Category: ashtabula-county

The Legend Of Tinkers Hollow

As told by William Hughes.

One of the most popular topics on the Ghost Of Ohio discussion board is Ashtabula County’s Tinkers Hollow. Every time Sylvester Tinker hears how he killed his wife and hid her in the corn field, I’m sure he wishes he were a ghost. But guess what? Not true! It’s all nothing but an urban legend. Although the Tinker family were ingenious inventors in the iron field, they were by no means killers!

Silas Tinker came to Conneaut, Ohio in 1806 along with his sons, William, Julias, and Sylvester. They invented a process for making some of the strongest iron in Ohio history. They also manufactured tools, saws, stoves, and the first horse drawn mowing machine. Sylvester built the first foundry in Conneaut in 1833, then updated it in 1835 to work with cast iron. It is years after the brothers left town that the true haunting begins.

It seems that an old hermit took to living in the old ruins of the abandoned foundry. As the story goes, he was struck by lightning and lived through the experience, although one of his legs was badly injured. This forced him to drag his one leg behind him as he walked about. After many year the old hermit just seemed to have vanished and was seen no more, but people all claimed that if you sat under the Tinker Hollow Bridge long enough you would hear him returning home, with his donkey dragging his leg behind him. At one point the legend became so popular that Conneaut News Herald reporter Pat Williams camped under the bridge. For two nights he and the two other men he had brought along as witnesses saw nothing. The following weekend Pat and his companions returned to the bridge on a foggy, rainy night. Shortly after midnight the men heard the sound of someone making their way across the bridge. It sounded like the steps of man leading a horse with the man dragging his leg as he walked. The three men rushed to the top of the bridge with their cameras in hand to record the event, but all they saw was the rain soaked delapadated old bridge. What ever had made the sounds had vanished into thin air.

Research for this story done by Linda Siders, Fred Siders, and William Hughes.

Resource information provided by, The Ashtabula Historical Society, the Conneaut News Herald. The North Eastern Ohio Ghost Research Team (NEOGRT) would like to give a special thank you to the the wonderful staff of the Conneaut Public Library, who opened their doors for us to access the histories on Tinker Hollow.

Anyone wishing to reach NEOGRT may do so at the following e-mail addresses:

This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets’ site.

The Ashtabula Train Wreck

Submitted by William Hughes

This was a Christmas time disaster that took place in Ashtabula Ohio on the old Lake Shore Line.

It was a cold snowy day as the Pacific Express rolled in Ashtabula. The temperature was frigid and visibility was zero. Nothing could prepare the passengers for what was about to happen on December 29th, 1876. The time was 7:30 PM as the engineer brought the train across the Ashtabula Bridge. As the engine made it across the bridge, the engineer heard a loud crack and the bridge began to shake. He throttled the engine to full and it shot ahead jumping off the tracks and separating it from the rest of the train. The trailing cars plunged off of the bridge 100 feet to the freezing river below. The train cars made of fragile wood splintered as the crashed on top of each other. What made matters worse was as it was winter the passenger cars had their pot belly stoves running for heat. The red hot coals spilled onto the wooden wreckage igniting the the smashed cars. Within moments the entire wreck was engulfed in a colossal inferno.

Over 85 people perished in the flaming wreck that night. Many were so badly burnt they could not be recognized. To make matter worse many of the passengers had signed for their tickets by simply making an X. This made identification impossible. The railways records indicated that there were anywhere from 180 to 250 souls on board, but the grim facts were, 85 dead, 24 of who were identified. As Ohio watched in shock, the dead were taken to Chestnut Grove Cemetery for burial. A monument has been erected there. Its inscription reads:


The grave site as well as the location of the crash on the bridge are believed to be haunted to this day.

Myself and members of my NEOGRT Team have been to both sites. There we have detected Cold Spots, EVP, and a general feeling of uneasiness at both sites.

William and his group are still in the process of investigating this site. They plan on visiting it again as soon as the weather breaks. The investigation is going to be an overnight stay at the crash site. Any wishing to join them in this venture can do so by contacting William or one of his team at:

Linda & Fred:

NEOGRT (William, Micky, Fred, Linda, Stacy, Chris, and Michell)
Story by William Hughes
Research Materials: Henderson Memorial Library, Train Wreck by, Robert C. Reed. Ships And Men Of The Great Lakes by, Dwight Boyer.

I would personally like to thank Micky and NEOGRT for believing in me to make this research dream come true.

William Hughes

This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets’ site.