- Associated Press - Saturday, December 24, 2016

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) - Family members of 100-year-old Virginia Austin hope to give her a special gift: the long-lost wedding ring of her mother.

And they’re offering a $1,000 reward to get it back.

“What we’re interested in is, reuniting with this ring (with my mother). It was a gift from my grandfather to my grandmother,” explained Ann Coleman, Austin’s daughter.

Coleman’s grandparents, Francis Marion Snell and Mattie Lou Jernigan, were married somewhere around 1914 while seated atop a horse and buggy. The rose gold band the young farmer gave his bride was simple.

“It was flat, not rounded like a lot of bands, and there was no design,” Coleman explained.

Mr. Snell’s initials, “FMS,” are engraved inside his wife’s wedding band.

Even after her husband’s death, Mrs. Snell continued to wear her wedding band. It was during a trip to the hospital that she lost it.

“In the early 1980s our grandmother was a patient at the old Rutherford County hospital on University Street . and while a patient there, she lost her wedding band,” Coleman said.

Coleman said nobody knows exactly how the ring disappeared.

“She may have taken it off and put it in a drawer and gone off and left it . or it probably slid off,” Coleman said.

Mrs. Snell grieved about losing the wedding band until her death on Christmas Eve in 1988, Coleman said.

Coleman said the actual value of the ring is around $200 to $300.

“I looked on eBay and look around to see what I could see,” Coleman said.

But the sentiment of the ring is far more valuable to the family, she said.

Coleman said she doesn’t believe it was stolen.

“It was just an old wedding band,” Coleman said.

But she said she does understand that someone may have found the ring and wears it.

“After all these years someone else has probably formed an attachment to the ring, maybe somebody bought it at a pawn shop for somebody they cared about,” Coleman said.

More than 30 years later, the family still has faith someone found the ring and will return it. It would mean the world to the family and the ring might trigger some long-lost memory of the past for Austin, who suffers from dementia.

“Certain things in history she does recall. So we were thinking one of her Christmas gifts this year would be to have her mother’s ring back,” Coleman said.

If you have information about the lost wedding band, email Ann Coleman at [email protected]

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Information from: The Daily News Journal, https://www.dnj.com


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