Life at Tinker Swiss Cottage

“But may be some sister or lover may pursue these pages some day with pleasure.  It is with the belief that this book will have a circulation that I dot so elegantly these narrow lines.” – Robert Hall Tinker

Mr. Robert Hall Tinker (1836-1924) was born in the Sandwich Islands (modern Hawai’i) on the last day of 1836. In 1856 he moved to Rockford, Illinois to work at the Manny Reaper Company where he became a successful businessman and the future mayor of Rockford. Inspired by the architecture of Switzerland during a trip to Europe, Mr. Tinker designed a Swiss-style chalet on a bluff overlooking Kent Creek in Rockford. Mr. Tinker’s Cottage still stands today as a museum and as a monument to the history of Rockford.

The Journals of Robert Hall Tinker, 1851-1869

ISBN-13: 978-1-61876-003-6
334 Pages

This is the first in a series of journals written by Robert Hall Tinker (1836-1924). Volume 1, 1851-1869, covers the adolescence of the young Mr. Tinker and the details of his life growing up in western New York until his marriage to Mary Dorr Manny in 1870. Mr. Tinker describes life in antebellum New York, before moving to the ‘Wild West’ of Illinois to make a new home in Rockford. The journals end when Mr. Tinker takes his vows of marriage.

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The Journals of Robert Hall Tinker, 1870-1901

ISBN-13: 978-1-61876-006-7
422 Pages

This is the second in a series of journals written by Robert Hall Tinker (1836 – 1924). Volume 2, 1870-1901, covers his marriage to Mary Dorr Manny and their honeymoon in the Hawaiian Islands, his return trip to Europe, and his business enterprise in Colorado. In this volume Mr. Tinker describes life as adventurous but not always cheerful. The journals describe how Robert feels after learning about his mother’s passing and the daily agonizing pain inflicted on his sister-in-law Hannah before her illness culminates in her own death. The journals end as Mr. Tinker loses his left foot in a train accident and the tragic death of his wife, Mary, on September 4, 1901.

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The Journals of Robert Hall Tinker, 1902-1922

ISBN-13: 978-1-61876-013-5
412 Pages

This final volume in a three volume series of journals describes Robert H. Tinker’s life from 1902-1922. This volume includes the death of Robert’s niece Marcia Dorr, Robert’s marriage to his second wife, Jessie Dorr Hurd, Robert’s bouts with sickness, and the arrival of his son Theodore Tinker. His last twenty-five years are spent between gardening, volunteering, traveling, family life, and work. This volume consists of many entries related to Jessie Dorr, Marcia Dorr, other family members and friends. Throughout the book, Robert details his continued trips to Colorado, the east coast, Chicago, and Wisconsin.  Many entries focus on his stays at the hospital and Turkish baths as he tries to recover from one bout of illness after the next. Beginning in 1908, Robert’s entries begin to mention his son Theodore Tinker. Towards the end of the volume, the entries become shorter and eventually stop on October 25, 1922, two years before his death.

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