital Streets, the cemetery was a retreat from the noise and activity of the city. The cemetery was established in 1820 as Richmond, Virginia’s first city-owned cemetery, and the first burial took place there in 1822. Seven years later, Poe’s beloved foster mother was buried there. She would be only one of many important figures from his life to be interred there.

During a recent visit to the cemetery, I took some photos of a few of the graves of people Poe would have known.


These are the graves of Poe’s foster parents, the Allans. From left to right, the monuments are for Louisa Allan (Poe’s foster father’s second wife), John Allan (Poe’s foster father), Frances Valentine Allan (John Allan’s first wife and Poe’s foster mother), William Galt (John Allan’s uncle who left Allan a fortune), and Rosanna Galt. Although Allan inherited a fortune, he left Edgar Poe out of his will.


This is the grave of John Allan’s oldest son, John Allan, Jr., who died during the Civil War.


Here is the grave of Allan’s second son, William Galt Allan, who also served in the Civil War.


This is the grave of Allan’s third son, Patterson Allan. Like his brothers, Patterson died young. John Allan’s second wife outlived all three of her children.


Above is a photo of the grave of Anne Moore Valentine, Poe’s “Aunt Nancy.” Valentine was the unmarried sister of Poe’s foster mother Frances Valentine Allan, and she lived with the Allans even after Frances Allan’s death in 1829.


This is the grave of Poe’s first and last fiancee, Elmira Royster Shelton. The inscription on this monument is only barely legible, but you can still read the name of Elmira’s husband Alexander Barrett Shelton.


Poe’s boyhood friend Robert Craig Stanard is buried here with his wife.


Here is the grave of Poe’s first great love, Jane Stith Craig Stanard, the woman to whom he dedicated his poem “To Helen.” She died from “exhaustion from the mania” when Poe was fifteen, and he and her son are said to have paid frequent visits to her grave in the months after her death.

This plaque was placed at the base of Jane Stanard’s grave in 1923 by Poe Museum founder James H. Whitty and Poe Museum benefactor John W. Robertson. They dedicated the plaque on the first anniversary of the opening of the Poe Museum and considered the event so important that they invited the President of the United States, Warren G. Harding. He declined the invitation with the below letter.

Shockoe Hill Cemetery is also the final resting place to a number of historical figures including the United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, Revolutionary War hero Peter Francisco, and Union spy Elizabeth Van Lew.

If you will be visiting Virginia to see the Poe Museum and would like to learn about some other Poe-related sites in the area, here is a link to more information.



3 Comments »


  1. The “Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery” support group is hard at work helping to maintain and improve the Cemetery, and is always eager to help folks with research or other questions. Please let us know! “Like” us on Facebook (“Shockoe Hill Cemetery”), and also contact us at info@shockoehillcemetery.org.

    Comment by Jeffry Burden — April 2, 2012 @ 7:34 pm
  2. I like this. Makes some of the exhibits I have seen more memorable.

    Comment by wayne armstrong — April 2, 2012 @ 9:36 pm
  3. Interesting. Makes the exibits in museum more meaningful.

    Comment by wayne armstrong — April 2, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

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