Although some minor details differ, the sightings of John Kerr's ghost always involve the spotting of a gentleman in early 1800’s garb, walking briskly as though looking for something. Although his spotters follow him past Park and Vine Streets, they just can’t quite catch up with him. He then vanishes as quickly as he appears. Locals swear it is indeed the spirit of the early Irish immigrant, Columbus’ 2nd mayor.
Perhaps John Kerr's quest is to find whatever happened to his final resting place. You see, the cemetery where he was once buried has long been paved over. The plot that contained this man’s grave, and the graves of countless others, now stands as North Market, a sprawling food hall that was first established in 1876. This historic public marketplace draws locals and visitors alike. It’s every foodie’s dream, with aisles of top-of-the-line merchants offering the best cuisine from across the city.
While most folks come for the grub, few realize they’re treading on centuries-old graves. Fewer grasp the history that predates the early founding of the marketplace itself. As is true for so many of these ghostly tales, history reveals even deeper truths and intriguing clues as to how we Ohioans came to be who we are today.
Listen to Ohio Folklore on your chosen podcast platform, or download the episode here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/236393/5018627-ghostly-legacy-of-john-kerr.mp3?blob_id=20102822&download=true
Early sketch of John Kerr, Columbus mayor 1818-1820