Q:

What happened in Fordham, N.Y., in 1847?

A:

Edgar Allen Poe's wife, Virginia, died in Fordham, New York, in 1847. Ill for many months, she finally succumbed to tuberculosis in January. She died at home in their Bronx cottage.

In the early summer of 1846, Poe brought his wife and aunt to the Bronx, hoping the country air would restore Virginia's health. Despite the bucolic setting and scenic views, Virginia died of tuberculosis in January of 1847. Her death sent Poe into bouts of depression during which he reportedly comforted himself with alcohol.

The cottage, a small wooden farmhouse built around 1812 and home to Poe from 1846 until his death in 1849, has been administered by The Bronx County Historical Society since 1975. The Society restored the cottage to its original appearance, with authentic period furnishings. Tours of the cottage are available. Visitors can view, among other things, the bed in which Virginia Poe died.

Poe wed his cousin, Virginia Clemm, in May of 1836 when she was 13 years old and he was 27 years of age. Virginia's mother was Poe's aunt, who kept house for the couple and, later, for Poe.

At the cottage in Fordham, Poe penned the poems “Annabel Lee,” “The Bells” and “Eureka.”


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