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THE ORIGIN AND EARLY HISTORY



OF



THE FAMILY OF POE OR POE



Two Hundred copies of this Work have

BEEN PRINTED, OF WHICH THIS IS No...7.2^.Q



THE

ORIGIN AND EARLY HISTORY



OF



THE FAMILY OF FOE OR FOE

WITH FULL FEDIGREES OF THE IRISH BRANCH
OF THE FAMILY



A DISCUSSION OF THE TR UE A NCESTR Y OF EDGAR A LLA N POE,
THE AMERICAN POET



BY

SIR EDMUND THOMAS BEWLEY

M.A., LL.D., F.R.S.A.I.
Author of "The Bewleys of Cumberland," "The Family of Mulock," and other Works.



DUBLIN

PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR
BY PONSONBY & GIBBS, AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS

1906






TO

LIEUT.-COLONEL WILLIAM HUTCHESON POE, C.B., D.L..

Z\)\6 little 3Booh

IS DEDICATED AS A MARK OF ESTEEM AND REGARD
BY HIS SINCERE FRIEND

THE AUTHOR



807780



PREFACE



/^Genealogical problems have a great attraction for the
^-^ genealogist. In the case of the family of Poe or Poe
two problems of interest and difficulty presented themselves,
viz., (i) the parentage and ancestry of William, Thomas, and
Anthony Poe, who settled in Ireland early in the seventeenth
century ; and (2) the true ancestry of Edgar Allan Poe, the
American poet ; and it is submitted that correct solutions of
both of them will be found in the following pages.

In starting on this two-fold quest, I was certainly free from
any preconceived ideas, and, indeed, from any preliminary
knowledge. As to the parentage and early ancestry of the
Poe settlers, no tradition had been handed down in the family
as to the locality from which William, Thomas, or Anthony
Poe had come ; and if they brought any documents with them
from their former home, these must have been lost or destroyed
so far back as the Rebellion of 1641. The legend of the
German origin of the family, it will be seen, is a comparatively
modern invention, and has no real foundation.

Finding a statement in " Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland,"
that the Poe family was at one time settled in Yorkshire, I
began my searches in that quarter, but they were without
success. Amongst the vast number of wills proved in the
Consistorial Court of York, there is not one of any testator
bearing the name of Poe : the name is not met with in any of
the Visitations or County Histories of Yorkshire ; and a query



Vlll



PREFACE



of mine as to the Poe family, published in Yorkshire Notes and
Queries^ did not elicit any reply. The only connexion with
the county that I was then able to discover was the residence
for a time of James Poe, son of Dr. Leonard Poe, at Swindon
Hall, in the Parish of Kirkby-Overblow.

As William Poe was described as of St. Edmund Bury {i.e.
Bury St. Edmunds), Co. Suffolk, in the will of Sir Henry
Mervyn, dated 29th May, 1646 (published in " Miscellanea
Genealogica et Heraldica," vol. i, 2nd series, page 425), I next
turned my attention to Suffolk, but could not find any further
trace of the family in that county. It afterwards appeared,
indeed, that it was only in his capacity of an officer in the
Parliamentary Army that William Poe was quartered there.

On going through the numerous Reports of the Historical
Manuscripts Commission, however, I came upon a document
which ultimately turned out to be of great importance, viz., a
list of the Officers of Sherwood Forest, in Nottinghamshire, of
about the year 1591, now amongst the MSS. of the Duke of
Rutland, at Belvoir Castle. In this Sir John Byron (father
of the first Lord Byron) appeared as the Warden or Keeper of
the Forest, and Richard Poe as Under-keeper. Searches in the
Public Record Office, London, and elsewhere soon showed that
there were numerous members of the family of Poe living in
Nottinghamshire in the seventeenth century ; and when it
appeared from the published State Papers that William Poe,
of Manor Poe, Co. Fermanagh, was able to give the Common-
wealth authorities important information respecting the private
affairs of Sir John Byron, Lord Byron, of Newstead, Notts
(son of the above-mentioned Sir John), it became pretty clear
to me that he must have been one of the Nottinghamshire
Poes. It was not, however, until more than a year afterwards,
when having a search made amongst the Prerogative Court
Wills, now in the Probate Registry at York, for the will (if any)



PREFACE ix

of James Poe, son of Dr. Leonard Poe, that the will turned up
of Anthony Poe, of Papplewick, Notts, the father of William,
Thomas, and Anthony Poe, and thus definitely settled the
question of their parentage.

