In a letter dated November 16, 1831, Poe wrote to his foster-father John Allan in need of assistance. Earlier in the year, he had gotten himself kicked out of West Point Military Academy. About three months earlier, his older brother (the sailor) died of tuberculosis. Lost and alone in the world, Poe was getting desperate, which led him back to John Allan, the foster-father who had lost all interest in him.
In fact, John Allan finally had a legitimate heir, a son born earlier that year to his second wife, Louisa Patterson Allan.
In the letter, Poe makes a startling revelation: "I was arrested eleven days ago for a debt which I never expected to have to pay." Whether this was a monetary debt or not is uncertain. He says part of the expense was on his brother Henry, dating to about two years prior. "I would rather have done any thing on earth than to apply to you again... If you will only send me this one time $80, by Wednesday next, I will never forget your kindness & generosity." There is no evidence that this arrest actually happened (police records of this incident, for example, do not exist). Further, Allan should find no evidence that Poe would have paid him back, having just said that his last debt was one he "never expected to have to pay."
Poe's request for aid was in vain. About four months after this letter was written, John Allan wrote the first draft of his will, in which he left absolutely nothing of his vast fortune for the boy he raised for nearly two decades.
The letter shows a transition period in Poe's young adulthood. He wanted to hold on to the hope that Allan, the man he once called "Pa," still had some concern for him. At the same time, however, he wanted to make it on his own. Rather than return home after his ordeal in jail (if it ever happened), he continued to live his life on his own terms.