“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Columbus in Franklin County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Kelton House


— Historic Underground Railroad Site —

Kelton House Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, April 15, 2011
1. Kelton House Marker
Inscription.  When Fernando Cortez and Sophia Stone Kelton built this house in 1852, it was the last residence on East Town Street and was surrounded by pastureland. Ardent abolitionists, the Keltons were members of the local antislavery society. Family tradition states that runaways were hidden in the barn at the back of the house. In the 300-barrel cistern just east of the house, or sometimes in the servant’ quarters. No one knows for certain how many fugitive slaves passed through this house on his or her way to freedom. One documented story is that of a 10-year old runaway named Martha Hartway. Born a slave in September 1854 in Powhattan County, Virginia, Martha, along with her sister Pearl, fled the plantation. Kelton family tradition states that Mrs. Kelton found the girls under a shrub next to the house. Too ill to move, Martha was taken in by the Keltons and remained for 10 years. Pearl continued north to Wisconsin because she felt that Ohio wasn't safe.
Kelton House and Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, April 15, 2011
2. Kelton House and Marker
In 1874, Martha married Thomas Lawrence in the front parlor of this house. The son of free-black parents. Thomas was employed by the Keltons as a cabinet-maker. The Lawrence family named their children after Martha’s Kelton family playmates. The Kelton House was restored and is maintained by the Junior League of Columbus, Inc.
Erected by the Friends of Freedom Society, and the Ohio Underground Railroad Association.
Location. 39° 57.648′ N, 82° 59.055′ W. Marker is in Columbus, Ohio, in Franklin County. Marker is on East Town Street east of South Washington Avenue, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 586 E Town St, Columbus OH 43215, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Snowden- Gray House (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bryden Road Historic District (about 700 feet away); Ohio Institution for Education of the Blind (approx. 0.2 miles away); Deaf School Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); Topiary Garden (approx. 0.2 miles away); Wesley Chapel Methodist Church
Kelton House image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, April 15, 2011
3. Kelton House
(approx. ¼ mile away); George Bellows / Roy Lichtenstein (approx. ¼ mile away); Columbus Main Library / Judge Noah Swayne Home (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbus.
Also see . . .  Kelton House and the Underground Railroad. “Kelton family members continued a supportive relationship with the Lawrence family. The Keltons employed Thomas for 37 years. Martha and Thomas Lawrence bought property for their first home at 69 N. 17th Street, from Col. James Watson, husband of Ella Kelton. They had two children, Arthur Kelton Lawrence and Sadie Lawrence. Giving their older child the Kelton family name illustrated the close friendship that existed between these two families. Arthur Kelton Lawrence learned to read from books passed down from Frank Kelton. Arthur Kelton Lawrence went on to become both a pharmacist and physician; he practiced medicine in Columbus for 33 years. Arthur’s son and daughter-in-law, James and Ruth Lawrence, visited with Grace Kelton in 1975, one year before her death,
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and attended Grace’s funeral.” (Submitted on May 5, 2011.) 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RR

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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 5, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 962 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 5, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
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