The early ancestry of Edgar Allan Poe appeared for a long
time to be an insoluble puzzle. I, not unnaturally, expected
that some connexion would be found between the Poes of
Dring, County Cavan, from whom the poet was descended, and
the other Irish Poes. It will be seen, however, from the details
given in the chapter dealing specially with this subject, that
the true ancestry turned out to be different from what I had
anticipated, and that the solution was arrived at in a very
exceptional manner.

On reading the chapter relating to William Poe, many
persons may feel surprised that so much private family history
could be gathered from the Public Records ; and a few of them
may appreciate the great interest and pleasure experienced in
hunting for information on a given subject in the Public
Records, and putting the items together afterwards in a con-
nected narrative form. When I started on my work, absolutely
nothing was known about William Poe, save the bare fact that
he had been a Cromwellian Officer. In "Burke's Landed Gentry"
there were, no doubt, statements that he had served at the
Siege of Limerick, and had been rewarded for his military
services by a grant of lands in Ireland, which had been after-
wards confirmed by William III ; but these statements were
erroneous, and had not a particle of foundation. The events
of his life recorded in this little volume have been ascertained
from Chancery Inquisitions, Ireland ; Patent Rolls and Fiants,
Ireland ; Communia Rolls, Ireland ; Bills in the Court of
Chancery in England ; Bills in the Court of Chancery in Ire-
land, and on the Equity Side of the Court of Exchequer,
Ireland ; Wills in the Probate Registry in England, and in the



X PREFACE

Public Record Office, Dublin ; Feet of Fines, Ireland ; the
published Calendars of State Papers, Ireland ; the published
Calendars of State Papers (Domestic), England ; the Reports
of the Historical Manuscripts Commission as to the Coke MSS.,
the House of Lords MSS., and the MSS. of the Duke of Man-
chester and of G. A. Lowndes, Esq. ; the published Calendars
of the Proceedings of the Committee for Advance of Money ;
and the Parish Register of St. Giles', Cripplegate, London. It
need hardly be stated that for every printed volume or manu-
script record in which information was found, scores were
consulted with no useful result ; and that for other portions
of this work my researches had to take a much wider range.

In pursuing my inquiries I found a kindly disposition to help
in all quarters. To Lieut.-Colonel William Hutcheson Poe, C.B.,
of Heywood, Queen's County, my special thanks are due. But
for his encouragement and aid this little book might never
have been published.

Several members of the family have helped to correct or
supplement the recent portions of the pedigrees. I have had
very interesting correspondence with Mrs. E. D. Latta, of
Dilworth, Charlotte, N, C. ; Miss Amelia FitzGerald Poe, of
Baltimore, Md. ; and G. O. Seilhamer, Esq., of Chambersburg,
Pa., who most willingly contributed any information that they
possessed bearing on the ancestry of Edgar Allan Poe.

The Rev. William Ball Wright, M.A., of Osbaldwick Vicar-
age, York, whose works are well known to Irish genealogists,
rendered me important service in making numerous searches
for me in the Probate Registry at York, and sending me
abstracts of the documents found there. W. W. Glenny, Esq.,
of Barking, Essex, was good enough to furnish me with a copy
of Susanna Bastwick's pathetic appeal to Parliament, taken
from a little volume of petitions in the British Museum. To
the Rev. John Standish, M.A., of Scarrington Vicarage, Notts ;



PREFACE xi

Thomas M. Blagg, Esq., of Newark -on -Trent, Notts ;
Rev. Thomas Warren, of Norwood ; Rev. Robert Leech, of
Drumlane, Co. Cavan ; Rev. J. H. Whitsitt, of Killeshandra,
Co. Cavan ; Rev. Albert E. Kay, of Kildallon Rectory, Co.
Cavan ; and Tenison Groves, Esq., of Blackrock, Co. Dublin,
I desire also to express my obligations.

