More than 100 years after her aunt died, Lattie Brown, 88, made a connection to her she never expected through what she believes is her aunt’s wedding ring.
Brown’s aunt, Nance Salmedia Edison, died in 1912, before Brown was born. Brown’s mother died young, when Brown was 13 years old and was probably buried with her wedding ring, she said. And although the fam ily still lives on the same property Brown grew up on, most of the family’s heirlooms were lost in a fire at her girlhood home in the 1970s, she said. So the ring is a surprise, Brown said.
“I can’t explain how I felt,” Brown said about receiving the ring. “I liked it.”
Talking about the ring brought back memories. Brown leaned forward in the brown chair where she sat, smiled and reminisced out loud about her childhood on the same property where her daughter and grandchildren now live.
Heath Jones and two friends, Ray Camp and Brian Romine found the ring with their metal detectors as they searched for historical relics on his family’s 500 acres in Heflin. He had consulted old maps to find the area where her home might have been. Then in exploring, Jones found a circle of rocks he believes mark a well in a wood ed area set back from what used to be a road through the property, he said. The rocks are usually good indications that there was a home nearby, Jones said.
The three headed out last week to the area around the well with metal detectors in hand to see what they could find. Romine said the group was walking through the woods when his detector went off next to a tree.
“I thought I found a penny,” Romine said.
He started digging and three to four inches below ground he found what looked like a piece of scrap metal. But as he wiped the dirt away, he saw it was a copper ring, and on the inside he could still see a little gold plat ing.
This is the second time Romine’s found a ring with gold plating in his searches. His research after finding the first ring ledhim to believe that the rings are probably from the Civil War era, he said. Pennies from 1845 and 1856 that Jones found on the property back up that con clusion. Jones believes the property was actively used in the 1850s and 1860s. That means the ring most probably belonged to Edison who was born in the 1830s or 1840s, Jones said. The home was no longer on the county maps in 1913. He’s not sure when or how it was destroyed, Jones said.
Romine said when he found the ring, his first thought was to give it to the family and when Jones wouldn’t take it, he gave it to Brown.
“It was in pretty rough shape,” Romine said. “But she clearly was interested in the ring.”
Jones said it was exciting to see how happy the ring made his grandmother.
“That means more to me than anything,” Jones said.