about Poe's death
that I heard growing up goes something like this:
At the end of his life, Poe was a helpless drunk
. In Baltimore
at the time, it was a common practice to rig elections by rounding up a bunch of street people, taking them from one polling place to another around the city, and, in exchange for them voting the right way, give them money and/or liquor.
The day Poe died was an election day, as well as being bitter cold. He had been one of the rounded-up drunks that day, and had been left in the gutter
at the end of it dead drunk.
He died without a cent to his name. The city of Baltimore paid for his grave (in the yard of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, where it is to this day) by having every schoolchild in Baltimore donate a penny. To this day, it's customary to leave a penny behind on the marker when visiting his grave.