Created By: Ithaca Heritage
As legend has it, an old peddler would visit Ellis Hollow to sell his wares. At night, he would sleep in a farmhouse by a nearby swamp. One day, the peddler arrived to the Hollow, but he never reappeared. Villagers became concerned after several days, noticing that the peddler’s cart and horse hadn’t been moved. The whereabouts of the peddler remained unknown until a group of neighbors started clearing stumps from the swamp for a building project. One of the men in the group owned and lived in a nearby farmhouse. When the group approached a certain pine stump, the man quickly excused himself from the party. Upon pulling up the stump, the men uncovered a pile of human bones.
The legend claims the community was suspicious, but didn't take further actions. It was not until many years later, on his deathbed, that the man confessed to the murder of the old peddler. His motive, he said, was the peddler’s gold.
He had stolen the pouch of gold from the peddler and buried it in a hidden location. In his old age however, he had forgotten where he hid the pouch of gold, and was never able to cash in on the spoils of his murderous act. Villagers searched the swamp endlessly, digging in search of the gold, but nothing was ever found.
The spirit of the peddler is said to rest uneasily. Those who have lived in the murderers farmhouse reported hearing groans from the fireplace and saw the handle of the water pump on the porch spin around untouched. A fire burned down the house decades ago, but the stories of unexplained happenings persist in Spooky Hollow.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Finding Fires - Tompkins County