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From the Logan Banner, of Logan, WV, comes this item of interest relating to Thomas Dunn English, former mayor of Logan, and Edgar Allan Poe:
EDGAR ALLAN POE AND DR. ENGLISH, LOGAN’S POET, HAD VERBAL DUEL
Some interesting matters are brought to light by Roy Fuller in an article titled “Edgar Allan Poe in West Virginia” in the January number of West Virginia Review.
Of special interest is what he writes of the hostility between Poe and Thomas Dunn English, who was probably the most widely known citizen this city or county ever had.
Fuller, a Charleston newspaper man of real talent, smashes the tradition that Poe visited St. Albans and wrote “The Raven” in a house long afterward named “Ravenscourt” by a resourceful real estate agent and still an object of reverent interest to credulous folk.
“Oddly enough, Poe really spent three summers in what is now West Virginia, but this is never mentioned if it is known here,” says the Review article. “The unsubstantiated tale has precedence over the truth, a situation not at all rare. He came into West Virginia not as a wanderer but as the recently adopted son of the Richmond tobacco merchant. The three summers following his adoption by the Allans he was taken to White Sulphur Springs, then the most popular resort in the south. This is the only claim that the State’s romantic folk can establish, so far as it can be learned from his biographers, except his dealings with Thomas Dunn English, whom West Virginians claim as one of their poets…
“As to ‘The Raven,’ it is generally believed that he wrote it while living near West Eighty-fourth Street, New York. It was published in the ‘Evening Mirror’ January 29, 1845.
Poe wrote “The Literati” condemning and puffing some thirty-eight of his contemporary New Yorkers, including Mr. English. Poe called him “Thomas Dunn Brown” and spoke further of him in such a light way that the author of “Sweet Alice” became peeved. The versatile gentleman lately of West Virginia poured out his heart in a few columns of “The Mirror.” Poe replied four days later in the Philadelphia “Saturday Gazette” and followed his answer with a suit for damage. He got $225 on February 17, 1847. Thus Poe got perhaps his greatest “stake” from Mr. English, an amount great in comparison with $10 he got for his greatest work “The Raven.”
“English also brought out one issue of the ‘Broadway Journal’ after it was given up by Poe. Thus good West Virginians may claim that one of their boys ran a Broadway paper–for a day.”
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 18 January 1927.