EDMUND T. BEWLEY.



40, FiTzwiLLiAM Place,
Dublin,

September i 1906.



CONTENTS



PAGE

I. Origin of the Poe Family : The Poes of Nottinghamshire and

Derbyshire, i

II. Dr. Leonard Poe: His Ancestry: His Medical Career: His

Family : His Will, 7

III. Anthony Poe, of Papplewick, and his Family : His Will, . 12

IV. William Poe : Settlement in County Tyrone : Marriage with

Frances Sedborough : Proceedings in connexion with Sed-
borough Estate : Applications for Royal Letters : Imprison-
ment : Military Service in England : Attempt to Recover
Sedborough Estate : His Will, 16

V. Thomas Poe : Settlement in County Fermanagh : Service in
the Parliamentary Army in Ireland : Grant of Lands in
County Tipperary : His Will, 2>7

VI. Anthony Poe : Settlement in the County Tyrone : Military
Service in England and Ireland : His Will : Grant of Lands
in the County Louth to his widow, Mary Poe, and his son,
Daniel Poe, 41

VII. John Poe : Richard Poe : Edward Poe : Anne Poe, widow, . 45

VIII. Edgar Allan Poe : His Ancestry : Statements of his Bio-
graphers : Difficulties in connecting the Poes of the County
Cavan with other Irish Poes : Poes of the Parish of Clon-
feacle : Powell Family of County Armagh : True Ancestry
of Edgar Allan Poe, 47

IX. Arms of the Poe Family : Fictitious Pedigree of the Irish
Poes: Origin of the Poes of Derbyshire and Nottingham-
shire : Corrections in published Pedigrees of the Irish Poes, 69



xiv CONTENTS



PAGE



APPENDICES :

Appendix A : Dr. Leonard Poe and his son James Poe, . 75

Appendix B : Petition to Parliament of Reduced Officers
and Soldiers, • ' ' 11

INDEX of Names of Persons and Places, 79

THE PEDIGREES : Introductory, 87

Pedigree A : The first two generations of the Irish Poes,
and Pedigrees of the Poes of Belleen, Co. Tipperary, and
of Dromgooldstown, otherwise Poe's Court, Co. Louth.

Pedigree B : Pedigree of the Poes of Knock, otherwise
Bettsborough, Donnybrook, Solsborough, Moyroe, Derrin-
vohill, Riverston, Curraghmore, Haywood, &c., &c.

Pedigree C : Pedigree of the Poes of Rosneharley, other-
wise Harley Park, and of Kilkenny.



THE FAMILY OF FOE OR FOE



I.



ORIGIN OF THE POE FAMILY :
THE POES OF NOTTINGHAMSHIRE AND DERBYSHIRE.

No serious attempt has hitherto been made to investigate the
origin and early history of tlie family of Poe or Poe. " Burke's
Landed Gentry" has given currency to an alleged statement
that the family came from the Upper Palatinate of the Rhine ;
and this has been repeated in the " Dictionary of National
Biography " in the notice of Dr. Leonard Poe, Physician to
James I and Charles L But the editor of the " Landed
Gentry " is in no way responsible for this statement, which
appears to be founded on no better authority than that of some
unscrupulous pedigree-monger, who a great many years ago
provided a too credulous member of the Poe family with a
lineage, partly inaccurate and partly fictitious.^

Edgar Allan Poe, the American poet, believed that the Poe
family was remotely of German origin ; and in an unpublished
letter, dated 14th July, 1839, written to his cousin, George W.
Poe, of Mobile, Alabama, he states : —

" There can be no doubt, I think, that our family is originally
German, as the name indicates it ; it is frequently met with in
German works on Natural History, and a Mr. Poe is now living in
Vienna, who has much reputation as a naturalist. The name there
is spelled with an accent — thus, Poe — and is pronounced in two
syllables — Po-a, As far back, however, as we can trace, our
immediate progenitors are Irish. "^

' See p. 69, ^ost.

