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Once the birthplace of a living "ghost," this historic Virginia home is now on the market for $699,000. But to own this slice of American history, you'll have to appreciate its storied past to win the heart of its seller.
Mosby was an influential Confederate officer in the Civil War who led a cavalry ranger unit to harass the Union Army in short bursts before melting back into the countryside. His guerrilla tactics were so brilliant that Herman Melville wrote a poem about him, and nearly 100 years after the war he was the subject of a TV show:
It's that history, along with the five-bedroom home's remote, 54-acre location, that compelled Lei Hillier and his wife, both history buffs, to purchase the property in 2005 after relocating from the Washington, DC, area.
"I was sick of commuting [around] DC, where the homes are being built on postage stamps," Hillier says. Here, "you go outside and you don't see a road, you don't see a neighbor."
The property also features a gentleman's farm, horse barn, above-ground well, and replica of a Colonial-era summer kitchen dependency, although these are new constructions.
In fact, the land the 250-year-old home currently sits on isn't its original location. The home was saved from destruction in the 1980s, after a timber company purchased the land it was on strictly for its trees. An intrepid buyer bought the home, took it apart, and rebuilt it about a mile or two from its original location. The owner also took wooden beams from a nearby house, which once belonged to the Mosby family, to use for the house's reconstruction.
Modern additions, including a sunroom, new kitchen, and bathroom, were designed to keep in line with the home's history.
"It's not like you have this modern thing added on to it," says Hillier. "It's tastefully done." Now, the home is 4,312 square feet -- quite roomier than it used to be.
It was a simple two-story house with four rooms when Mosby's paternal grandparents lived there, one of whom served in the Revolutionary War. And while Mosby was born in the home, he didn't grow up in it.
"Every time I go up and down the stairs, I can imagine the family going up and down them. All that activity in two rooms up and two rooms down, all that hustle and bustle, it must have been quite noisy," says Hillier.
There's a faint bloodstain near the front door. According to legend, Mosby, after being wounded in the war, returned to his birthplace to recuperate.
Despite its modern heating and cooling upgrades, the house appears as if it were on the pages of an old leather book -- especially when you factor in the Hilliers' collection of historic memorabilia, which includes pictures of Civil War military leaders (including Mosby, of course) and a bed where one of Robert E. Lee's sons recovered after being shot.
The home doesn't come furnished, but a buyer interested in this home will likely have his or her own collection of historic furnishings.
"It's going to require a special buyer, because we have put a lot of money into it," says Hillier. "It's got a premium price for both its architecture and history. If someone doesn't care about the history, then it wouldn't be for them," he says.
For example, Hillier says he turned away one buyer looking to bring his cows to the land because he didn't think they went with the history of the house. However, he doesn't think he'll be hanging on to the property for too long.
"With [home-buying] interest and the economy turning around, I think it's going to sell," Hillier says.