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Snow Hill - by Mindie Burgoyne - published by Arcadia Publishing
Snow Hill
Images of America
by Mindie Burgoyne

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The Ghost of the Snow Hill Inn

The Story of  William "J. J." Aydelotte
by Mindie Burgoyne

Posted Sunday, April 1, 2007
Written 2004

The Aydellote House - also known as The Snow Hill Inn

The building known as the Snow Hill Inn on East Market Street in Snow Hill, MD was built around 1835 for a prominent landowner and businessman, Levin Townsend. In past years the Snow Hill Inn has served as as a private home, the town post office, the home of the Town Doctor, and apartment building, an Inn, a Mexican restaurant and now a private residence.

Dr. John S. Aydelotte occupied the house in the 1870's and ran a medical practice in Snow Hill. He served as the town doctor into the twentieth century. One of Snow Hill's senior residents can remember as a child seeing Dr. Aydelotte walking through the town streets with his cane in hand, angrily shooing away boisterous children.

Dr. Aydelotte died in 1929 and is buried in Whatcoat Cemetery just a few blocks away form the his home. Buried with him is a father's grief over a son lost tragically to suicide.

His son was William James Aydelotte who at the age 21, while attending the University of Maryland's School of Pharmacology in Baltimore, ended his own life by apparently "cutting his own throat several times." It seems young William was not doing well in school and didn't want to face being a failure his his father's eyes.

While in his room at a Baltimore boarding house, William penned a note dated December 14, 1904 where he wrote "Dear Papa, ... it is useless to keep me at school ..." The next morning, keeper of the boarding discovered William after hearing what sounded like someone falling and deep groans. The following is an excerpt from a Baltimore Sun article printed the following day.

"Hurrying upstairs, she opened the door and beheld the young man rolling on the floor, groaning and the blood flowing from several gashes across his throat"

"From the appearance of the room, Mr. Aydelotte had evidently cut his throat while standing in front of the bureau. He is then believed to have walked to his bed and cut his throat twice again.''

Descendants of the Aydelottes have often questioned the circumstances of young William's death.

The story in the paper was compiled in a single day with information from police, the coroner, the pharmacy school dean, the keeper of the rooming house on West Franklin Street and both the current and previous women in whose homes Mr. Aydelotte took his meals.

The reporter reveals details of William - a third year pharmacy student - developing tonsillitis and being too ill to study, and Dr. Aydelotte writing the Dean inquiring after William's progress. The article also reveals information about a "young lady" in Westminster with whom William had been corresponding and the exchange was abruptly discontinued. Then there are hints that the friendship between William and his Westminster lady friend had recently been renewed. Speculation (even if unjustified) could cause a body to wonder what (or who) really drove William over the edge.

George Walton Mapp, whose mother was Mildred Mapp (William's sister) was quoted in a 1993 follow-up article by the Baltimore Sun as saying of the tragedy,

"We didn't talk about him. It was the great tragedy of our family. We never believed he killed himself."

Tombstone of William Aydelotte - Whatcoat cemetery, Snow Hill, MDWhether William did himself in for fear of disappointing his father or "was done in" by someone who wanted him gone, many today believe his un-restful spirit haunts the Snow Hill Inn.

To the modern day visitors of the Inn, he's become known as "J.J." Innkeepers, contractors, guests, children, employees and towns people all have stories of the young man who roams the halls of the Inn, locking doors, opening windows, turning lights off and on, setting fire alarms, appearing in mirrors, shaking beds with sleeping guests in them, extinguishing candles, lighting the fireplaces and more.

Undoubtedly, the Snow Hill Inn has had more ghostly encounters (some documented) than any other single site in Worcester County.  It has even been featured on the National Geographic television network Is it Real? series.

A paranormal specialist, who was a friend of the Innkeeper visited the Inn in 2003. She spent time in the Barrister Room which is believed to have been William's (J.J.'s) room as a boy. It was there - in the Barrister room that she encountered the ghost - and spoke to him.

She confirmed that there was a ghost, it was a young man - and it was William. William told her that he did, in fact commit suicide, He shared secrets of emotional trauma with the specialist that she felt were best not to reveal. She did, however state that "William had some serious issues that he has not yet resolved."

 



Copyright 2004, by Trinity Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Used only with permission.

Resources for this article:
Baltimore Sun - December 16, 1904
Baltimore Sun - August 14, 1993
Along the Seaboard Side by Paul Baker Touart
Conversations with the Aydelotte and Mapp families
Conversations with numerous Snow Hill residents

 

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