^ I am indebted for a copy of this letter to Mrs. E. D. Latta, of Dilworth,
Charlotte, North Carolina, whose maternal grandmother was a member of
the American branch of the Poe Family. — E. T. B.



2 THE FAMILY OF FOE OR POE

There is a family of Foe of German origin at present
settled in the United States, whose ancestor, George Jacob Foe,
emigrated from Germany to Maryland prior to 1742. To this
family belonged General Orlando Metcalfe Foe, who was dis-
tinguished for his services on the Northern side in the Civil
War, 1861-1865.^

But identity of name does not necessarily imply identity of
stock ; and that families in both England and Germany bore
the name of Foe seems merely an accidental coincidence.

It is indeed highly improbable that the English Foes
could have been descended from any German family of that
name.

In pre-Elizabethan times immigration from Germany must
have been very rare ; and Germans coming to England were
generally either engaged in commerce, or specially distinguished
in some art or craft. These would naturally settle in London
or in one of the large seaport towns. Aliens could not then
acquire land ; and about the last place in England in which a
German would be likely to be found located in those early times
would be a country district in an inland county. But the
first Foes of whom any records have hitherto been found in
England were substantial yeomen, living in rural parishes and
other places in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, giving to their
children ordinary English names, and, so far as can be judged
from their wills, of an ordinary English type. The parishes of
Gedling, Hoveringham, Bingham, and Fapplewick ; the towns of
Nottingham and Newark ; and Sherwood Forest are amongst
the localities in Nottinghamshire in which they dwelt.

William Foo (Foe), of Horringham (Hoveringham), made his
will, dated 15th July, 1557 {i.e. in the third year of the reign of
Fhilip and Mary), and after giving 3^. 4^. [i.e. a half noble) to
the church of Horringham, and another sum of 3j-. ^d. to the
church of Gedling, he made certain bequests to his sons
Richard, Edmond, and Thomas, his wife Alice, and his daughters
Joan and Alice, and his grandson Richard, son of Richard, the
testator's son ; and he appointed his wife and his children



^ A pedigree of this family will be found in the " Kittochtinny
Magazine," vol. i, p. 192, published at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania,
and edited by the experienced genealogist, Mr. G. O. Seilhamer.



THE FAMILY OF POE OR FOE 3

Thomas and Alice executors, and his special friend Richard
Cliffe, of Lincoln, supervisor of his will.

Richard Poo (Foe), of Horringham,son of the last-mentioned
William Poe, made his will, dated 31st May, 1564 ; and his wife
Margaret and his only child Richard were the principal legatees.
His wife was to make a dinner for the poor neighbours, and 5^.
worth of bread was to be given to the poor who came to pray
for his soul's health.

Amongst the MSS. of the Duke of Rutland at Belvoir Castle
is a list of the officers of the Forest of Sherwood, to which the
date of 1 591 has been ascribed.^

In this are found the following entries : —

" NewSTEAD. Sir John Byron.

Under-keeper, Richard Poe.



" Blydeworth. Sir John Byron.

Under-keeper, Richard Poe."



This Sir John Byron, of Newstead, Notts, was father of the
first Lord Byron. The Byrons had been stewards and wardens
of the Forest of Sherwood from 1485 ; and the Manor of
Papplewick, which was in the neighbourhood of Newstead, and
adjoined the Forest, was granted to Sir John Byron (father of
the Sir John mentioned in the foregoing list) and his heirs, by
Letters Patent, dated 28th May, 32 Henry VHI (1540).

Amongst the tenants of the Manor of Papplewick, in January,
1605/6, was Anthony Poe, yeoman. He was the father of five
sons, three of whom, viz., William, Thomas, and Anthony,
settled in Ireland in connexion with the Plantation of Ulster,
and afterwards served with distinction in the Parliamentary
Army. William, the eldest son, settled in the County Tyrone,
and afterwards resided for some time at Derrymore, in the
County Fermanagh, to which he gave the name of Manor Poe.
He attained the rank of Major in the Parliamentary Army in
England ; and details of portion of his eventful life will be
found further on. Thomas, the third son, settled in the County
Fermanagh. He became a Lieutenant in the Parliamentary

- Twelfth Report of Historical MSS. Commission, App. ; MSS. of tiie
Duke of Rutland, vol. i, p. 294.

