Walt Whitman House), and Mrs. Davis moved in a month later.
The home was a two-story row house with six rooms and no furnace. It cost Whitman $1,750. Friends and family did not approve; one called it "the worst house and the worst situated." Another noted it "was the last place one would expect a poet to select for a home."
Davis became Whitman's housekeeper in exchange for a room. When she moved in, she brought her cat, a dog, two turtledoves, and a canary (and probably more). Whitman biographer Justin Kaplan speculates that she hoped they would get married. Whitman hoped she would help him enough that he could rest and write at will. "I am very lame & find it difficult to get about here, even small distances," he confided to a friend after Davis moved in. She was, however, "in every respect (handiwork & atmosphere) the very best and most acceptable that could have befallen me."
After Whitman's death, he left Davis $1,000 in his will. Whitman was never well-off but he was comfortable financially. Davis believed she was owed much more, and sued the estate, claiming she spent much of her own money out of pocket on his behalf.