Kelton House

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Kelton House is still the treasured home of the original family.

A variety of individual personalities are experienced.

Better mind your manners on the Kelton House Mansion tours!




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 early childhood.

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.



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 tree.

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.

Sophia had 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 for her.

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.

Grace Bird 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 home.

The Female Entity Sophia Stone Kelton

Still practices hospitality and good manners.

Her slightly see-through and 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, “Good Evening.”

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 chuckles.

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 Female Entity Grace Bird Kelton

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 ends!

Grace tries to keep her standards of decorum: 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.

The Male Entity Oscar Kelton

The entity of Oscar Kelton has been seen on the grounds and in the house, dressed in his Union uniform.

Other appearances

Footsteps have been heard, coming from the attic area.

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.


Yes indeed!

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 the living.

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 family home.

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.



586 East Town Street
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 464-2022

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.



Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Haunted Ohio
by Chris Woodward
pg. 167-175
Kestrel Publications

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Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

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