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Riverboat captain’s grave in Morgan County site

January 19, 2012
By Brad Bauer - The Marietta Times ( , The Marietta Times

STOCKPORT-Most everyone has heard tales of Captain Hook, but the closer you are to Morgan County the more likely it is for folks who hear the name to start telling tales of a local riverboat pilot who lived there more than 100 years ago and went by the same name.

The local legend, Captain Isaac Newton Hook, is one of about 300 people laid to rest at Brick Church Cemetery, located in Windsor Township in Morgan County.

The earliest known burial there was in 1829 but the three-acre cemetery is still open, said Windsor Township Trustee Steve Hanson, who helps maintain the historic site.

Article Photos

BRAD BAUER The Marietta Times
Windsor Township Trustee Steve Hanson and Morgan County Engineer Stevan Hook walk though a section of Brick Church Cemetery in Morgan County on Wednesday. The three-acre cemetery opened in 1829 and is the resting place for several war veterans and local legend Captain Hook.

"It's not one of our larger cemeteries but it is one of our oldest," he said.

The cemetery is located on the eastern bank of the Muskingum River, about 100 yards off Ohio 376, between Stockport and McConnelsville.

The brick church, Windsor Baptist Church, was destroyed by a flood in 1913, Hanson said.

Fact Box

Brick Church and Cemetery

Location: About two miles north of Stockport on Ohio 376 in Morgan County.

First known burial: 1829.

Total burials: 294 (still open).

Known as:

The resting place of Captain Isaac N. Hook (1819-1906) and several members of his family.

Veterans of several wars dating back to the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

The former location of the Windsor Baptist Church, washed out by the flood of 1913.

Source: Windsor Township Trustees.

The cemetery is best known for Hook's tomb, which he carved from sandstone just before his death in 1906. But the cemetery also is known as a resting place of a handful of veterans from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, Hanson said.

The cemetery is located near Hooksburg, a once-thriving area that was also taken out by the 1913 flood, said Morgan County Engineer Stevan Hook, the great-great grandson of Isaac Hook.

"I think just about everyone living around here back then knew of Captain Hook," Stevan Hook said. "Even today, people talk about him."

Ernie Thode, manager of Local History and Genealogy at the Washington County Public Library, said more than 1,500 people turned out for Hook's funeral.

"He was a colorful character and a very successful businessman and riverboat captain," Thode said.

Thode said Hook's career began at age 16, around 1835, when he piloted flatboats loaded with local produce to New Orleans.

From 1841 to 1846 Hook ran a general store in Hooksburg and in 1855 he purchased the steamboat Freedom and ran it all along the Muskingum River. In 1857, Hook built a boat called Silverheels.

"For several years, the B&O Railroad used Hook and his steamboat to shuttle passengers between Parkersburg and Marietta," Thode said.

During the U.S. Civil War, Hook was considered a master of transportation and carried iron and other goods to points all along the Ohio River and its tributaries, Thode said.

Stevan Hook said his ancestor was also known for appearing at parades or events on tall stilts and for his amazing ice skating skills.

"He would skate to Zanesville and back," Hook said. "If the river was frozen, that's how a lot of folks got around back then...If there was a path cut in the ice for boats to get though they say he could jump it."

Stevan Hook said the elder Hook didn't get along with his second wife and was living with friends in Stockport in the final years of his life. It was during that time he built his six-foot tomb.

"I don't know this to be fact, but I've heard the top was rounded because his second wife had always said she couldn't wait for him to die so she could dance on his grave," he said. "I guess he didn't want that."

The tomb was cut from sandstone and features a man rowing a canoe on one side, a man hunting a rabbit on another and a man standing at the rear with a rifle in hand and a dog at his side. The front of the tomb has Hook's name and the high watermark from the flood of 1898 - located just below where the man was eventually laid to rest.

"I guess he wanted to keep out of the water but this whole area was under during the flood of 1913," Stevan Hook said.

Many of the markers at the cemetery have become damaged over the years and Hanson said he has been working to try to fix as many as possible. He said local genealogy officials helped pay for him to take classes offered by the Ohio Historical Society to learn to repair the markers.

"It's not something unique to this cemetery, but it is a priority of the trustees to get these repaired," he said. "I think that now more than ever people are interested in genealogy and finding their roots. It makes it hard for folks when these are laying in pieces. Out of respect for the dead and their families we want to get these fixed."



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