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Haunted Eastern Shore: Ghostly Tales

Patty Cannon, a Canadian by birth married a Delaware man and moved to the Seaford area in the early nineteenth century. She became involved in illegal slave trade, kidnapping, torturing, and selling African Americans (both free and slave) into southern slave markets.

She was feared by many and blazed a murderous trail of crime, theft, and murder up and down the Eastern Shore. Her home and farmland straddled Dorchester and Caroline Counties, with portions of land in Sussex County, Delaware. Legend states that when the law was coming after her, she'd flee to a part of her land that was out of the arresting officer's jurisdiction.

Around 1829 all three law enforcement entities pursued her simultaneously to arrest her on charges of murder. The jurisdictions agreed to let Sussex County, Delaware have the arrest, and the arresting officer took Patty Cannon to the jail in Georgetown, DE. It is widely believed that once in her jail cell, Patty voluntarily took poison she had concealed in the hem of her dress. She was found dead in her cell, and was buried outside the jailhouse in a pauper's grave.... never being brought to trial for her horrendous crimes.

Years later, the jail needed a parking lot and decided to convert the pauper's grave yard into an needed area for parking automobiles. Patty was exhumed and re-interred, but somehow a law enforcement deputy took possession of her skull to keep as a morose souvenir. The skull remained in the deputy's family until they lent it to the Dover, Delaware Public Library.... where it still resides in the office of the Director, tightly secured in a train case with documentation of its provenance.

I was able to visit the library, speak to the Director, read the documentation and hold Patty's still "very hard" head. Very creepy... very sad ... yet interesting to handle such a tangible link to the Eastern Shore's haunted past.  Below is a photo I snapped of the relic.

More on Patty Cannon's trail of tears and her disconnected remains is covered in "Haunted Eastern Shore."

Big Lizz | Capt. Leonard Tawes  |  Crisfield Tales   |  Hanging Tree  |  Hope House  | Kitty Knight House  |   Patty Cannon  |  Richardson Maritime Museum   |  Marshall Price -Murder of Sallie Dean  |  Shoal Creek Manor  |  St Paul's Cemetery - Rock Hall   |  Tales From Down Below, Lower Dorchester  |  Two Haunted Tales from Somerset  |  Whitemarsh Cemetery  |  Willson's Chance - Ghost of Annie Belle Carter  |  Wish Sheppard - Caroline Jail


Haunted Eastern Shore by Mindie Burgoyne

Haunted Eastern Shore
Ghostly Tales from East of the Chesapeake
by Mindie Burgoyne

ISBN: 1596297204
PRICE: $17.99
160 Pages
Published by History Press
Haunted America series

Order Your Copy Today
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Book Description:

They walk beside the murky waters of the Chesapeake Bay, linger among the fetid swamps and roam the manor halls. These are the tormented souls who refuse to leave the sites of their demise. From pitiless smugglers to reluctant brides, the ghostly figures of the Eastern Shore are at once terrifying and tragic. Mindie Burgoyne takes readers on a spine-tingling journey as she recounts the grisly events at the Cosden Murder Farm and the infamous legend of Patty Cannon. Tread the foggy lanes of Kent Manor Inn and linger among Revolutionary War dead to discover the otherworldly occupants of Maryland's most haunted shore.

Haunted sites mentioned in the book include:

  • Cecil County - Holly Hall, Old Bohemia, Mitchell House

  • Kent County - Cosden Murder Farm, White House Farm, St. Paul's Cemetery & Bridge, Kitty Knight House

  • Queen Anne's County - Bloomingdale, Kent Manor Inn

  • Caroline County - The Tale of Wish Shepherd, The Murder Sallie Dean, Athol - a Child's Ghost in Henderson, Willson's Chance

  • Talbot County - The Lost City of Dover, Whitemarsh Cemetery, The Wilderness, Tunis Mills Hanging Tree

  • Dorchester County - Shoal Creek Manor, Patty Cannon's Trail of Tears, Suicide Bridge, Green Briar Swamp & Big Lizz, Tales From Down Below

  • Wicomico County - The Ghost Light Road

  • Worcester County - Cellar House, the Snow Hill Inn

  • Somerset County - Ananias Crockett's House, Holland's Island, Vance Miles House.

Tales include narratives given to Salisbury University Folklore students thirty years ago, describing hauntings, ghosts and legends of the Eastern Shore.

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