The Lowell Area Historical Museum is offering a weekly feature to explore local history. This week, museum staff is telling us about the Tinkler Family who were an integral part of early 20th Century life in Lowell. To learn more about Lowell history, visit the museum website to explore its collection of local artifacts and records.
Jed and Mary Tinkler married 1891 and lived in town on Hudson Street, across the street to the east of the Congregational Church. Jed loved to hunt and worked as a barber in the Lee Block at 119 W. Main. This location is part of today’s Main Street Inn. In November of 1906 he lost the shop in a fire that destroyed the Lee block. Fires were not uncommon in these wood frame buildings, especially in the winter time. The origin of this fire was uncertain, but it was thought to have been a defective wire. This fire was hard for the fire department as they were unable to get to the back of the building, ironically, because of the river.
Jed moved into the Hotel Central Building around the corner on Riverside Street temporarily until he could resume his practice at the old location. A barber shop was the center of town affairs, and Jed Tinkler was well known in Lowell. He owned his shop, and employed other barbers.
Mrs. Mary Tinkler’s story contains an interesting and tragic twist. Her descendants tell that she herself didn’t even know the full story until much later in life. Her birth parents were Charles and Almira Nelson. She had an older sister Elizabeth (Lizzie) and older brother George. Mary was born on October 22, 1871. One month later, on November 24, 1871, the family was in a horrible buggy accident. Almira died that day, and Charles died two days later. Charles and Almira were buried in the Alton Cemetery. Two year old George died as a result of the accident also and was buried at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Grattan Township. Lizzie survived. She died in 1892, and joined her brother at St. Patrick’s Cemetery.
Mary was legally adopted by the neighbor, John and Maria Crowley. She was baptized at St. Patrick’s church on December 3, 1871. John died in 1879, was buried at St. Patrick’s Cemetery, and after that Mary lived with various neighbors. By the time her marriage license to Jed was recorded, her name is given as Nellie Nelson Crowley. Her father’s name is listed as Crowley and her mother was unknown.
Jed and Mary had four daughters who charmed the town. The girls were Alice, Lucille, Angelus (Angie) and Martha. The girls were involved in clubs and hosted parties and social events in their home.
In 1914 Jed sold the barber shop intending to move to Grand Rapids. They lived in Belding for a while before moving to Grand Rapids. Both Tinklers died in 1932. Jed died in February while on a trip to Ohio to visit one of the daughters and Mary died on Christmas day from pneumonia.