Ghost Expedition Jefferson County, Shepherdstown WV: Entler…

Ghost Expedition Jefferson County, Shepherdstown WV: Entler Hotel/Historic Shepherdstown

Shepherdstown is considered the “oldest city in West Virginia” with a history predating the French-Indian War.  

The town was chartered in 1762 by the royal Virginia governor as Mecklenberg, named for Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz, wife of King George III. The name of Charlottesville had already been granted to another town in the colony. Thomas Shepherd was named the trustee of the town of 222 acres which had been granted to him in 1734.  Eventually the town would be named for him in 1798

Shepherdstown is also known by the nickname of “The Old Unterrified” due to its contributions to the nation’s wars. Shepherdstown was said to have provided more soldiers in the American Revolutionary War than any other town of its size in Virginia. In response to General George Washington’s call for volunteers in 1775, the Mecklenberg company of 97 men commanded by Capt Hugh Stephenson made the famous “Beeline March“ from Morgan Spring to Cambridge Massachusetts, ranging 600 miles in 24 days

According to the Shepherdstown’s Register in 1850, the town ”sent nearly three complete companies to the field“ in the War of 1812 and contributed to ranks of several other companies.  Troops from Shepherdstown, led by Lieutenant Bennett Riley, repulsed the British attack at the Battle of Plattsburgh.  During the capture of Fort George, a Shepherdstown resident, Michael Durnhoeffer, leapt upon the wall of the fort amidst a barrage of artillery fire, and yelled out, “HURRAH FOR OLD SHEPHERDSTOWN”

During the Mexican War, Colonel John Francis Hamtramck led the 1st Virginia Volunteer Regiment.  He was mayor of Shepherdstown from 1850 to 1854, and from 1853 to 1858 served on the Jefferson County Court. He died at his home in Shepherdstown in 1858.  The Hamtramck Guard (The Shepherdstown Light Infantry) was sent to Harpers Ferry to quell John Brown’s raid on the federal armory in 1859.  In the Civil War, this group became Company B, 2nd Virginia Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia

Battles took place all around Shepherdstown throughout the Civil War due to its proximity to Pack Horse Ford, a crossing of the Potomac River.  After the Battle of Antietam in 1862, Shepherdstown became a giant makeshift hospital for thousands of confederate wounded  

A Confederate rear guard, led by General William Pendleton, repulsed Union attacks on forces withdrawing from Sharpsburg in the Battle of Shepherdstown.  The 118th Pennsylvania, known as the Philadelphia Corn Exchange Regiment, suffered heavy losses against battle-hardened confederates, amounting to 269 casualties from 737 men

The properties making up the Entler Hotel were built in 1786 by Philip Adam Entler Jr and expanded in 1790 by Daniel Bedinger. The hotel returned to Entler family ownership in 1824 and was managed for many years by Daniel Entler and his wife Margaret, and later by their oldest son son Jacob.  

The Entler Hotel was a societal hub for Shepherdstown. However, the hotel suffered losses from caring for confederate wounded in the Civil War. After a devastating fire in 1912 which destroyed much of downtown German street, Entler family heirs sold the property, which after renovations opened as the Rumsey Hotel

In 1921, the property was acquired by Shepherd University and renamed Rumsey Hall where it served as a student dormitory, faculty housing and later as storage.  In 1973 the hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places.  In 1978, the city acquired the building and renovations were begun by Historic Shepherdstown in 1979.  The property reopened as Historic Shepherdstown and Museum in 1983

The Entler Hotel is thought to be haunted by the ghost of Peyton Bull Smith.  He was killed in a duel by his business partner Joseph Holmes on Tuesday, Nov 3, 1809 at daybreak. Smith was carried to the hotel where he died.  Noises, moans, and footsteps haunt the hotel.  Other folklore legends include a gambler shot himself after losing cattle money and the daughter of the hotel manager died in the 1910 fire within the hotel

Though less widely known, haunted activity in the form of imitative noises is also said to occur in the vicinity of the Schomaker & Co piano on the first floor.  The piano was originally owned by John Henry Schau and his wife Elizabeth Catherine Cookus-Schau (she was also called “Aunt Betsy”). The couple resided on German Street in Shepherdstown.

