The Eerie Tales of a Haunted Eastern Shore
Oct 21, 2013 10:28AM ● Published by Cate Reynolds
Local lore has it that ghosts have held a presence at locations across the Shore for centuries, with each haunting tracing back to a specific occurrence. In celebration of Halloween, we share two of those stories written by Mindie Burgoyne, author of Haunted Eastern Shore.
Daniel and Hannah Maynadier and the Whitemarsh CemeteryAll that remains of the old White Marsh Church is a hole in a ruined brick wall. It began as St. Peter’s Parish in 1665, when a church was built halfway between Oxford and the now lost city of Dover. It served the area we know today as Trappe.
Inside the ruins, an iron plaque commemorates a former rector and his wife. Daniel Maynadier was a French Huguenot who fled persecution around 1690. In 1714, he became rector of St. Peter’s, and in 1720, he married a local girl, Hannah Martin. Not long after they were married, Hannah became ill and died, or so they thought. Her bereaved husband fulfilled her dying wish to be buried wearing the beautiful, jewel-studded ring he gave her on their wedding day. The rector laid his wife to rest in the church graveyard, but later when all was quiet and still, two grave robbers dug Hannah up hoping to snatch the ring.
The two thieves worked fast. They removed the lid from the coffin and saw Hannah’s restful body, wrapped in a burial shroud, hands across her chest—and on one hand the beautiful ring. One robber grabbed the hand and tried to remove the ring, but it wouldn’t budge. He tried again, but Hannah’s finger was swollen around the ring. The other robber handed his partner a knife and told him to cut off the finger and do it quickly before they were seen. As he sliced through the skin of her finger, Hannah Maynadier woke from a comatose sleep. She screamed out in pain.
The horrified robbers figured Hannah’s ghost was protesting and confronting them. They fled in haste leaving poor Hannah barely conscious, and bleeding in her open coffin. She managed to crawl out of the grave, gather her burial shroud around herself and hobble back home, where her bereaved husband was spending his first night alone— without her. She offered a subtle knock with her bleeding hand and fell against the door.
Daniel was elated to see his dear wife alive. Eventually, Hannah regained her health and lived for many years giving birth to several Maynadier children. Daniel served as rector until his death in 1745. The couple was buried side by side in the church graveyard.
If having your grave robbed once is bad—what about having it robbed twice? In 1915, vandals reportedly robbed the Manaydier graves in such a disturbing way that no remains of Daniel or Hannah were ever found.
There have been many sightings of the Manaydiers walking near their now empty graves or standing in the old church ruins. Some say they’ve seen Hannah on moonlit nights moving awkwardly down Manadier Road fretfully clasping her burial shroud.
Apparitions, whispers in the wind, and strange musical sounds in this graveyard have all been reported over the years. It’s now an active cemetery for the Trappe community with the new graves mixed in with the old. But the haunting presence, the mystical quality of the place, is still palpable.
Wish Sheppard and the Denton JailIn 1915, a 19-year-old African American boy named Aloysius “Wish” Sheppard was arrested for raping Mildred Clark, a young white girl from Federalsburg. He was held at the Denton jail, where he confessed to the rape but later recanted, stating it was made under duress. He said his interrogators threatened to release him to the angry mob gathered outside the jail if he didn’t confess.
Wish was sentenced to death by hanging, and people came from all around to witness it. His execution was the first legal execution in Caroline County in 100 years. It was also the last.
Some say that Wish resisted being led from his cell to the gallows, gripping his cell walls trying prevent being sent to his death. Others refute this, saying Wish left his cell calmly, seeming to be at peace. Regardless of whether or not he gripped the wall upon leaving, he did leave behind a handprint on his cell wall, which is still there today.
The jail used to include a house for the sheriff and his family. Louis Andrews, who served as Caroline County sheriff for 30 years, moved into the house when he was 10 years old and his father was the sheriff. In an interview, he spoke about himself and his father coping with prisoners who said the ghost of Wish Sheppard was haunting them. He also recalled seeing the handprint on Wish’s cell wall and painting over it, plastering over it, and even smearing concrete over it, but the handprint always came through again. When the jail was renovated, Wish’s old cell with his handprint was sealed behind a wall.
Sheriff Andrews said inmates complained they heard footsteps and saw the shadow of Wish Sheppard in the halls late at night. They heard chains clanking up the steel steps leading to the second floor. Sometimes they’d see Wish’s red eyes glowing. One prisoner, who was covered in scratches, bemoaned that Wish entered his cell and fought with him. Several other prisoners, all in separate cells, told the sheriff that their watches were taken from them and showed the marks on their arms from where they were ripped off. The watches were later found in the jail yard, broken.
When the jail underwent major renovations in the late 20th century, the hauntings continued but shifted from prisoners to the staff. Louis Andrews’ son, Charles, who had become the warden, said employees would hear footsteps in empty halls, the elevator would ride empty between floors, locked file cabinet doors would open and slam shut in unoccupied rooms, and there were even times when staff members would see the red eyes of Wish Sheppard peering at them through interior windows and doors.
Scores of employees and contract workers in the jail have reported paranormal activity, unexplained occurrences, and a sense of foreboding there. The unrestful spirit of Wish Sheppard may be getting his revenge.
Click here to see The Eerie Tales of a Haunted Annapolis