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Haunted Eastern Shore: Ghostly Tales

Whitemarsh Graveyard - Trappe, Talbot County, MD

The old Whitemarsh Church was first attended in 1665. It’s said that the church was built with English bricks brought over on clipper ships. The bricks – and all other supplies – would have been paid for in tobacco, which was the currency of the day. The church was built strategically on a main road that linked Oxford to the lost city of Dover – two centers of population in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The church was located about halfway between the two port towns and also served as the parish for the entire region we now know as Trappe.

In 1722 and in 1751 the church was enlarged to accommodate the growing population, but as Episcopal churches sprung up in Easton, Oxford and Trappe, the Whitemarsh church fell into disrepair and lost much of its congregation to nearby sprouting villages and towns. In 1897 the old church caught fire and the building was destroyed leaving only the brick ruins seen today by those who drive down Route 50 at the Maynadier Road crossing.

Records show that Rev. Daniel Maynadier served as the rector for Whitemarsh church from 1714 until his death 30 years later in 1745. He met and married Hanna in 1720 after he had taken the position as rector. Hanna may have been the daughter of Whitemarsh’s original vestryman.

There is a haunting legend about Hanna Maynadier that tells of her becoming ill dying shortly afterward. She was buried in the church yard of Whitemarsh. She had a dying wish to be buried with her favorite ring placed upon her finger. The ring was quite valuable, and two strangers who attended the funeral heard about rector’s wife being buried with the ring. They decided to rob the grave that evening. The two fiends snuck into the cemetery after nightfall and exhumed Hanna’s dead body. They found the ring on her finger but couldn’t manage to pry it off. They decided to cut the finger off Hanna’s body. One of the thieves pulled a knife and began to sever the ring finger.

Surprisingly, Mrs. Maynadier was not dead, but in a coma. The pain of the knife slicing into her finger caused her to awaken with a shriek. She sat straight up in her coffin. The thieves were so frightened by seeing Mrs. Maynadier “rise from the dead” they immediately abandoned their “grave robbing” endeavor and bolted from the scene in horror and disbelief. Hanna Maynadier - sick and feeble - managed to gather her shroud around her, exit the coffin and trek the one mile home where her grieving husband was spending his first night alone without her. She made it to the front door of the rectory where she offered a subtle knock with her bleeding hand. Then she collapsed at the door.

Her husband found her and pulled her into the house. With great care, he saw she received medical attention and nursed her back to health. It is said that Hanna Maynadier lived many years after the incident, and even bore several children. But that the bloodstain from her hand never could be removed and is still visible on the door against which she fell.

Some believe Hanna can still be seen, wandering around the cemetery with her shroud about her looking for the way home. Today husband and wife – Daniel and Hanna Maynadier lie eternally side by side in a shared grave beneath the chancel of Whitemarsh church. A commemorative slab marks the site.

There is a wonderful photo taken by Bryan Thomas of Whitemarsh cemetery in the evening that shows its haunting mystique... pictured above.

When I was researching this book, I decided to visit the Whitemarsh ruins and see for myself if it seemed haunted or had evidence of paranormal sensitivities. I’m no authority on this, but when approaching a site, I prefer to be quiet and listen for “signs.” Is anything abnormal – anything out of place? Do I get a strange feeling, a sense of peacefulness, or a sense of foreboding?

I entered with my car at the far end of the cemetery and drove past the rear of the church ruins and parked. I approached the church from the west side (the side Route 50 borders). I was amazed at how many new graves are in this cemetery. Later I discovered that this is an active cemetery for a church in Trappe. I decided I would enter the ruined church through what used to be the front entrance. As I approached the side of the church, I noticed the marker and tribute to Robert Morris which I tried to read aloud into my digital tape recorder (I use this for research notes while at locations).

The wind kicked up so furiously, that I couldn’t record my voice. I turned the recorder off. The wind died down so I began again. Again the wind rose so furiously that I couldn’t record. I decided to photograph the marker instead. When I lifted my camera the wind started to blow- and blew so hard that I couldn’t balance the camera to take the photo. I gave up. The wind died down again.

I walked to front of the church and stood on the walkway between the boxwoods. As I approached, the wind picked up again. There are mature trees nearby, so the rustle of leaves was quite loud. But through the rushing wind and the sound of the trees I could hear a tiny ringing in the distance - a tinkling like a bell. I surveyed the cemetery and couldn’t identify the source of the ringing.

I began to walk up to the church and again a huge rush of wind nearly knocked me down … and I could hear the ringing, quite soft, but definite. I looked again at my surroundings and noticed at the very western edge of the cemetery was a grave that had a tiny wind chime placed on it. It was from this wind chime with its one tiny bell that my ringing sound ascended. Notable was that there were many wind chimes on graves throughout the cemetery, all of them larger that this wind chime. Yet, they weren’t ringing in this ferocious wind.

I entered the church and the foundation is still intact. The marker for the Maynadiers is prominent. I paused and surveyed the ruins and the surroundings and thought – this is a thin place, where the veil between this world and the next is transparent.

Whitemarsh Church before falling into ruins. 
(This and the photo above are courtesy of the Talbot County Free LIbrary).


More tales can be found in Haunted Eastern Shore: Ghostly Tales East of the Chesapeake ... be sure to get a copy.

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
BECOME A FAN of Haunted Eastern Shore

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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