(Back to Ohio Haunted Index)
Kelton House –
House — Kelton House
586 East Town Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Kelton House web site
The Kelton House Museum & Garden can be
found on East Town Street, just 1 block or so west of the 71 Fwy.
Cross streets are S. Washington Avenue and Lester Drive.
Sophia and Fernando Kelton built their
large, 2 story, brick Victorian Greek Revival town-home in 1854, a
roomy, practical place where they raised their 4 sons; Charles,
Oscar, Frank and Edwin, and 2 daughters, though Charles died in
After three generations of the Kelton
family living in this treasured family town-home, Columbus
Foundation found someone to restore it into a house museum, that
offers tours to the public, and creates funds by hosting weddings,
receptions and events, which would please the Keltons as well.
While the outside of the house was a well
done, simple brick structure, with a decorative wrought-iron
balcony, the inside revealed their social prominence with an
upper-class, Victorian-style decor, expected by visitors in the
1900s, though not over the top but tempered instead.
Sophia was the petite matriarch of the
family, and was an organized, frugal homemaker, a wise mother,
supportive wife and a lovely hostess. She kept the family books,
ran the household, managed the servants, entertained guests and
stayed one step ahead of her children, finding ways to guide their
steps away from trouble and activities deemed not suitable. When
her teen-aged sons were tempted to go to the drinking and gambling
parties of their peers, Sophia put a billiards table in one of the
front parlors, to keep them home and occupied.
Though the Keltons' oldest daughter Anne
had long dreamed of literary achievement and accomplishment, her
social standing wouldn't allow her to do so. Instead, she kept a
detailed scrap book of her thoughts, her favorite poems and
probably programs of events she attended.
Sophia and Fernando Kelton lived their
faith and beliefs, and were known to take action when it was
needed. They both had big hearts. Sophia and Fernando were active
members of the anti-slave society, and often hid slaves in their
barn and cistern, probably as part of an underground railroad.
Sophia found a sick, 10 year old slave girl in the yard's bushes,
and not only nursed her back to health, but also gave her a home
for 10 years. The young woman married the Keltons' cabinet maker in
the front parlor.
Forces of the outside world did intrude
though, taking away control. Oscar, went against his parents'
wishes and joined the Union Army. He did what he was taught; live
your convictions and beliefs.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
Members of the Kelton Family are still
together in the family home, keeping an eye on the living.
Two died very unexpectedly and suddenly,
and find their home a comforting place to stay.
Sophia's and Fernando's eldest son,
Oscar Kelton was killed at the age
of 18. 1n June of 1864, on the battlefield at Brice Crossroads at
Guntown, Mississippi, fighting the Confederate Army. His buddies
buried him under a tree, and marked his grave with a sign on the
Eighteen months later, Fernando Cortez Kelton found out where his son
was buried, and took action. Fernando retrieved Oscar's body from
its informal burial site in Mississippi. On the way to the train,
to take the body home, an accident overturned the cart, spilling
the remains on the road. Emotionally shaken and hurting from a bad
bump on the head, Fernando managed to gather the remains up and get
them home to Columbus for a proper burial.
Fernando never quite recovered from seeing
the grisly remains of his son, and his head injuries left him with
terrible headaches, dizziness and weakness. In 1866, Fernando
suffered a dizzy spell in his office in downtown Columbus. When he
went to the window for some air, he fell three stories down to the
street. He was carried to his home where he died.
more than her share of losses in her lifetime. She lost two sons; a
2 year old son, Charles, & 18 year old Oscar. Her husband died
in a tragic fashion. While she had no control over the death of so
many of her loved ones, she was always in control of what was
happening in her home, which continued to be a source of comfort
After Sophia died in 1888, the family home
was inherited by their son Frank and his wife. However, Frank and
his brother Edwin swapped houses, because Edwin and his wife had 5
daughters, and this branch of the family would put the roomy
town-home to good use. Eventually, the home passed down to one of
their daughters, Grace.
Kelton, who was quite different from her Aunt Anne,
flaunted the expectations of women at the time, and was a
trailblazer. She never got married, but became a professional
interior designer, when it wasn't popular for women to have a
career outside the home.
