If you have designs on the treasure that legend says is hidden along Rose Hill Road in Port Tobacco, you’d do best to think again.
That is, unless you want to meet the specter of a huge dog that protects his master’s fortune.
That dog is the Blue Dog, and he is a central character in what may be the oldest ghost story in the United States. Faithful to the end, the Blue Dog has been spooking locals and tourists alike for hundreds of years.
You don’t have to look far online to find Southern Maryland’s Legend of the Blue Dog. The Blue Dog Saloon and Restaurant, a restaurant and bar in Port Tobacco, has the story posted to its website. It is also hanging inside the restaurant along with a painting by Don Zimmer (shown below) that depicts the scene.
And while the most recent sighting of the Blue Dog was in the 1970s, you just might hear a ghostly howl late at night in Port Tobacco – especially around Feb. 8, the day the story occurred. Here’s what happened:
Most retellings of the story place it after the American Revolution. Soldier Charles Sims has just come into some wealth, and he and his faithful dog, a Blue Tick Hound, went to one of the local watering holes for a drink. As often happens, too much drink loosens the tongue, and this is what happened to Charles Sims. He began to talk and boast of his riches and the deed he had to a property. He had these with him in the bar; whether he flaunted them around we don’t know, but to be sure, the locals were listening.
One of those listening was Port Tobacco resident Henry Hanos. When Sims left the bar, Hanos and some others followed him. They overtook Sims and his dog along Rose Hill Road, attacking him and killing both Sims and his pet. They fell on a rock near the road. Hanos took the fortune and buried it beneath a nearby holly tree and fled.
But when Hanos tried to retrieve his treasure, Sims’ faithful servant wouldn’t have it. The legend says that the ghost of a large blue dog appeared, howled, and charged at Hanos. Once again, Hanos fled the scene.
Hanos never did get that treasure he buried. He reportedly fell ill and died suddenly shortly thereafter.
If you’re brave enough to travel Rose Hill Road, look for the rock where Sims and his dog are said to have been murdered. And if you’re brave enough to go there at night, you might just learn for yourself whether the Legend of the Blue Dog is true.
More retellings of the story online:
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