Monthly Archives: September 2012

Col. Baker and Annington

Why does a man, who was a senator from Oregon and is buried in the military cemetery in the Presidio in San Francisco, who is memorialized with his name on Fort Baker and Baker Beach in San Francisco as well as places in Oregon, whose statue is in the U.S. Capitol, haunt a house in Poolesville, MD? Such is the story of Col. Edward Dickinson Baker and Annington. Col. Baker died at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff in October of 1861, but his last meal was at Annington and it is his spirit which is thought to still wander the rooms and ride through the the grounds.

The back of Baker’s tombstone.


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Filed under Civil War, White's Ferry

Brookeville Woolen Mill

The Brookeville Woolen Mill is home to the spirit Lily Lilac, star of many a newspaper article at Halloween. Lily was so named because she left the scent of lilacs whenever she appeared as well as the occasional lip prints on mirrors and windows .

The Brookeville Woolen Mill is actually the miller’s house, the mill being just down the hill from the house (you can see a glimpse of it through the trees in the picture above). The buildings date to the late 1700s and were a fulling mill and woolen factory. Many people don’t realize that Montgomery County had a lot of manufacturing in small mills. The county’s geologic composition means that there are a lot of healthy streams throughout the county (as evidenced by our current stream valley park system) creating ample water power – ideal for mills. The Brookeville area had many mills, including a mill town, Triadelphia.

Evidence of this mill heritage remains in the many mill road names found throughout the county. Some of the mill buildings, like the Brookeville Woolen Mill, have found new life as homes and businesses (the Hyattstown Mill may be the only mill space used for public programs  in the county) and the ruins of many mills can be found in county parks (Black Rock Mill is a good example). To see what an operating mill is like, the Pierce Mill in Rock Creek Park (once part of Montgomery County) is  a functioning grist mill and living museum.

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Clifton, one of Montgomery County’s oldest structures having been built around 1742, is also home to one of it’s longest recorded ghosts. Stories of Aunt Betsy date to before the Civil War. The story of the house and its hauntings are legendary in the Sandy Spring area, where Clifton is located.

Dorothy took these photographs of the coffin door at Clifton. A coffin door is a small door sometimes found in older homes. Supposedly, they were used to bring the coffin in and out of a house for the wake so the body did not have to pass through the passage the living used. I have some questions about the validity of this claim because this door, and many of the others you find on the internet, seem to me to be too narrow to fit a coffin if it were to be passed straight into the house. Also, to have a door used for such a narrow purpose seems impractical to me. However, in the 18th and 19th century, death was more a part of every day life and perhaps such a door would get more use. Has anyone else heard of coffin doors? What do you think?

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Filed under Ednor, Sandy Spring

The Tommyknocker and the Maryland Mine

Pictured here is what remains of the Maryland Mine, Montgomery County’s largest gold mine and the site of one of my favorite ghost stories – the Tommyknocker. A Tommyknocker is a special type of ghost that inhabits mines where a miner has died. Montgomery County once had a number of gold mines. The Maryland Mine produced gold following the Civil War until the 1930s, although it fell in productivity following the explosion in 1906 which created the Tommyknocker. When the mine closed, there were tons of unprocessed ore, hard quartz, left over. The ore was used in the construction of MacArthur Boulevard.

If you want to see the mine site yourself, it is located just outside the Great Falls entrance for the C & O Canal National Historical Park in Potomac located at the intersection of Falls Road and MacArthur Boulevard. On MacArthur you will see the sign for the park entrance. Just behind it is a trail that leads past the mine. It is quite close to the road. Find a safe place to pull off on MacArthur and then just walk in.

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Honeysuckle Hill

Also in Goshen is Honeysuckle Hill, home to two tragic spirits. Near the house is the family cemetery. The cemetery is very overgrown, but we did manage to find the tombstone  for  Annie Linthicum. She is one of the ghosts of Honeysuckle Hill. Her stone reads ‘”Though he slay me, yet, will I trust in him. ”

You can also see my children, Mira and Jered, climbing over the wall that surrounds the cemetery. The step ladder is there because there is no gate or entrance to the cemetery. The only stairs are on the inside of the wall. Has anyone heard or seen something like this elsewhere? These photos are thanks to my friend Joanna, who managed to take much better photos of the cemetery than Dorothy or I.


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Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park

The historic Dentzel Carousel in Glen Echo Park was a favorite treat for mys children. Imagine my delight when I was told the wonderful story included in ISOMG:MC about its haunting.

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Old Goshen Church

The Old Goshen Church dates back to 1790, although current building was built following the Civil War. It was originally a Methodist meetinghouse. There have been multiple sightings of a skeletal ghost near the church. Another story prominently features an oak leaf motif. We searched the graveyard looking for a gravestone that had what could be called a stylized oak leaf. We found many different kinds of leaves, but this is the only thing that came close. What do you think?

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