- Lovecraft Family
- HPL records an elaborate family history for his paternal ancestors, most of it deriving from records copied from his great-aunt Sarah Allgood (d. 1908) in 1905. The Lovecraft family line in England as given by HPL in his letter to Frank Belknap Long ( SL2.182) is unproven, even to the extent of identifying his alleged great-great-grandfather, Thomas Lovecraft (1745–1826), who HPL claimed was forced to sell his seat at Minster Hall near Newton-Abbot in Devonshire in 1823 to pay off a debt, resulting in the scattering of his family. His great-grandparents, Joseph S.Lovecraft (1775– 1850) and Mary Fulford Lovecraft (1782–1864), emigrated from Devonshire to New York state, together with six children (John, William, Joseph, Aaron, George, and Mary), arriving in Rochester, N.Y., in 1831. (The difficulty in locating immigration records concerning the Lovecraft family at probable ports of entry in the United States suggests that there may be some validity to the tradition preserved by HPL that the emigrants first settled in Ontario, Canada, in 1827.) Although HPL stated that his great-grandfather died on an experimental farm in upstate New York shortly after emigrating, Joseph S.Lovecraft, the patriarch of the American Lovecraft line, actually survived to die in Rochester in 1850 at an advanced age. In the 1850 census of Rochester, all Joseph and Mary’s sons, with the exception of Aaron, may be found listed as tradesmen; HPL’s grandfather, George Lovecraft (c. 1818–1895), for example, is listed as a harness-maker. However, the brothers were listed as property owners and fairly prosperous. George Lovecraft and his wife Helen Allgood (1821– 1881) removed from Rochester to Mt. Vernon, N.Y., in the 1860s; they had three children who survived to adulthood: Emma Jane Lovecraft Hill (1847–1925), Winfield Scott Lovecraft (1853–1898), and Mary Louise Lovecraft Mellon (1855–1916). HPL appears to have had very little contact with his aunts Emma and Mary. He was almost certainly the last of the male Lovecraft line on the North American continent, although there are still living descendants of Joseph S.Lovecraft and Mary Fulford Lovecraft in the female line.See R.Alain Everts, “The Lovecraft Family in America,” Xenophile 2, No. 6 (October 1975): 7, 16; Kenneth W.Faig, Jr., “Lovecraft’s Ancestors,” Crypt No. 57 (St. John’s Eve 1988): 19–25; Richard D.Squires, Stern Fathers ’Neath the Mould: The Lovecraft Family in Rochester (Necronomicon Press, 1995).
An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz.