Explore Oxford Libraries, museums, and archives Archives Exhibits Oxford County Gaol Hangings Thomas Cook
Menu

Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook of Innerkip was a 45 year old blind labourer who was charged with the murder of his wife, Bridget Morin, on July 22, 1862. He was convicted (mostly on character statements by his neighbours) and executed on December 16, 1862. Much to the shock of onlookers Cook was accidentally decapitated during his execution and it was this event that sparked the making of the death mask seen at the side entrance of the Gaol. It also ended public executions in the County.

Rumour has it that following the execution money exchanged hands, and instead of the body being buried in Innerkip, it was delivered to a doctor’s medical clinic for study and experimentation at the corner of Finkle and Dundas Street in Woodstock. The body was eventually buried in the backyard of the building and was discovered in 1903. Following this discovery, a number of ghostly sightings were said to occur at both the County Court House and the Gaol. To this day, local folklore claims that it is the body of Thomas Cook searching for his head. 

Oxford County is taking steps to support our community's response to COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) and measures taken by Southwestern Public Health. We are monitoring our operations daily to ensure we are taking the right actions to protect our residents, employees and visitors. Get updates at www.oxfordcounty.ca/COVID-19