Since 2003, playwright Mark Jordan’s Mansfield Trilogy has been presented yearly at Malabar Farm. One of the plays in the trilogy is based on the sad story of Ceely Rose. This year, all profits from the Ceely Rose production (directed by Dan Feiertag) are being donated to Malabar Farm. For more information about this production, please see mansfieldtrilogy.com
Today the area is Malabar Farm State Park, in Richland County, Ohio, named for the farm that author Louis Bromfield created and worked for some twenty years beginning in 1939. In 1945, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married there.
A half-century before that happy event, it was the scene of one of Ohio’s most infamous murder mysteries. Three members of a farm family died of arsenic poisoning, and the fourth member was convicted of the crimes. It’s said that to this day, the murderer, Celia (Ceely) Rose, comes back to the old farmhouse where she killed her family. She’s not looking for them, though; Ceely killed for love, and she’s still looking for the man she killed for, although he skedaddled for parts unknown within days of her arrest.
Ceely, as her family called her, was a lateborn child. Her parents had one son who was nearly twenty years…
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