She was traditional in one aspect; keeping
the family home just like it was during her grandparents' era. She
worked hard on the upkeep and restored the decor of the town-home
and lived here until her death on Christmas Day in 1975. Though she
never had a family or spouse of her own, she dearly loved this
Victorian Town-home, and focused with diligence and dedication in
keeping it clean, historically correct and in good shape.
In the 1970s, it must have disturbed her to
see how old homes were being turned into apartments or boarding
houses, destined to decline, or simply torn down for a parking lot
or other purposes. Grace willed her beloved family home to the
Columbus Foundation, with the stipulation that they find someone
who would offer to the community a house museum for educational
purposes. If no one could be found, the town-home was to be torn
down and turned into a park.
Energy given off by the people in the tours
and events, energizes the entities who still call this place their
The Female Entity
Sophia Stone Kelton —
Still practices hospitality and good
Her slightly see-through, small form,
dressed in black mourning clothes has been seen watching the staff
leave from her upstairs window, like she was saying good-bye.
After a tour, another male docent saw her
milky form, wearing a long dress, floating in her room.
She has been recognized going down the back
staircase, and walking through the dining room
A docent was saying good night to the house
before he left, and a female voice said in his ear very kindly,
She has a soft spot for children.
The Male Entity
Fernando Cortez Kelton —
Fernando likes to get his entertainment
from the living.
He has been known to whisper to guests for
He likes to have the living bump into his
presence in the hallways.
A young female tour guide walked into his
unseen presence. From this unseen encounter, she identified this
presence to be taller, a male who was wearing a soft shirt,
identified by her feeling it.
Another tour guide walked into an older
gentleman, wearing a flannel shirt, who immediately disappeared,
much to his shock.
The Male Entity
Oscar Kelton —
The entity of Oscar Kelton has been seen on
the grounds and in the house, dressed in his Union
The Female Entity
Grace Bird Kelton — She is still involved with her
She has been known to look after the staff,
check up on their efforts and support them.
Office workers find that their files are
put back out of place, like someone was looking at them.
Items have been reported missing, and found
in odd places, like a locked cabinet.
If the cleaning chores aren't done to her
satisfaction, the staff will find cleaning materials left out for
them the next day.
She likes to take the tours. Her solid
presence broke off from one tour. A staff member followed what she
thought was a real person, only to be shocked when the woman
disappeared before her eyes.
The living who disrespect the staff and
tour guides have been disciplined.
A male friend of one of the docents thought
the existence of ghosts was poppycock, razzing his female friend
who worked as a tour guide. He went up to Grace's room, and was
scared when a really cold spot went right through him.
One tour guide had a pair of women who
talked all the way through her tour until they came to the dining
room. As they yakked away in front of the china cabinet, the
cabinet door suddenly swung out, hitting them both on their rear
Grace tries to keep her standards of
If furniture is rearranged in a room which
doesn't meet her standards, the staff will find the furniture moved
back to the original positions.
Footsteps have been heard, coming from the
Both the entities of Sophia and especially
Grace like to attend weddings and receptions of the living, which
take place here.
Sophia loved to plan social events.
As Grace never got married, perhaps she has
regrets, but is happy to enjoy other couples/special days.
These four entities aren't willing to go to
the other side, still wanting something in this world.
Sophia enjoys being the matriarch, involved
and in control in her home.
Grace can't let go of this world because
she wants to be sure that the living take care of her beloved home.
Grace wants to be sure that her dream of having her home become a
house museum continues with her help, as she doesn't quite trust
Oscar cannot rest in peace because he
probably promised his family that he wouldn't be killed, because he
couldn't imagine this happening to him. Also, his grave was
disturbed, and he looks for comfort and peace in being in his old
Fernando Cortez Kelton was killed in a
dumb, accidental fall. He had other things to do and accomplish,
and all of this was cut short.
Ghost Hunter's Guide to Haunted Ohio
Kelton House on Forgotten Ohio.com * Kelton House on Prairie Ghosts.com