Port Tobacco has claim to the oldest ghost story in the United States, dating back to the 1700's. According to the late Charles Stuart – a Rose Hill Road resident whose property contains the fabled rock that the Blue Dog and his master were killed on – the first written account of the Blue Dog Legend dates back to 1897. Rose Hill’s former owner Olivia Floyd, who was a former agent for the Confederacy during the Civil War, first told the Port Tobacco Times she had seen the ghost of the Blue Dog.

This once thriving seaport had many waterfront taverns. One evening in February a stranger came to town and began drinking in one of those establishments. This soldier, Charles Thomas Sims, boasted of his gold and deed to an estate. After a long night of drinking Sims and his faithful dog, a large blue tick hound, left the tavern and headed out of town, taking Rose Hill Road. Henry Hanos and his accomplices followed Sims up Rose Hill Road and attacked him to steal his money and deed. During the robbery, Sims was killed and so was his dog, which valiantly tried to defend his master. Both fell onto a large rock near the road. Hanos then buried the gold and deed under a holly tree along Rose Hill Road. The next day the townspeople found the peddler and the dog laying on the rock. When Hanos returned to recover the treasure, he was scared away by the ghost of the Blue Dog and then fell ill, before suddenly dying. To this day, the Blue Dog reportedly continues to watch over his slain master's treasure.

Every February 8th, the Blue Dog returns to the spot where he and his master died. He howls and mourns for him beside the rock. This story has lived on for over 200 years….

8.5 x 11 Epson Cold Press Archival print $50
In basic black 8.5 x 11 frame $75
11 x 14 Epson Cold Press Archival print $100
In basic black frame no matte $135
16 x 20 Limited Edition of 150 signed by the artist - Epson Cold Press Archival print $250, unframed only
20 x 30 Limited Edition of 50 Canvas prints signed by the artist - Epson Archival Luster Canvas (wrapped, no frame) $675

For local pickup of your Blue Dog artwork please call Studio 553 to place your order.


All prints created and sold by Studio 553, LLC. 301-392-1131 sales@studio553.com
This is not a tax deductible purchase.

The Nanjemoy Neighbors Water Project

Some of the people in Nanjemoy, MD have no running water in their homes. They depend upon neighbors for every drop of water they use each day. The lack of running water is especially difficult for school-age children who cannot bathe regularly and who must often wear soiled clothing to class. Their appearance and hygiene affect their self-image, relationships, and ultimately their success in school and life. We want to help change that situation. Every dollar received from the sale of Blue Dog prints, over the cost to reproduce them, will go directly toward providing a continuing source of clean water in these children's homes.

About the Artist

Don Zimmer is an occasional painter who has lived in Port Tobacco since 1980. He first learned about the Blue Dog from his 10 year-old son, Jeff, who heard the story in school. For several years Don and his son were especially vigilant while driving on Rose Hill road after dark. They often made special trips up and down the hill in February when legend says the pre-revolutionary war killing of a peddler and his dog occurred. But the Blue Dog failed to show. Fast forward to 2010. Gary and Heidi Fick, who had seen some of Don’s paintings, asked him to do a mural for the Blue Dog Saloon and Restaurant . He demurred, suggesting instead something in oil on canvas. The Ficks agreed. They gave Don only one criterion; don’t make the dog scary. Most of the Blue Dog accounts agree that the dog in the legend was an English Mastiff. Mastiff’s are among the largest breeds of dogs in the world and are known for their gentle spirit and protectiveness. The picture depicts the grieving Mastiff, who was so black he was almost blue; on a cold February night lying next to his master’s treasure near the large quartz rock behind the Rose Hill manor house where legend says the killings occurred.