Perry Hall and the Frenchman's Oak - Haunted!
|Perry Hall today - Talbot County - Miles River|
The History of Perry Hall
Senator William Perry II married Elizabeth Hindman, whose family owned property on the Miles River. William moved into the property in 1790 and began to enlarge it and expand the plantation making it into one of the most prominent properties on the Eastern Shore in the late eighteenth century. Eventually, William Perry became the President of the Maryland Senate and he named his manor house Perry Hall. It still stands today on the Miles River in a part of Talbot County known as Kirkham.
Old Ghost Story
In the early 1700s when the Hindmans (Mrs. Perry's family) still owned the property, a strange event occurred. So strange that its story has survived nearly 150 years of oral tradition. Polly and Sally Hindman (sisters) occupied the house. In a violent storm, Polly raised a window to call out to a servant on the lawn. Lightning struck hitting her and coming through the window to the grandfather clock against the wall. The electric shock caused the door of the clock to swing open and gold pieces came pouring out onto the floor. There is no account as to whether or not Polly survived.
The Frenchman's Oak
|Oak tree on the property by the riverfront|
The young lady, however, was betrothed to another man who had observed the couple's clandestine trysts on the lawn. He watched as the officer slipped out of the hollow oak and met the young lady.
The jilted man hid near the tree one night and confronted the lovers as they met on the lawn. He slew the French officer with his sword as the young lady watched in horror. She died from grief shortly thereafter.
For years waterman, sea captains and passengers who sailed up the Miles River at twilight would witness the faint figures of the Frenchman and his lady walking hand-in-hand across the lawn of Perry Hall. Sometimes, the lovers would pause for a kiss beneath the giant oak. The old hollow oak is long gone, but some folks still glimpse the figures of those two lovers when the mist is thick, or the night is lit by a full moon.
William Perry's Treasure
William Perry II loved his wealth, and was a shrewd businessman. Local lore states that he kept his money in metal boxes in a closet on the second floor of Perry Hall, but when Senate was in session, he would bury the boxes on his property to keep it safe. In 1799 after burying his treasure on the Perry Hall grounds, he headed for Annapolis. Unfortunately, he died suddenly while in Annapolis and no one knew where all his assets were buried. They were never found. Eventually the estate fell into disrepair and burned.
Over the years various people have looked for it. Treasure hunters have dug over 100 holes on the property, but never located the missing treasure. Perry's descendents developed the plantation into one of the wealthiest and most celebrated properties on the Miles River. Garden parties, dances and other celebrations were not uncommon on the grounds. Music for some of these dances was provided by a slave named Old Ned. He'd been won by Mr. Perry in a card game played with Col. Edward Lloyd of the neighboring Wye Plantation. Ned was a fiddler who entertained at all the parties, and he lived at Perry Hall until he died at very old age. Since his death, people still see Old Ned. Most associated with Perry Hall believe Old Ned never left.
What People Say Today - an my experience there
The house and property are now owned by MEBA School in Easton. The house was renovated to be used as a guest house and conference facility. However, no one wants to spend any time there, including the staff. Since MEBA has done renovations people have reported walking into cold spots, feeling cold rushes of air, having the lights dim, hearing voices, footsteps and loud noises - all unexplained.
One bedroom upstairs repeatedly has sightings. The cleaning staff reported that after they make up the beds, the bedding will become rumpled - as if someone had laid down or sat on the bed. In one instance, the cleaning staff noted a hand print in the bed coverings. No guests want to stay more than one night. Even the contractor who came to install the WiFi heard someone come in, call out to him, and ascend the stairs ... yet no one ever appeared and the outside staff said no one had come down the lane either by car or by foot.
So, the MEBA School doesn't use Perry Hall much. The house just sits, ... silently ... waiting ...
I was given a tour of the building by MEBA staff and it is a beautiful building in a stunning setting. As I was standing in the second floor bedroom, I looked out the window toward the Miles River. I got an overwhelming sense of being with someone - someone who was trying to tell me something. Strange .. just a sense of not being alone. I shot a photo through the window of the river and a large tree on the banks.
Perry Hall is a magical place.
Note: Perry Hall is on private property and not accessible to the public. If you desire a tour or want to lease it for a conference, contact the MEBA School.