While gardening at their home at 11 Peach Street in 1975, a couple found a wedding band. The band’s engraving gave the initials and wedding date of the couple – “E.A. to A. A. 21Mar1907”. From their own property records, the new owners of the home knew that Carl Emil Anderson and his wife Anna had purchased the home in July of 1921.
An aged neighbor lady told the couple that while she remembered how upset Mrs. Anderson was at losing her ring, she couldn’t remember when she had lost it and had no contact info for Anderson family members.
The ring has occupied a place on their table since that day, always making them wonder how they would find family members and finally be able to return Anna’s sadly missed ring. In Jamestown, Carl and Anna Anderson were not unique names and the dream of locating the related Andersons seemed to be the proverbial “needle in a haystack”.
The couple have been members of Fenton History Center, having done genealogy on their own families, and recently they wondered if we could help in the search.
Luckily, after a bit of Jamestown City Directory research, it was discovered that Carl decided on his own to pull himself away from the crowd by referring to himself as C. Emil Anderson. Listed in parenthesis after his name was (Anna) at 11 Peach Street. His occupation was listed as finisher and then foreman at Union National Furniture Co.
I was hopeful that the Anderson’s final resting place would be Lake View Cemetery, and that more information could be obtained through their records. We always love it when a plan comes together! Lake View records include obituaries after 1930, and they provided the names of the Anderson children. I first used Fultonhistory.com to look for the two sons. Gilbert was older and I couldn’t pin him down for sure so I moved on to Kenneth L. There was a Kenneth L Anderson who had a Nationwide Insurance office in Frewsburg. What?? I live in Frewsburg. A couple of phone calls led the search to a Frewsburg resident who recognized several similarities in the details and was so very excited. She had been thinking about her Dad that day because it was his birthday and this was a great surprise.
The Peach Street couple were more than happy to turn over the heirloom to a family member. Alas, the new owner of the ring had found the time amidst hosting a Babe Ruth Baseball player and being at the games to check details in their family history. Many things were eerily similar, her grandparents lived on Peach St, some names, addresses of the Anderson’s sons were the same, but the dates were different. They did some research themselves and discovered that her grandparents, while being Carl and Anna Anderson, lived at a different number on Peach St. But, they are included in the abstract for 11 Peach St under a disclaimer by C. Emil’s Anna saying some info was being confused in the abstract with the other Anderson couple. Three members of the Frewsburg family worked on the “other Andersons”, finding obituaries and names and addresses of living descendants in order to do their part to hasten the journey of the ring.
The Frewsburg family and I attended the same Frewsburg meeting and I was dismayed to hear that the details didn’t pan out. The whole story and the wedding ring were returned to me to reach out to the real family members and try to finally reunite the ring with the correct descendants.
The first contact was no longer a working number, and about this same time Sharon Peterson said “Hey, I know this guy. He was in my graduating class”. Sharon is a Research Volunteer at the Research Center on Mondays. She is a very dedicated researcher who enjoys the surprising twists and turns we seem to get ourselves into.
I placed the call to her former school mate, Gary Skoog, and reached his wife. She asked how she could help as he was busy outside, and then couldn’t wait to get him inside to take the call. I introduced myself and after clarifying his grandparent’s names, address, names of children, I related that we wanted to help the present 11 Peach Street residents return his Grandmother Anderson’s wedding ring to the hand of a descendant.
He was a very happy, speechless, and tearful man who expounded on the love he had for his grandparents, how he enjoyed being at their home, and how much he disliked mowing their lawn.
Just a few days later, Gary and two longtime friends (Mike and Barb Lyons) came to pick up the ring. It was a sight to behold when he held it in his hand. Now, he has homework to do.
The ring had been very precisely cut, most likely in order to remove it from a swollen finger or after a death of the owner. Had Mrs. Anderson been ill or possibly had some trouble during the birth of one of her four children which forced the need for her ring to be cut off at the hospital? That could explain why she lost it while gardening, but, if Gary finds more information to clarify that, I will let you know!
Gary also went to see the couple, Chuck and Sharon Painter, who kept the ring safe for so long. He wanted to thank them for making the attempt, even though it seemed like such a stretch, and he wanted them to know how appreciative he was. They had a wonderful visit, and while he was there he made another discovery. He and Chuck went to the Lillian Dickson School and they have the very same birthdate, month, day, and year!
The amazing journey of the wedding band goes like this:
Carl gave it to Anna in 1907, Anna lost it in the garden sometime after they moved to 11 Peach Street in 1921 to around 1968, Sharon and Chuck found it in the garden around 1975, Sharon took it to the Frewsburg family – Candy and Russ Payne, who returned it to me in August, and I was overjoyed to pass it on to Gary on August 30th.
If you’ve been thinking you’d like to Volunteer in the Research Center, come on down. We have a lot of heartwarming fun while we help others find answers to family mysteries. One of the perks, of course, is finding answers to your own mysteries!