B2



4 THE FAMILY OF POE OR POE

Army in Ireland, and was the progenitor of the Tipperary
branch of the Poe family with all its ramifications. Anthony,
the fifth son, settled in the County Tyrone, and was afterwards
a Captain in the Parliamentary Army, both in England and
Ireland. He was the founder of a branch of the family long
seated in the County Louth,

But further notice of Anthony Poe, of Papplewick, and his
family must be reserved until brief reference has been made to
some other Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Poes, and some
account has been given of Anthony Poe's kinsman, Dr. Leonard
Poe.

The entries of marriages in a large number of Nottingham-
shire Parish Registers have been published by Mr. W. P. W.
Phillimore ;^ and amongst them are found the following, relating
to members of the Poe family, taken from the Registers of the
Parish of Newark -upon-Trent : —

" loth December, 1609, William Poa. {s/c) and Bridget Wagstaff.
" 20th October, 161 1, Thomas Poa {s/c) and Mary Moore.
" 9th June, 1 63 1, Richard Poe and Mary Laurence.
" 9th May, 1723, John Hutcheson and Frances Poe."

The first two of these entries are interesting, as showing
that at this period the surname of the Nottinghamshire Poes
was pronounced as a dissyllable, in the same manner as that
of the Irish Poes is generally pronounced at the present day.
At St. Mary's, Nottingham, the following marriages are
recorded : —

"28th March, 1654, Robert Marson, of Peeter's Parish, and
Isabel, daughter to Simon Poe.

"21st July, 1661, William Disney and Sarah Poy."

And at Bingham : —

" 19th June, 1604, Thomas Poo and Benet G3'll.

" 29th April, 1630, Miles Peeke and Elizabeth Poe."

Other evidence as to the existence of members of the Poe

^ Unfortunately, the volumes are not indexed, and Poe entries can only
be discovered by going through them page by page, or examining the
entries relating to particular localities where Poes were likely to be met
with.



THE FAMILY OP^ POE OR POE 5

family in Nottinghamshire about this period is afforded by
Chancery pleadings, and Hearth-money Rolls, in the Public
Record Office, London.

Gedling is a parish in the southern division of the
Wapentake of Thurgarton, and County of Nottingham, situate
within a few miles of Nottingham. On the 28th December,
1630, George Poe, of Gedling, yeoman, son and heir of Anne
Poe, his late mother, deceased, and Robert Gargrave, of Shelford,
son and heir of Alice Gargrave, his late mother, deceased, filed
a bill in Chancery to establish their title to certain messuages,
houses, and lands in the Minories, London, to which they were
entitled as heirs of Anne Poe and Alice Gargrave.

On the ist May, 1668, Simon Poe,^ senior, of the town and
County of Nottingham, cordwainer, filed his bill in the Court of
Chancery for the purpose of recovering possession of a messuage,
house, or tenement in Gedling, which the plaintiff's father,
Robert Poe, had been seised of in fee-tail, but from which the
plaintiff had been excluded by his younger brother, George Poe,
of Gedling, aided by Richard Kemp, of Gedling, and Mary
his wife. The bill also sought to recover a legacy left to the
plaintiff by one George Poe, of Gedling, son of Edward Poe, of
Gedling, the plaintiff's near kinsman.

A Hearth-money Roll of 15 Charles H (1663) of the
hundreds of Thurgarton and Lee, and of Newark and the town
of Newark, shows that in Gedling George Poe was assessed for
a house v/ith one hearth ; and in Newark, Stodman Street,
Richard Poe was assessed for a house with two hearths, and
Margaret Poe for a house with one.

