Monday, February 27, 2012

Local Legends


I love a good local ghost story.  Not an urban legend where you can find the same tale with minor variations almost anywhere (though those are fun too), but a legend that’s linked to your local area.  When I first moved to Southern Maryland, I had no idea how far back the history went.  There’s a small village nearby, Port Tobacco, that became the county seat back in 1658. 

Since it was located on the Port Tobacco River, it became a seaport and the 2nd largest town in Maryland until they were upstaged by the coming of the railroad to another town.  The population moved, and the town dwindled back to a village, but quite a bit of local legends and history remained.

Dr. Gustavus Brown's house, near where Sims was killed.

One of my favorites is the ghost of the blue dog.  Back when Port Tobacco was a busy seaport they had many waterfront taverns.  Following the American Revolutionary War, a soldier, Charles Thomas Sims, and his blue tick hound had come to one of the taverns on February 8.  He boasted of having gold and a deed to an estate. 

When he left the tavern and headed down Rose Hill Road, he was followed by a local man, Henry Hanos who murdered Sims and his dog and buried the treasure.  When Hanos returned the next day to recover his stolen treasure, he was confronted by the ghost of the blue dog, and died. Ever since then, the ghost of the blue dog has been seen up and down Rose Hill Road, guarding the treasure of his slain master.

The first written account of this story came from Olivia Floyd, confederate spy, and the owner of the property where Sims was killed.  She told the Port Tobacco Times that she had seen the ghost of the Blue Dog. 

The first time I heard the tale I was coming back from a play at high school and we were taking Rose Hill Road home.  Beautiful country road during the day and damn dark at night.  I’ll never forget the shiver that went through me as I searched the trees, hoping (and not hoping) that I’d catch a glimpse of the dog.  What made it so scary, was the legend claimed that if you saw the blue dog near the rock where his master was killed, you would die soon after.  Supposedly, you can hear him on the anniversary of his master’s death.  I haven’t been anywhere near Rose Hill Road on February 8th, let me tell you.
Now whenever I pass Rose Hill Road and the Blue Dog Saloon named after the legend, I point them out to my son and tell him the tale of Charles Sims and his blue dog and how the dog howls and mourns for his slain master.  It’s usually at night and we both shiver and watch the road, hoping to catch a glimpse of the ghost dog.  One of these nights, I'm sure we will.  Please tell me some of your own local legends.  I love hearing about them.


7 comments:

  1. ooo, great post Margie.

    One of my faves is the story that goes with a small pyramid tomb in a city churchyard.

    It's said to have been built by James Mackenzie, a gambler who would lose his soul to the devil when he was buried. The tale goes that he built the pyramid so that he could be entombed sitting up--ie not buried in the ground--and holding a winning hand.

    http://www.ancient-egypt.co.uk/liverpool/pyramid/index.htm

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  2. Oh wow, that's really cool Kim. Are there rumors about him haunting his pyramid?

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  3. Not that I've seen, but one set of pyramid photos does have a lot of light orbs floating around it... :D

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  4. I remember this story many times from my childhood. I grew up in White Plains and travelled Rose Hill Road many times in the dark. Everytime I was freaked out by the possibility of breaking down along that deserted, wooded, very spooky stretch of road.

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  5. I remember this story many times from my childhood. I grew up in White Plains and travelled Rose Hill Road many times in the dark. Everytime I was freaked out by the possibility of breaking down along that deserted, wooded, very spooky stretch of road.

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  6. Hey Margurite,

    I grew up in White Plains and remember hearing this ghost story many times during my childhood. Drove Rose Hill Road many times in the dark during high school. I never saw the Blue Dog, but boy was I freaked out at the possibility of breaking down along that route.

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  7. Hey Margurite,

    I grew up in White Plains and remember hearing this ghost story many times during my childhood. Drove Rose Hill Road many times in the dark during high school. I never saw the Blue Dog, but boy was I freaked out at the possibility of breaking down along that route.

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