Hundreds of years ago, probably in the late seventeen hundreds, there was a soldier and his beloved dog. The soldier and dog were the very best of companions and supposedly this particular soldier was fairly wealthy. He and his dog companion lived in the Port Tobacco area of Charles County and were walking home from a local bar one night, when a couple of rugged thieves overtook them. They beat the soldier to death, killing his dog along with him.
Legend has it that a rock known as “peddler’s rock” can still be seen around the Rose Hill Manor. This is the rock that the poor soldier was thrown against…fatally wounding him. The dog was supposedly killed after his master, in order to stop the beast from attacking the thieves during their despicable attempts to rob the man of his lifelong earnings. After they murdered the unfortunate soldier, they fled the scene…
Later the two thieves returned to peddler’s rock on Rose Hill, in search for the riches and the deed to a home and property that was said to have been in possession of the now-dead soldier. When they got close to peddler’s rock, they noticed that the soldier’s body was gone and there was a luminous ghostly dog standing at the site! The dog could have been black in life but in death he appeared to have a bluish coat…and glowing eyes. The men froze in their steps…they couldn’t do anything but stare at the ghostly dog in front of them. In minutes, but what seemed like hours, the blue dog gave up returning their stares and let out a hooooowwwwwwl …and then did something that the men were fearing from the moment they laid eyes on the phantom dog…it charged right at them!
The two thieves fled in pure terror, never to return to the rock in search for the hidden or perhaps buried treasures.
The “peddler’s rock” is a large rock that is said to still be present and located on the Rose Hill Manor property. It is said to have red stains and lies on a hill that is historically known as Rose Hill, but when keeping with the phantom blue dog legend, is more appropriately known as Blue Dog Hill.
Some speculations and different theories on the story have been told by locals throughout the years. The story began being told and recorded in the late eighteen hundreds, most of which told the story about a soldier who had just come in to his riches. Others say that the man was in fact a peddler who had stolen the treasures from someone else in the area and that is why he was killed…for being a lowly thief himself. Whatever the true story, the legend started somehow and someway…and continues to this day.
Sightings of the blue dog have occurred since the eighteen hundreds, with the more recent and well-known sightings taking place in the 1970s. Though it is very difficult to track these folks down, the locals of Port Tobacco claim that you can still hear the blue dog howling at night…sad howls that seem to emanate from Rose Hill. The story that is uttered to frightened children in the local schools commonly refers to the blue dog who “hovers over peddler’s rock”, waiting to guard his master’s treasure and possibly his remains from whomever may come to desecrate or steal. Some have even said to be chased by the blue dog…most people will not go near peddler’s rock at night and never ever on Halloween!
There is another story very similar to the Blue Dog Hill of Maryland’s lore that is told in a part of England, baring much resemblance to the soldier’s sad tale of death and the phantom dog’s haunting of a rock. Who knows if this story wasn’t just carried over to the New World from the English colonists in Maryland or if it actually happened. Either way, the story is very spooky and lends a chilling twist to Maryland’s historical Rose Hill Manor and Park.