OOS Sculpture

Captain Isaac Newton Hook's Tomb

circa 1900 / Isaac Newton Hook / Stockport

20210302_144304 (2).jpg

This is the highly-unusual above-ground tomb of Captain Isaac Newton Hook, which he designed and created himself, completing it shortly before his death in 1906. There are rudimentary images carved all around the now-ivory-colored structure, which has reportedly been recently whitewashed, as historical images show it a more natural grey. (See historical photos attached to record.) One side shows a man holding a gun and shooting a rabbit, while the other depicts a man rowing a canoe. The back of the tomb has the word "pioneer" engraved above a man with an ax in his hand and a dog leaping at his feet. The front has the image of an anchor encircled, as well as "I.N. Hook," with a star at the beginning and a cross cutting off the "k" at the end. There is also a spot marked "FLOOD [arrow symbol] 1898," which is discussed below. The stone plaque cemented into the front holds his controversial views on religion, death, and oddly, the 15th Amendment, which had given all [male] American citizens the right to vote regardless of race or former slave status.

The popular legend associated with this tomb is that Hook's wife informed him she would be the first to dance on his grave when he died, so he built it with a rounded top and a sharp spire to prevent her from doing so. It's unclear what happened to the spire shown in one of the photos, but as seen in one of the other images, there used to be a small boat on a little platform affixed to the rounded top, intended to take him away in the event of a flood. (It's unclear whether he meant while he was alive or postmortem.) There was, in fact, a flood in 1913, which destroyed the nearby brick church and road, and it actually carried the boat away, never to be found.

Hook, who had become a river pilot at the age of 10, had tried to take preventive measures against flooding, as he didn't want to have water run over his burial spot. There is a marking of the 1898 flood water level on the front of his tomb, right in the middle. Above the line is a coffin-shaped entrance, currently covered by his grave marker, with the thought being that, when he died, his body could be entered into the tomb right above the waterline. (See the historical photo attached to the record for an image of the tomb as it was first built, prior to Hook's death, where the entrance is uncovered and the otherwise-unchanged stone grave marker has no death date.) His wish did not come true, however, and his tomb was submerged in the 1913 flood, although it survived.

Historical photos are from the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Library's Genealogy & Local History Department.

Accessibility notes:

Following the 1913 flood, the road had to be moved to the other side of the cemetery, away from the Muskingum River. This places the graveyard far back from the main road, at the end of a lane running between a corn field and a wooded area. The historical marker sits parallel to the highway and blends in with the surrounding tree trunks, making it, the cemetery, and the church difficult to see, especially when going the speed limit headed south from McConnelsville. If you reach Stockport, you've gone too far south, as it's about two miles north from that city.

It's recommended that cars be parked at the second historical marker in front of the graveyard entrance gate, and visitors can then walk back to the highly-visible tomb and church. There is no clear path, and the ground has a tendency to get muddy, as it's steps away from the Muskingum River. Most maps and sites list the location as the [Old] Brick Church Cemetery.

Location: Brick Church Cemetery, Across from 1888 OH-376

County

: Morgan

Citation

: Isaac Newton Hook, “Captain Isaac Newton Hook's Tomb,” Ohio Outdoor Sculpture , accessed June 22, 2021, https://oos.sculpturecenter.org/items/show/1904.

Title

Captain Isaac Newton Hook's Tomb

Description

This is the highly-unusual above-ground tomb of Captain Isaac Newton Hook, which he designed and created himself, completing it shortly before his death in 1906. There are rudimentary images carved all around the now-ivory-colored structure, which has reportedly been recently whitewashed, as historical images show it a more natural grey. (See historical photos attached to record.) One side shows a man holding a gun and shooting a rabbit, while the other depicts a man rowing a canoe. The back of the tomb has the word "pioneer" engraved above a man with an ax in his hand and a dog leaping at his feet. The front has the image of an anchor encircled, as well as "I.N. Hook," with a star at the beginning and a cross cutting off the "k" at the end. There is also a spot marked "FLOOD [arrow symbol] 1898," which is discussed below. The stone plaque cemented into the front holds his controversial views on religion, death, and oddly, the 15th Amendment, which had given all [male] American citizens the right to vote regardless of race or former slave status.

