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Van Hook ancestry featured in museum

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By Cindy Simpson

Preserving history, particularly the family history, was an important part of the life of Stonewall Jackson Van Hook Jr., the former Oliver Springs doctor known by “S.J.”
“Dad was kind of a family historian,” said Joe Van Hook, Oliver Springs city judge and recorder.
Now, part of the family history he’s preserved has been donated to the Tennessee State Museum, which is showcasing part of those items in Tennessee: A People’s Legacy, an exhibit paying homage to the residents that contributed to the state’s rich history.
The items part of the exhibit include a squirrel cage  yarn reel from the mid-1800s, a crutch from the 1870s and a brick mold, circa about 1860.
S.J. grew up on a 300-acre farm his father had owned in the Whitehaven community of Memphis.
Stonewall Van Hook Jr. eventually left the area, landing in East Tennessee.
He became a student at Knoxville General Hospital, where his future wife was a nursing student.
He originally started in Harriman but later expanded his work into Oak Ridge Hospital, making rounds to see patients there when he wasn’t seeing patients at his office or at their homes.
Keeping family memories alive was important to him, even after he left West Tennessee, and he gradually started a collection of things from the old homestead.