The Dog

 

This life-size statue of a greyhound dog, visible from North Court Street, was placed on the lot of Thomas J. Nash at about the turn of the century.  Is it a memorial from a master to a faithful dog?  A tribute from a loving grandfather to his dead grandson?  No one knows the real history of the dog statue, but many stories have surfaced over the years of how the Greyhound came to rest in Section 1/Lot 21 of Ottumwa Cemetery.

The oldest legend was retained in the memory of Leroy Christie, former Superintendent of the Cemetery. According to him, T.J. Nash  lived on East Second Street, just west of College Street.  His favorite dog died and he had Naugle & Son of Ottumwa make the statue. For several years it stood in Nash’s front yard, one morning the stone dog was missing from the Nash yard and appeared on the Nash lot in the Cemetery.

Another legend, reported to the Ottumwa Courier in 1936, states that  Nash’s four-year old grandson, George owned a dog,  when George died in 1904 the grief stricken pet visited his master’s grave every day.  One day he was found dead of a broken heart on the burial spot.  The boy’s grandfather had the statue cast as a monument to the devoted dog.

After the 1999 Cemetery Lantern Tour, Millie Morris-Amos did a story for the “Rippling Waters Review”. She uncovered some new information and found a companion for the Statue on the Nash lot.   There were 2 Greyhound Dogs resting on the ledge of the entry way to a home,  a male sitting & a female lying down. Home-owner “Link” Reynolds  was told that the stonemason who built the foundation to the house also made these statues of the dogs.  His granddaughter , Betty Jane,  remembers her grandfather telling the story of the dogs. One day an unknown gentleman came to the door and asked if he could have one of the dogs to “mark” the grave of his young grandson who died. The dog in the sitting position was given to him. The original owner of the home was a  stonemason named “Naugle”.

Is this the dog sitting on the Nash Lot? No one knows which story is the truth. The Greyhound Statue has been standing guard for nearly 100 years and will continue to do so into the next century.

In the spring of 2004, the dog statue was “attacked” in an act of vandalism. The body of the statue was chipped in several locations and the head broken off and stolen.  The head was later recovered and was presented as evidence at the trial of the vandal responsible for the damage.  The statue was removed for a complete professional restoration before resuming its place at Ottumwa Cemetery.