The popular legend associated with this tomb is that Hook's wife informed him she would be the first to dance on his grave when he died, so he built it with a rounded top and a sharp spire to prevent her from doing so. It's unclear what happened to the spire shown in one of the photos, but as seen in one of the other images, there used to be a small boat on a little platform affixed to the rounded top, intended to take him away in the event of a flood. (It's unclear whether he meant while he was alive or postmortem.) There was, in fact, a flood in 1913, which destroyed the nearby brick church and road, and it actually carried the boat away, never to be found.

Hook, who had become a river pilot at the age of 10, had tried to take preventive measures against flooding, as he didn't want to have water run over his burial spot. There is a marking of the 1898 flood water level on the front of his tomb, right in the middle. Above the line is a coffin-shaped entrance, currently covered by his grave marker, with the thought being that, when he died, his body could be entered into the tomb right above the waterline. (See the historical photo attached to the record for an image of the tomb as it was first built, prior to Hook's death, where the entrance is uncovered and the otherwise-unchanged stone grave marker has no death date.) His wish did not come true, however, and his tomb was submerged in the 1913 flood, although it survived.

Historical photos are from the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Library's Genealogy & Local History Department.

Accessibility notes:

Following the 1913 flood, the road had to be moved to the other side of the cemetery, away from the Muskingum River. This places the graveyard far back from the main road, at the end of a lane running between a corn field and a wooded area. The historical marker sits parallel to the highway and blends in with the surrounding tree trunks, making it, the cemetery, and the church difficult to see, especially when going the speed limit headed south from McConnelsville. If you reach Stockport, you've gone too far south, as it's about two miles north from that city.

It's recommended that cars be parked at the second historical marker in front of the graveyard entrance gate, and visitors can then walk back to the highly-visible tomb and church. There is no clear path, and the ground has a tendency to get muddy, as it's steps away from the Muskingum River. Most maps and sites list the location as the [Old] Brick Church Cemetery.

Date

circa 1900

Subject

Source

Background information from local historian:
https://www.ohiomagazine.com/ohio-life/article/captain-hook-s-tomb-stockport
Incredibly helpful resource, particularly with accessing the location:
https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=123328
https://remarkableohio.org/index.php?/category/1144

Contributor

Identifier

1904

Location City

Location County

Location Site

Location Street

Across from 1888 OH-376

Location Type

Media Sculpture Height

9 feet

Creation Date

circa 1900

Materials

Inscription

"Isaac Newton Hook. [two anchor and chains images] Born 1819 - Died 1906. I love my posterity[.] It is the only everlasting life due me. I doubt the truth of inspiration to man by or from any supreme power. - I am opposed to the amalgamation abolition congress that passed the 15[th] Amendment bill to the Constitution of the United States after the majority had voted no. There is no beginning of man, time, nor space, so there is no end."

Additional Resources

1950 photo courtesy of Cincinnati & Hamilton County Library's Genealogy & Local History Department:
https://digital.cincinnatilibrary.org/digital/collection/p16998coll28/id/14078/
1900 photo courtesy of Cincinnati & Hamilton County Library's Genealogy & Local History Department:
https://digital.cincinnatilibrary.org/digital/collection/p16998coll28/id/20037
1900 photo courtesy of Cincinnati & Hamilton County Library's Genealogy & Local History Department:
https://digital.cincinnatilibrary.org/digital/collection/p16998coll28/id/20038
1905 Article about Hook and his tomb:
https://ohiomemory.org/digital/collection/p16007coll69/id/70
Towards the end, under Hooksburg, which Hook founded:
https://ohioghosttowns.org/morgan-county/