Odds and Ends: Buried box yields Texas treasures after hurricane

GALVESTON, Texas – A contractor helping clear debris from Hurricane Ike is looking for the owner of an ammunition box he found buried in sand that contained keepsakes, including an 1863 Confederate $50 bill, war medals and diamond earrings.

The green steel Army ammunition canister found by Michael Pate also held several clues that may help him confirm the owner: family photographs, a driver’s license and a Social Security card.

Pate was working on a tractor equipped with a grappling arm, snatching storm debris from the sand at Galveston Island State Park, when he found the box Jan. 7.

“I was on the beach side about 100 to 150 feet from the water. I was raking the sand and saw this snake come out of the pile,” he said in a story posted online Tuesday by The Galveston County Daily News. “It went right down beside this box.”

The can’s rubber seal perfectly preserved the treasures inside. Among the other items were dog tags, military medals, silver certificates, silver bracelets, watches, an Art Donovan football card and a glass Model A Ford radiator cap.

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    Pate is following up on a name listed on the driver’s license.

    “I thought it would be an encouraging story for the community,” Pate said. “We’ve seen so much destruction.”

    Hurricane Ike walloped the upper Gulf Coast on Sept. 13, devastating Galveston and nearby counties.

    Texas boys find 95-year-old’s long-lost class ring

    LUFKIN, Texas – Franklin Weeks figures he lost his college class ring sometime in the 1980s while helping his church put in new playground equipment.

    Luke and Sam Lytle can vouch for the 95-year-old Lufkin man’s theory. They found the missing ring – Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College, Class of 1937 – on Monday while testing their new metal detector at the Ryan Chapel Church playground in Diboll.

    Twelve-year-old Luke says he and his 8-year-old brother thought about selling it to a gold reclamation shop, but his conscience dictated a search for its owner.

    An Internet search using the initials engraved inside the ring traced it to Weeks. He gave them $20 and told them, “I hope you keep on hunting. Pretty soon you might find something you can keep.”

    Compiled from Associated Press reports