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Long-lost class ring turns up in Caroline.
Date published: 4/22/2012
BY EDIE GROSS
James Gilbreath often walks with his eyes on the dirt
On the 96-acre spread in Texas where he spends his winters, it's a great way to spot arrowheads--and to keep from stepping on snakes.
He'd been working on a renovation project at a house near the old Port Royal Masonic Lodge, and on his lunch break had wandered over to a nearby lot where a home had been bulldozed.
Pushing at the loosened dirt with his shoe, he spotted the remains of a flintlock pistol and, about 10 feet from that, a man's high school class ring.
He cleaned up the pistol and put it away, figuring he'd give it to a museum someday. He wasn't sure what to do with the ring, so he tucked it carefully into a drawer with other odds and ends he'd collected over the years.
Recently, Gilbreath spotted an article in The Free Lance-Star about someone who was reunited with a long-lost class ring, and it reminded him of the ring he'd found in the dirt that day so long ago.
He brought the ring to the newspaper to see if employees could locate its owner.
"I thought: 'Well, what the heck. If the guy can get his ring back, that's great,'" said Gilbreath.
Assistant Managing Editor Betty Hayden Snider, a Caroline native, was the first to get a look at the ring, which had a large red stone set in its center and "Caroline High School" and "1960" engraved on its sides.
Snider turned to Advertising Operations Manager Elaine Satterfield for help.
Satterfield's own beloved class ring had been stolen years ago when her home was burglarized, and Snider initially hoped this ring belonged to her.
But that wasn't the case. First, it was a man's ring.
Second, Satterfield, who grew up in Caroline County as Elaine Gatewood, graduated from C.T. Smith High School in 1966, so the information on the ring didn't match.
Besides, on the inside of the ring, faint but still legible, were the initials HTB.