Edgar Allan Poe had cousin in Augusta

Each year we mark another Halloween.


A night when the moon becomes mysterious. A night when small children take on the guises of witches and devils and appear outside your door.

A night, perhaps the best night, to remember Edgar Allan Poe.

He is an American original -- a tormented genius who helped develop two literary mainstays -- the detective mystery and the short story.

There's another story to Poe and another mystery, his Augusta cousin.

Poe's biographers say William Poe sent money to help out his literary relative.

When Poe, the writer then living in Virginia, mentioned his financial problems in correspondence, William, an Augusta banker, was more than generous. He is said to have sent letters including as much as $100 inside.

Most evidence points to that cousin being the William C. Poe who was buried in 1871 in the Summerville Cemetery surrounded by a host of other Poes.

Posterity seems to have reversed their roles.

William, now forgotten, enjoyed prosperity in Augusta. His cousin, now the well-known writer, died in a poverty he could not seem to escape.

We know from Poe's correspondence that he mentions traveling in the Deep South. He just doesn't say where or when.

Would it not be too far-fetched to think that the originator of the American horror story might have been the guest of a well-to-do Augusta cousin?

Maybe it was on a night in late October when they sat around a Summerville parlor and visited and told stories that were spooky and quirky -- perfect for an evening when the moon is almost full and witches and devils are right outside the door.