The paranormal television show Ghosts of Shepherdstown featured a series of haunted locations that were loosely clustered around the Town Run, a tributary of the Potomac river that runs through the center of the town

The ghost expedition sought “drop-in” communications in connection with the history and legacies of the Shepherdstown


Civil War Trust. An Interview with Nicholas Redding. American Battlefield Trust

Dandridge, D. (1910).  Historic Shepherdstown. The Michie Company Printers, Charlottesville, Virginia

Digital Exhibit: Schomacker & Co. Piano. (2016). Historic Shepherdstown and Museum

John Francis Hamtramck. (2018). Digital Exhibit. Historic Shepherdstown and Museum

Langmyer, M. (2016). The Entler Hotel – Restoration. Historic Shepherdstown and Museum

Langmyer, M. (2016).  Shepherdstown and the American Civil War.  Historic Shepherdstown and Museum

Langmyer, M. (2016). The Battle of Shepherdstown.  Historic Shepherdstown and Museum

Lehman, M.C. (2016). The Entler Hotel – History. Historic Shepherdstown and Museum

McGee, T. (1972, Oct 6). National Register of Historic Places Nomination: Rumsey Hall (Entler Hotel). National Park Service

McGee, T. (1973, Apr 2). National Register of Historic Places Nomination: Shepherdstown Historic District. National Park Service

Norris, D.A. (2018). Battle of Shepherdstown. American Battlefield Trust

Our Own Ghost of Shepherdstown. (2016). Historic Shepherdstown and Museum

Price, J.C. and Woods, D.C (2016). The Entler Hotel – A Chronology. Historic Shepherdstown and Museum

Rogers, J.E. (2013, Jan 13). Daniel Entler (b 1785 – d1866) and Family. Memorial ID 103540248. Find A Grave

Rumsey Hall (Shepherdstown, West Virginia). (2018, Apr 27). Wikipedia

Shepherdstown: Battle of Boteler’s Ford. (2018). American Battlefield Trust

Shepherdstown Gets Over Fire. (1912, Nov 16). The Daily News, Frederick, MD.


Shepherdstown, West Virginia. (2018). Wikipedia

Stoner-Reed, P. (1987, Sep 26), National Register of Historic Places Nomination: Shepherdstown Historic District (Boundary Increase). National Park Service

Thomas, J.B. (2018). War of 1812. Digital Exhibit. Historic Shepherdstown and Museum


Acroterian. (2008, Nov 29). Entler Hotel (Rumsey Hall), Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Wikipedia

Highsmith, C. M., photographer. (2015). The historic Entler Hotel, now the city visitors’ center, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Shepherdstown United States West Virginia, 2015. -04-29.  Library of Congress

Rumsey Hall, looking north or front view. (c 1925). Rumsey Hall Gallery. Shepherd University

Rumsey Hall as the Entler Hotel, looking northwest up German Street. (c 1880). Rumsey Hall Gallery. Shepherd University

Shepherdstown during the Civil War.  Historic Shepherdstown archives. Historic Shepherdstown and Museum

Waud, A.R. (1862, Oct 11). Sketch of the Philadephia Corn Exchange Regiment Fording the Potomac Near Shepherdstown. Harper’s Weekly. p. 652. 

Historic Shepherdstown and Museum

Boteler’s Ford, Potomac River near Shepherdstown. Point at which Confederate Army crossed after battle of Antietam

(c 1861-1865).   Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Ruins of bridge, across Potomac River at Shepherdstown.  (c 1861-1865).  

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Rumsey Hall as the Entler Hotel after the fire, looking west up German Street. (1912, Nov). Rumsey Hall Gallery. Shepherd University

The Entler Hotel when the Town bought in 1979. (1979). Historic Shepherdstown and Museum