Lillian May Poe


Lillian May Poe 1912 (Glass Plate Negative - Nash Collection)

Lillian May Poe 1912 (Glass Plate Negative – Nash Collection)

Lillian May Poe was arguably the most esteemed citizen of Georgetown, PA  during the 20th century.  She was the town historian; a piano music teacher for most of the children of Georgetown ; pianist and organist of the Georgetown Methodist Episcopal Church; the Sunday School Superintendent; a teacher; newspaper columnist; a renown storyteller; a gourmet cook; and overall most charming host in the village.  In general, the Poes were all over-achievers; all were well-brought-up individuals,  and all were touched by history.  Specifically, Lillian May Poe was a conservator of vanishing standards.  Whether at home, in the Methodist Church, or on a steamboat, or at a radio station recording room, she moved amongst antiques, relics of past glory, and monuments of her own achievement.


Lillian May Poe, the last of the Jacob Poe line, carried well the mystique that goes with the name.  Like her grandfather Capt Jacob Poe who was known to all in Georgetown  as “Uncle Jake”,  Lillian May was known as “Ning” or “Aunt Ning” to most.  Like her father Charley Poe, Lillian May was a great entertainer.  Her first love, after her family, was her piano.  Music held forth in The Poe House which was a favorite gathering place for the young people in town.  Lillian May had that special helping of charm and wit, and the hospitable front door of The Poe House was always open.[1]

Born on 6 Sep 1891 in Georgetown, Beaver Co, PA, Lillian May’s parents were Charles Edgar Poe and Mary (May) Ellen Lyon.  Her mother, May, died on 22 Feb 1895 when Lillian May was but three years old.  Ten years later, on 28 Dec 1905, Charles Edgar remarried.  Lillian was fourteen when Annie M Carson became her stepmother.  Annie was born in Wheeling WV and spent much of her early life in Brooklyn,, NY.  An avid reader with an enviable collection of first edition books, Annie was a gentle and sophisticated influence on Lillian May.  Annie died on 4 Sep 1914 when Lillian was a young woman of twenty-three.  Charley Poe her father died on 19 Mar 1939.  George WE Poe died on 16 Feb 1943 and Aunt Parthenia Parr Calhoon died  on 10 Jan 1946.  On 6 Jul 1971, Lillian May died ending 148 years of Poes living in The Poe House where history was made.  Georgetown never recovered from her loss.

Lillian May Poe Report Card1906-1907

Lillian May Poe Report Card1906-1907


Lillian May excelled in school.  She won poetry contests and other awards.  I do not know whether her formal education extended beyond the local Georgetown school.


The boy next door, Clyne Kinsey, was Lillian May’s first and true love.  In 1912 he wrote several letters to Lillian expressing his feelings – “love sparks to admiration, admiration flames to love, and love blazes with a fury…”.   In a postcard dated 5 Sep 1912, he informed that a birthday would be waiting for her at the RR station.  Clyne was three years older than Lillian May.  Something went amiss.









Clyne Kinsey Wedding 1917 (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

Clyne Kinsey Wedding 1917 (Anna L and John F Nash Collection)

The world went its own way.  Clyne Kinsey, later, rose to a senior mangement position in Crucible Steel in Midland, PA.  He married Mary Catherine Books on 3 Apr 1917 in Sharpsburg, PA.  Lillian May pasted his wedding notification in her hand-made book of memories and saved the letters written in 1912.    Even Sherlock Holmes would argue that their friendship was important, but I feel that the pain of the happiness pursued and lost belonged to Clyne.


On 11 Oct 1922 Lillian May married Dr Louis Henry Wagner who lived and practiced medicine in Cleveland.

Dr Wagner died on 2 Jul 1935 in Cleveland.  Dr Wagner’s children from his first marriage were grown, so Lillian May returned to The Poe House in Georgetown to care for her aging father, Charley Poe, who had had a stroke, her uncle, George WE Poe who was 92 years of age, and her first cousin, Parthenia Parr Calhoon, who had lost an eye in 1927.



Her father, Charles Edgar Poe , died on 19 Mar 1939 and her Uncle George WE died on 16 Feb 1943.   Parthenia Parr Calhoon, known as Aunt Parthenia, also lived in The Poe House with Lillian May till her death on 10 Jan 1946.  For the next twenty-five years Lillian May lived alone in The Poe House .

Biography in progress.  I fear I can not do justice to Mrs Wagner’s memory.









[1]  James F Mullooly, Steamoat ‘Round the Bend, Fort Vance Historical Society, 1994, p182.