In the woods near the Wissahickon Creek, just a bit north of Walnut Lane, stands a statue of a man in plain Quaker garb who looks out over the valley. Inscribed upon that statue is the word “Toleration.” The rock on which this statue stands, Mom Rinker’s Rock has a curious history, and figured slightly in the Battle of Germantown during the Revolutionary War.
Stories say that, during that battle, Colonial spies received information about British troop movements from a woman known as Molly “Mom” Rinker. This is nothing so unusual except that other stories, unconnected with the Revolution, tell of a witch name Mom Rinkle who haunted, as it were, those same parts.
I’m both sad and happy to say that I could find little information concerning Mom Rinkle/Rinker save that she drank dew from acorn-cups and could put the evil eye on neighbors; sad because there’s little historical information to inform my writing and happy because, more so than usual, I have permission to make things up wholesale.
I’m always happy to find local legends, especially old ones, and this one lends itself well to future stories. It also gives me a reason, as if I needed one, to go up along the Wissahickon. I hope I’m not the only Philly local inspired to do so.