The Commissioners of Leonardtown, the governing body of Leonardtown, Maryland, have designated February 26thas Moll Dyer Day in honor of the 17th-century woman, Moll Dyer, and the legend that bears her name.

Many know of the legend of Moll Dyer, but it’s not as widely known that Dyer was a real woman who lived just south of what is now Leonardtown in the late 1600s. She is believed to have been a healer who often aided the community, however, when an epidemic of influenza arose during the winter of 1697, the town inhabitants looked to lay blame and named her as its cause. Accused of witchcraft, Dyer was set upon by a mob fearful of the sickness. When they set fire to her small cabin, Dyer escaped into the surrounding woods on a bitterly cold night in February 1698. Her body was found days later by a young boy looking for lost livestock. She was found with one hand frozen to a large rock and the other outstretched to the sky. Legend has it that Moll put a curse on the land and on the rock, which bears her now fading handprint. It’s rumored that anyone who touches the rock may become dizzy or even fall ill.

“It is time we recognize the legend and legacy of Moll Dyer,” said Mayor Burris. “Her story is widely known and has been the subject of several paranormal investigations. Her legend even served as inspiration for the popular movie, ‘The Blair Witch Project’.”

The rock was moved to the Old Jail in 1972 where it has sat for almost 50 years.The St. Mary’s County Historical Society has taken measures to preserve the rock, moving it to the home of the Historical Society at Tudor Hall Manor.

Peter LaPorte, Executive Director of the Historical Society, said that the Board and members wanted to halt the slow erosion of the stone. “Our mission is to preserve the history of St Mary’s County and the Moll Dyer Rock is certainly one of the best known and cherished parts of that history,” LaPorte said.

The unveiling of the relocated rock will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, February 26, 2021. The event, which starts with a brief retelling of the Moll Dyer legend, can be attended at Tudor Hall or watched via live-stream online or at the Town of Leonardtown Facebook page. The live stream event is produced by the St. Mary’s Historical Society, Winson Media, and the Commissioners of Leonardtown.

For more information about the virtual unveiling ceremony or the St. Mary’s County Historical Society, visit www.stmaryshistory.org or contact director@stmaryshistory.org. For information on other Leonardtown virtual programming, visit www.VisitLeonardtownMD.com or contact brandy.blackstone@leonardtownmd.gov.


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