What Happened to Poe’s Foster Mother?

Edgar Allan Poe’s foster mother, Frances Keeling Valentine Allan, died on Feb. 28, 1829. She is buried at the Shockoe Hill Cemetery in Richmond, Va. At the time, Poe was a sergeant major in the Army.

Frances married John Allan in 1803, but they had no children of their own. After Poe’s mother, the English actress Eliza Poe, died of consumption, Frances and John Allan took the orphaned boy into their home. Poe had a very close relationship with Frances and referred to her as “Ma.”

In a letter to his foster father after Frances’ death, Poe wrote, “I came home, you will remember, the night of the burial—If she had not died while I was away there would have been nothing to regret—Your love I never valued—but she I believed loved me as her own child.”