As some of you may recall, my article, “Discovering Tinkhamtown” was published in the 2011 Winter Issue of The Upland Almanac. This article addresses some little known facts about Corey Ford’s classic, “The Road to Tinkhamtown.”
Today, I received my copy of the Spring 2012 Issue of The Upland Almanac and it looks like a good one. Notably, in the letters to the editor section on page 69, there were three comments praising “Discovering Tinkhamtown” which made my day.
In one of the letters to the editor from David Book of Helena, Montana, there was something that totally intrigued me. In my article, I recited the fact that Corey Ford, Dan Holland, Everett Wood (or “Woodie”), and Hank Doremus were all grouse hunting buddies. The premise of my article, “Discovering Tinkhamtown” is that Dan Holland actually discovered Tinkhamtown because of what he wrote in the introduction to his chapter on ruffed grouse in his nonfictional book, The Upland Game Hunter’s Bible, which is set forth below:
“Where’d you get the fine pa’tridges?” a farmer asked me as I dragged my feet wearily down the little New Hampshire road to my parked car.
“Tinkhamtown,” I answered.
“Ain’t no sech place,” he snapped back. “Lived in these parts all my life–well, not quite yet, but so far–and there ain’t no sech place.”
I told him that Tinkhamtown was across the mountain within walking distance of where we stood. I knew because I had been there, taken my limit of grouse and had come back all in the same day. The mystery was explained by an old map I had chanced on which clearly showed a town and farming community which no longer existed. Being a partridge hunter, I had hiked there, found the old cellar holes, the vanishing traces of pasture land, the overgrown orchards and ruffed grouse almost in flocks. I explained this to my friend. He cogitated for a moment and allowed as how it might be a fact: long ago there were farms over the mountain, but no more. The last resident had moved out at least sixty years ago.
“Over to Concord, that’s where they went, I warrant, ” he remarked a little scornfully, “Some of them went clean to Boston, maybe.” “Yep,” he added proudly, “it takes a right good man to farm this country.”
What I did not know when I wrote the article was that Everett Wood, or Woodie, wrote an article for Gray’s Sporting Journal in the Summer of 1982 entitled, “Last Hunt with Corey,” in which he claims he discovered Tinkhamtown. According to Woodie:
In the mid-fifties a local history buff had shown me a map of Lyme, New Hampshire, published in 1873. The map had indicated every road and building in the township, including a cluster of buildings located –not precisely — a mile or two east of the Canaan Turnpike in the southeast corner of Lyme. That cluster was the community of Tinkhamtwown . . . .
Some while later I mentioned Tinkhamtown to Corey, and of my plan to find it. Always intrigued with the character and flavor of words, Corey fell in love, at once and forever with the name. . . .
In the fall of 1957, I really did try to find that lost community and the incomparable grouse cover that must surround it. But I never found it. The dense woods and beaver ponds defeated me. After four attempts I stopped trying.
So now we have yet a third person who claimed to have discovered Tinkhamtown. The plot thickens and the mystery grows. I’ve got to get my hands on that article! I don’t think that it will change my analysis in “Discovering Tinkhamtown” because, by his own admission, Everett Wood never actually made it to Tinkhamtown.
On the other hand, I believe that both Dan Holland and Corey Ford both did, which fact is evidenced by their writings. I believe Dan Holland was the first person to actually make it to Tinkhamtown. Holland’s book was nonfiction and he had no reason, at that time, to lie. Laurie Morrow has written that Tinkhamtown is real and that it is exactly where Corey said it was, which implies that Corey had, in fact, been there. Apparently, neither Corey or Dan ever took their friend Woodie there. I guess some coverts are too special to share with everyone. Regardless of who discovered Tinkhamtown, it’s facinating to see three close hunting friends with three separate stories on how and by whom Tinkhamtown was discovered.
Good stuff my friends . . . good stuff!!!!