As to Derbyshire, we filnd that Richard Poe, of Ilkeston,
made his will, dated 3rd February, 1580, whereby, like his
namesake of Horringham, Notts, he directed that at his burial
his neighbours were to have a dinner, and further bequeathed a
penny to every person who attended his funeral.

On the 28th August, 1627, John Poe, of Wirksworth, in the
same county, was granted a certificate of innocency of a charge
cognisable by the ecclesiastical authorities.



^ The freedoms granted by the Skinners' Company in 1689 inchide
"John Poe, son of Simon; patrimony." Miscell. Gen. et Herald., 3rd
series, vol. iii, p. 'jt,.



6 THE FAMILY OF POE OR FOE

In a Muster of the County of Derby held in 1638 the name
of John Poe, of Bonsall, appears.^

The funeral certificate of Dr. Leonard Poe states that he was
a grandson of Richard Poe, of Poesfeld, in the County of Derby ;
and as the latter must have been born at the beginning of the
sixteenth century, he appears to be the earliest member of the
Poe family of whom we have any certain knowledge.

In Yorkshire we learn that "Edeth, child of Bryan Poe, of
the Forge," was baptized at Headingley, on loth May, 1637 -^
and in the course of the seventeenth century an occasional
reference occurs in some other parts of England to persons
bearing the name of Poe.

The earliest records, however, of any Poes are found, as
already stated, in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire ; and in
Nottinghamshire also the name was most frequently met with.

The question as to the origin of the surname will be dealt
with at a later stage, when it will be submitted that the cradle
of the race must be sought elsewhere than in Germany.

^ State Papers temp. Charles I, vol. ccccv, in the Public Record Office,
London.

^ Registers of Leeds Parish Church, published by Thoresby Society.



THE FAMILY OF POE OR POE



II.

DR. LEONARD POE : HIS ANCESTRY : HIS MEDICAL CAREER :
HIS FAMILY : HIS WILL.

The eminent physician, Leonard Poe, was a kinsman, and
probably a nephew, of Anthony Poe, of Papplewick. From his
funeral certificate of record in the College of Arms, London, we
learn that he was a son of James Poe, who was a son of Richard
Poe, of Poesfeld, in the County of Derby.

Nothing definite is known as to his early life. He acquired
great skill as a physician without having had any orthodox
medical education, and in 1590 he was one of the physicians of the
celebrated and ill-fated Robert, Earl of Essex. The Earl, being
anxious to legalize the position of his protege as a practitioner,
applied to the College of Physicians in May, 1 590, to admit him
as a member, but the College refused to do so.' However, on
28th February, 1591, an order was made by the Privy Council
— no doubt by the influence of Essex — granting Leonard Poe
permission to practise," and ultimately, on the 13th July, 1596,
he received the licence of the College at the instance of Essex.'

On the 30th June, 1598,* an order was made by the College
that Poe should be imprisoned and deprived of his licence, but
it was found subsequently that he had a letter of protection
from the Privy Council, and could not be imprisoned ; and the
matter between the College and Poe was referred to the arbitra-
tion of seven persons appointed by the Council. In pursuance
of the arbitrators' decision, Poe acknowledged the censure of
the College to be just, and paid a fine of five marks ; and, having
given security for his good behaviour in future, he was there-
after permitted to practise without molestation.

Some time after the accession of James I he became one of

1 Eighth Report Histor. MSS. Com., App. ; MSS. of the College of
Physicians, p. 228.

^ Acts of the Privy Council, 1591-2, p. 294.

3 Eighth Report Histor. MSS. Com., App. ; MSS. of the College of
Physicians, p. 228. * Ibid.



8 THE FAMILY OF POE OR POE

the Physicians to the Household ;^ and in order to improve his
position, his friends, Lords Northampton, Worcester, Salisbury,
and Suffolk applied to the College of Physicians on the 26th
June, 1609, that he might be chosen a Fellow of the College ; but
the College flatly declined, on the ground of Poe's insufficient
education.- However, still more powerful influence was brought


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Online LibraryEdmund Thomas BewleyThe origin and early history of the family of Poë or Poe → online text (page 1 of 8)