When Elizabeth Poe died in 1811, the Poe family was split up, and the children went to separate foster families. Rosalie went to live with the Mackenzies in Richmond, Virginia. Sadly, there are conflicting reports on Rosalie’s time with the Mackenzies.
Most of them mention that Rosalie lived a very dull life with this family and was treated more like an outsider than a member of their household. It is said that her tumultuous childhood led to her being quite an awkward and off-putting woman.
She was very different from Edgar, who she was essentially estranged from. In fact, Sarah Helen Whitman, one of Edgar’s romantic interests, stated that he once described his relationship with Rosalie as “a coolness or estrangement of long-standing.”
After the Civil War, the Mackenzie family fell on extremely hard times, therefore putting Rosalie in a hard place.
Most of the family scattered and relocated, leaving Rosalie pretty much alone. She tried to work as a housekeeper but also attempted to support herself by selling pictures and things that belonged to her brother Edgar.
During her final days, Rosalie was moved into a charity home and lived in Washington, D.C. She died in 1874 and did not receive any of Edgar’s estate.
Now you know a little more about the life of Edgar Allan Poe, but you also know that Rosalie existed. Isn’t it fascinating to hear the story of two siblings who ended up in two totally different places?
*On November 4th, 2022, we updated the date of Rosalie’s death from 1984 to 1874*
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