House of the Crazy Ruggles

image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

From the exterior, this Nova Scotia home in Canada appears to be nothing more than an unassuming vernacular farmhouse.
image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

But a reader wrote to tell me about the sensational story behind the historic owners of this home – a family named the Ruggles.
photo courtesy of: Mark Wilson

historic photo courtesy of: Mark Wilson

Mind you, we’re talking about the family who lived here in the 1790′s so I mean no disrespect to modern-day descendants when I say they were one of the craziest families to come out of the Revolutionary war.
image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

This old place is currently listed for sale at $299,000 (Canadian dollars). The listing has no mention of the bizarre history associated with the house, but luckily, a House Crazy reader had the skinny. Mark recounts the story so well, I’m just going to quote his words. Here’s what he wrote about the house:
Sarah,
I’ve got a WICKED story for you, with a connection to an old house in Nova Scotia that’s now for sale. Back at the American Revolution, the Loyalists were forced to flee the States. One of those Loyalists was General Timothy Ruggles, who was, by all accounts, a nutcase. Anyway, his equally nutty daughter was getting married at this approximate time to one of the locals in Massachusetts.  But things went badly in this relationship, and she quickly concocted a scheme with 2 or 3 others to murder her husband.
image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

The husband’s dead body was dumped down a well. The whole plot was exposed and she was charged along with the others for murder. Bathsheba Ruggles Spooner became the first woman in the newly formed U.S. to be hanged. Before the hanging, she wrote many letters to her father begging for help but he never responded to her. Oh, and she was 5 months pregnant when the colonists hung her in 1778 !! It is highly suspected that her hanging was political, as her father was a very well-known, despised Loyalist.
image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

Her father fled to Nova Scotia sometime during the war. He settled into an initial property and prospered, before meeting his own weird demise in 1795. He bought the house presently for sale back in 1795, so it must have been bought just months before his death. The first Nova Scotia property he had settled into is now said to be seriously haunted by the people who now own that property (per newspaper article).

image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

In 1778, it was considered “the most extraordinary crime ever perpetrated in New England”.  According to what I read, there was an entire panel of midwives and medical professionals who examined her [Bathsheba Ruggles Spooner] to make sure she was indeed pregnant, as she claimed, and all denied she was !!!  Her death was purely motivated by hatred against the Loyalists.

image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com/

image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com/

 Also, the one who signed the death warrant was the step-brother of the husband who was murdered !!!  It involves a “who’s who” of early Americana – the trial was prosecuted by a fairly close relative of the famous Thomas Paine. I believe that Isaiah Thomas, the famous newspaper printer also covered the story.
[read more about Bathsheba Spooner and the brutal crime that rocked the Eastern seaboard.]
image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

House Crazy Sarah speaking again: I love a good, crazy story behind an old house but I think this one takes the cake.
The listing description gives no indication of the historic connection to the Ruggles, but there is plenty on-line to document the life and follies of Bathsheba Ruggles Spooner [click on the underlined links embedded in the text above to learn more].
image from: vimeo.com

image from: vimeo.com

Then there’s the picture of the house’s basement cellar door:
image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

image from: http://www.tradewindsrealty.com

Perhaps the ominous door is one of the few remaining remnants of the time when the crazy Ruggles lived here. The listing does mention that the house features “much of the original trim and doors”. See the complete listing at Trade Winds Realty.
[Sources, story and black & white photo of the Ruggles house courtesy of Mark Wilson]

9 Responses to House of the Crazy Ruggles

  • This is soooo interesting. You do feature some really interesting places! Now I’m off to research more on the infamous Ruggle’s Thanks!

    • Paula Rowell (Feurtado/Fowler) (The Fowler Family leads to Ruggles-my mothers side, Feurtado is the fathers side says:

      Cheryl, you will find them to be very interesting people. Brig. Gen. Timothy Ruggles is my ggggg grandfather. And yes, the story about Bathsheba is fascinating but she was no doubt hanged because of his beliefs which I think is unfair. Many who examined her knew she was pregnant but she was still hanged. It was a volatile time and this is what happened. But you will see that he was a very smart loved man while also being hated by many. Those apples trees were most likely planted by him. My sister and I are hoping to make a trip to Nova Scotia next year, we have so much to see!

  • Sharon Taylor says:

    What a name to have ‘Bathsheba’, I might be a nutcase if I had such a name…Ruggles would make a great name for a children’s story book, like, “Mr. Bunny Ruggles” or something. What a story, thanks for sharing!

  • Sue says:

    It would seem politics as usual started back then and continues to this day. That basement door looks like it pulls down to an incinerator.

  • Paula Rowell (Feurtado/Fowler) (The Fowler Family leads to Ruggles-my mothers side, Feurtado is the fathers side says:

    my ggggg-grandfather was Brig. Gen. Timothy Ruggles originally from Massachusetts. There is so much more to his story. He may have been despised by many but he was also loved by many. He was a lawyer, the president of the stamp act and much more than could be written here. And Bathsheba chose not to follow her father to NS as did his wife and other children. this is the first I’ve heard that she wrote her father letters to help her, not to say she didn’t but I’ve read a lot and this is the first I’ve heard. They are a fascinating family, I suggest to anyone who is interested in this family that there is an enormous amount of information online. I’m thrilled to have found pictures of their home and would love to visit the area someday although I’m now in Pennsylvania and it’s a long way to travel!

  • Paula Rowell (Feurtado/Fowler) (The Fowler Family leads to Ruggles-my mothers side, Feurtado is the fathers side says:

    It certainly is!! You certainly have an interesting hobby but I’m glad you do, otherwise I never would have found this picture of his home!! Unfortunately in this article he comes off as crazy, which he wasn’t, but the story about Bathsheba certainly is! And…he also had something to do with some discovery in agriculture, I have yet to find info on this, but he planted many apple trees, which I noticed in the first picture…I would say he most likely planted those! He was a brilliant man and now that I’m in PA I discover that many Tories, including him, went to the town of Marshfield Mass. and that is the town I lived in before moving here!! I wish I’d known that years ago, who knows how much information I could find out! Thanks for this!

  • Paula Rowell (Feurtado/Fowler) (The Fowler Family leads to Ruggles-my mothers side, Feurtado is the fathers side says:

    I’d like to make one more comment and that is about Bathsheba. While that may be a fascinating story the fact is she was hanged at 5 months pregnant. Most likely hanged because of the beliefs of her father which is quite unfair. No doubt she was wrong but she was examined by many and they said she was not pregnant all the while knowing that she was…this is what I would call “savagery” . She deserved to be punished but didn’t deserve this.

Leave a Reply





~ House Crazy Sarah ~
~ House Crazy Sarah ~

"So many houses, so little time"






Featured house artist:
Featured house artist:

(Click on image to view or purchase prints of Julia Callon's house art)

Featured house books:
Featured house books:

(Click on the book cover images for purchase information)

My first novel
My first novel
My second novel
My second novel
Rivit Media
Publisher