Frances Keeling “Fanny” <I>Valentine</I> Allan

Frances Keeling “Fanny” Valentine Allan

Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA
Death 28 Feb 1829 (aged 45)
Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA
Burial Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA
Plot Range 11, Sec. 8, Q.S. 1 -- John Allan plot
Memorial ID 34188533 · View Source
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Literary Folk Figure. She was the foster mother and first teacher of, and arguably the only positive influence on, Edgar Allan Poe. The child a noted Richmond family, Frances married Scottish immigrant merchant John Allan on Febuary 5, 1803. Much to Frances' sadness the marriage remained childless, with a large dose of resentment as well since Allan was supporting one or more illegitimate children in Richmond. During actress Eliza Poe's terminal illness in the fall of 1811 she arranged for the separate care of her three children with Frances, against much opposition from John, eagerly accepting the almost three year old Edgar. The Allans, though they never formally adopted him, took Edgar in December 1811 and had him baptized, giving him "Allan" as his middle name. In contrast to John who despite his complaining did provide quite well, Frances always had a warm relationship with Edgar, giving him his first lessons, teaching him to read and write, and providing such religious instruction as he was ever to have. While Frances was always "Ma" John was seldom "Pa". Frances' death broke down what little family relationship Poe had with John Allan and triggered the life-long melancholy evident in his writings. Today no Richmond home in which Poe lived still stands; Monumental Church, where Frances took young Edgar, is a National Historic Landmark, with the pew where they sat denoted by a plaque. Frances' specific contribution to Poe's literary output, beyond her giving him basic instruction, is difficult to quantify; the stories "Ligeia" and "The Fall of the House of Usher" do deal with family disintegration and loss. Frances was portrayed by Mary Howard in the 1942 "The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe".

Bio by: Bob Hufford

Family Members



Sacred to the memory of Frances Keeling Allen
who departed this transitory life on the morning of the 28th of February 1829. This monument is erected by John Allen, her husband. In testimony of his gratitude for her unabated affection to him the zeal to discharge her domestic duties; and the fervor she manifested both by precept and example in persuading all to trust in the promises of the Gospel. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and ye shall be saved.


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 25 Feb 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 34188533
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Frances Keeling “Fanny” Valentine Allan (14 Feb 1784–28 Feb 1829), Find a Grave Memorial no. 34188533, citing Shockoe Hill Cemetery, Richmond, Richmond City, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .