Twenty-six years in a high-alcohol environment is a long time to expect a yeast to survive. One of the oldest yeasts recovered from beer (that I'm aware of) is almost 200 years old; but the bottle of beer was at the bottom of the English Channel, a very cool place for the yeast to remain dormant.
If your bottle has been in a similarly very cool location for 26 years, there may be a chance to recover something, and Joe Sr.'s technique is the way to go. The only thing I would add to his plan would be to flame or sanitize the opening of the bottle/fermenting vessels to reduce the liklihood of contamination.
If you are not successful at capturing the yeast, use a modern alternative. Thomas Hardy Ales have been a passion for me for the last 20 years or so, and I have worked on making a clone of this beer for just as many years. As unorthodox as it may sound, my literature search and brewing experience has shown that Wyeast 2206 (Bavarian Lager) yeast works well in a Thomas Hardy clone. Pitch the wort on the yeast cake from a prior batch of beer, and ferment at ALE temperatures, not lager temperatures. The esters given off by this strain of yeast at ale temperatures fit very well with the aroma and flavor profiles found in the Eldridge Pope era Thomas Hardys.