Wednesday, September 2, 2009

the ring mystery unravels.

Remember this ring? Remember when I thought I was a wedding ring?
well, it's not. Husband, with his excellent vision and determination to figure out what the inscription said, solved the mystery. and figured out who it belonged to. this man:
not only did he own the ring, but we think he also built our house. see that Mason symbol. JMS was a Mason. and the ring I found wasn't his wedding ring, it's his Mason ring. James worked for the railroad as a line foreman and he rented his home until the mid 1920's when ours was built. AND we did find the ring in our yard. We still have to prove that 1+1=2. right now we're just assuming he's the one who built our home.
This is his wife, buried beside him.
They had two kids. Richard A. Stewart, whereabouts unknown and his older sister, Minnie.

Whereabouts, here:
Minnie's husband was in the Army and she lived with her parents and her three living children, according to the 1930 Census.

Minnie's husband

one of the Davidson's precious children. James, the first born.
Minnie had at least three living children. James was named after Minnie's father - the ring owner. the oldest surviving child, Stewart, was given her surname. The middle child, Katheryn, was named after her paternal aunt (Catherine Davidson Roebuck). The third living child was named Robert.

All we know about JMS's son, Richard is what we found in the 1930 Census. At the time he was 21, lived at home with his parents and was a car salesman.
We did find a Richard A Stewart that was born on March 2, 1911 and died July 1, 1999 in a town an hour+ away from us. He's our best guess, but until we can dig up his obituary can't be sure it's him.

Right now we're looking for Richard, any sons he may have had and Minnie's sons to pass the ring down to. We have a friend who is a Mason and he's wearing a ring that was worn by three masons before him. So if these sons or grandsons or even great grandsons are Masons I'm sure this will mean a lot to them.
So how did Husband figure out that it was a masonic ring?

I'm getting there. I'm getting there.

First, he was able to read the name and the date: James M. Stewart 1919. (we took that information along with our city and neighborhood to to piece together the Stewart family tree. and it was by complete luck/fortune/fate/divine intervention that Husband found the graves while we were in the cemetery doing 5k training. I jog right by them three times a week!)
Second, he became fixated on a symbol that is inscribed on the inside. After we found JMS's grave, he realized the symbol was Masonic.
Third, he started googling Masonic rings, symbols, and phrases.
  • He found this page that shows much more intricate rings, but very similar symbols.
  • He found an article about a woman finding a ring in rocks. the ring looks almost identical to ours.
  • Then he found this phrase Virtus Junxit Mors Non Separabit and we both realized that's why the words were so hard to make out. it was Latin. not English.
So we solved the what of the ring, the who of the ring and now we're looking for the who NOW of the ring.

truly exciting.


ashlynn310 said...

this really is so very cool!!

bpeterson said...

That will be really exciting for the family! My pa was a Mason and I know that it is a really big deal to pass along the rings. I hope you find somebody to give it to!

Mandy Mc said...

Oh my word, this is cool. I'm super impressed with your sleuthing skills.

Melissa Walker said...

Awesome stuff. Man I hope you find somebody to give that ring to. I'm thinking we may need to call Fox6 or something when it happens.

Megan said...


Rita Bird said...

I'm going to start calling you guys the Hardy boys, err Hardy people...

I am so impressed that you were able to get that much information in such a short span of time. I can't even locate a phone number using 411 half the time.

I would love to hear how this progresses and I am anxious for you to find the ring's rightful bearer.....(haha, LOTR reference..i'm a nerd)