(Orig. published 9/2005)
Situated along an isolated dirt road by Conneaut Creek, Tinker’s Hollow is a ghost town–in the literal sense. It is here that Silas Tinker met his doom, thrown from his carriage by a startled horse.
Visitors are warned to stay away from this bridge at night, lest they meet the ghost of Silas Tinker, a moody old curmudgeon who doesn’t take kindly to folks snooping around his land.
Yet, if his glowing green eyes should gaze upon a brave soul with favor, he may reward that person with his hidden cache of gold. And so people continue to venture here at night, waiting breathlessly under the bridge, listening for the sounds of Old Man Tinker’s horse and carriage overhead.
Tinker’s Hollow was originally named Benton, a small community located near Monroe Township. The hollow was later renamed to honor Tinker’s father, Silas Tinker, Sr., who built an iron foundry near the creek. An early pioneer who accompanied Connecticut surveyors of the Western Reserve in the early 1800′s, Tinker later became recognized as the inventor the lawn mower, which was first tested in a field in this hollow.
Tinker’s Hollow flourished for many years. Along the banks of this creek once stood a cider mill and grist mill, the first ones built in the Ashtabula area.
Now, these overgrown fields are all that is left of Tinker’s Hollow.
As for Old Man Tinker, he was brought up in a family of 7 children and lived a long life. Not much is known about his later years, although it is said that he withdrew from the community and lived his last days within the decaying frame of his father’s foundry.
Interestingly, around Conneaut Creek, beginning in 1813, settlers discovered and excavated strange burial mounds, which contained thousands of skeletons of what appeared to them to be a race of Native American giants. The “Conneaut Giants”, as they later came to be called, had skulls so large that they fit comfortably over the heads of the amateur archaeologists.
Rumors soon spread that large amounts of gold relics were discovered in these mounds. Prominent Mormon Solomon Spalding wrote of finding large, gold tablets containing ancient hieroglyphics.
Perhaps Old Man Tinker also discovered gold here….
To the left is a picture of what appears to be an overgrown mound in the woods near the bridge.
The cause of Old Man Tinker’s death is not known, so we cannot say for sure that he died as a result of a carriage accident. We believe that it is more likely that he simply died from old age.
Strangely, there was another, similar fatal horse accident in Tinker’s Hollow a few years after the time of Mr. Tinker’s demise. In that case, Bert Brydle was found dead on a road, under “suspicious” circumstances. This created a great fervor among residents, who believed that Brydle was murdered by bandits. Authorities later determined that Brydle died as a result of a fall from his horse-drawn carriage.
!WARNING! Most of Tinker’s Hollow is on private property, and “No Trespassing” signs are clearly posted. Also, the road to the bridge is pretty rough. Drive carefully, take your junker, and leave the Lexus at home.
For more information about Tinker’s Hollow, check out these links:
The Spalding Research Project on the Conneaut Giants
Forgotten Ohio’s webpage on Tinker’s Hollow
The Ashtabula Hauntings section of the Ohio Exploration Society
A ghost story on Tinker’s Hollow featured by the Ohio Ghost Researchers
Historical webpage on Monroe Township
Ashtabula County OhGenWeb page featuring an Ashtabula Star Beacon news article on Bert Brydle
An excellent website on the History of Conneaut put out by high school student (!) Andy Pochatko
5/12/05: Don’t go messin’ around with Old Man Tinker’s turf or suffer the consequences, as Michelle K. had learned the hard way:
O.k. It was December 17th, 2001. My sister, my best friend, a buddy, and I decided to go out on a little spook hunt. Now there isn’t that much in Ashtabula county, so you know we had to find something to do. We ran out to the truck stop out on State Route 193 and grabbed something to eat. My best friend mentioned that we weren’t that far from Tinker’s Hollow, and asked us if we wanted to go. We thought, “why not? Nothing better to do.” So, we went out there.
Now the stories I always heard about the place involved a young guy and girl who drove down to the bridge to hang out. The car stalled on the bridge. The boy looked at the girl and said he was going to get help and left the girl in the car. Hours go by and the guy doesn’t return. Then, the girl heard something dripping on the roof and a slight brushing, too. She got out of the car and found her boyfriend hanging from the bridge, with his feet are scraping the top of the car. It was said that Tinker did it to protect his gold…
Anyway, my friends and I go down there and drive onto the bridge. It was raining cold and everyone at this point was scared to get out of the car. So, we turned it into a dare. I jumped out like I was all big and bad, looked down at the river and got back in the jeep. We sat there for like 20 minutes on the bridge. We flashed the lights 3x, turned off the engine, all that great stuff. Nothing happened at first. So, so we decided to leave.
As we backed off the bridge, it seemed like something had picked up my friend’s Wagoneer. Then, it threw us down the side of the embankment of the river. The whole cab of the Jeep lit up like someone turned on a light switch. It was very odd. After we all climbed out, we checked out the tire marks thinking we did something wrong in backing up. But, to our discovery, the tire tracks stopped on the bridge (mind you this is a dirt road), then started back again 10 ft away and half way down the side of the slope. To this day, I still have a scar from where I got cut on my arm. Only I don’t have a clue how I got the cut.