In 1839 or 1852(year uncertain) Christian and Eleanor Rugh purchased the property from Abraham Kagy and Henry Byler. In 1919 the property was sold to Henry and Martha Hartman. Henry Hartman died in 1930 and the property was inherited by Lulu Hartman (m. Oren Mast), his daughter. Her descendants still own the land today, and locally the home was long known as the "Hartman Place." The same building is described as the "Rugh-Mast" house in the book Heritage of Architecture and Arts, Fairfield County, Ohio by Ruth W. Drinkle.
Like many abandoned properties, it has developed a reputation as a haunted house. Among the legends: after the Civil War a government official still kept slaves, locking them up at night. One night, one of the slaves dug himself free and killed the entire family (exceedingly unlikely, as Ohio was not a slave state). Another story sets the mass-murder or mass-suicide (by hanging) of a more recent family there. Still other local yarns assert that the house is the original home of the Bloody Mary of children's lore, and that the house is haunted by a woman who killed her children, or by a woman whose husband killed their children, or by all of the parties involved in the tragedy.
The home has not been regularly occupied since the 1930s, though transients have lived there, including, reputedly, a group of hippies in the 1960s, and the once-grand structure has been damaged by fires and vandalism. The home itself is a beautiful, brick, Second Empire-style house built in the mid 1800s, in surprisingly good condition, considering its long neglect. Although the mansion is a favored destination for legend tripping, the owner is said to prosecute trespassers vigorously, and to employ guards.
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