From the book, "History of Morgan County, Ohio - 1886"
By Charles Robertson, M. D.
Originally published in 1886
CAPT. ISAAC N. HOOK
ISAAC N. was born in Zanesville, November 1, 1819. At the age of ten he commenced life as a pilot on the Muskingum. His father kept him employed in various capacities until 1841, when he purchased the Hooksburg property, where for four years he did an extensive business in general merchandise, salt-making, cooperage and wagon-making. In 1846 he commenced to freight flour from McConnelsville to New Orleans. In this business he was engaged until 1856. He built the noted steamer "Silverheels," and from 1858 to 1863, the captain was employed by the Baltimore & Railroad, in the transfer of freight and passengers from Parkersburg, Virginia, to Marietta, Ohio. From 1863 until the close of the war he was in the government service as a steamboat expert and master of transportation on the Ohio and its tributaries. After the battle of Chattanooga he was placed in command of a fleet of four steamboats and eight barges, loaded with one thousand tons of railroad iron for the completion of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, which had been destroyed by the Confederates. It was imperative that this road should be opened with the utmost dispatch in order to facilitate the transportation of troops and supplies for the army, and the responsibility devolving upon Capt. Hook was great and the undertaking a hazardous one, and required not only consummate skill, but unceasing vigilance, owing to the difficult navigation of the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers on account of the low stage of water. Like all other enterprises, however, in which he had been engaged which involved a thorough knowledge of river navigation and steamboating, he was highly successful, and the iron was delivered on time. His success added materially to his well-won reputation as a steam boatman, and it was not until 1873 that the government would dispense with his services. Since this time he has been engaged in the slackwater improvement of the Muskingum, Kentucky and Little Kanawha Rivers, and government improvements on the Ohio. We have now briefly outlined the business career of Capt. Hook extending over a period of half a century. It is said that the record of such a life is "a legacy to humanity," and to the youth of Morgan County it is a fine illustration of the inevitable result of energy and industry combined with integrity and perseverance.
Starting in life with only his natural resources for his capital, he has not only obtained a well-won competency, but has led an active, busy and successful life, benefiting not only those immediately connected with him, but the general public as well.
In this connection it may be proper to state a fact known to every business man in the county, that during the last thirteen years he has honored over $47.000 of paper he had indorsed for his friends. While with many this would be regarded as a lack of business acumen, it is in this case wholly attributable to his kindness of heart.
The captain has been rather prominently identified with political matters, although never an aspirant for office. He is still recollected by all who saw him in 1840 as he marched through the streets of McConnelsville in a political parade on a pair of stilts eleven feet high. In 1842 the captain was married to Miss LUCINDA DEARBORN, who died in 1862 in her forty-third year. Two years later he was again married to QUITERA WILSON, of Windsor, where she was born in 1843. He has reared a family of sixteen children; by the first marriage nine, named in the order of their ages as follows: JAMES, BETSEY, CHARLES, JOHN, ISAAC N., ALFRED, MARY, HENRY and MARTHA; by the second, seven: JENNIE, IDA M., LEONARD, HETTIE, POOL and GOOL (twins) and LOVE.
Note by Phillip Bohn:
Isaac and his 1st wife Lucinda Dearborn (1820-1862) are buried in the old Brick cemetery in Windsor Twp. His second wife Esther Quitera Wilson (1843-1910) is buried in McConnelsville cemetery. Isaac died in 1906.