Returning a Find

Music to my Ears

In March this year I posted a blog entitled Ring of Truth. I advised caution when returning rings to losers or their relatives, and related one particular story when it definitely wasn’t welcomed. That wasn’t the norm of course; lost items are usually well received when reunited with their original owners or descendants.

Also it is good for the finder, as he is doing the magnanimous thing! In most cases those who receive the find, whether it be a current or one of their ancestor’s losses it is appreciated. I believe also it has to be good for the hobby (sport?) and sometimes even offers the opportunity to gain more land. This find by detectorist Rob L is rather different.

Rob is an American and collects Civil War and WW items of a personal nature. Some are dug up and others are what he buys, but before he adds them to his collection he always tries to contact a family member to see if they’d like them returned … after all, they are the rightful custodians.

Rob has found and returned a variety of things over the years, including rings, dog tags and keys; almost all of them were happy reunions. His favourite of all times was a World War I harmonica he had purchased from an antique dealer that was roughly ‘personalised’ with a name and other details.

The Harmonica

© Rob

The scribbling on the lower picture is hard to see, but Rob deciphered it as C G Howe 1st xx xxxxxx Inf and placed it on a detecting forum asking for help. Mainly due to one of th emembers he ascertained that it read C.G. Howe 1st Lt. 55th Pioneer Infantry. 

Inscription – C G Howe 1st Lt. 55th Pioneer Infantry

That was a great lead and enabled Rob – with the help of Mr Google and a friend – to track down the soldier’s only remaining daughter Carol, now married to Doug Emore.

Rob learned that Lt. Howe had given the harmonica to one of his grandsons in Cleveland over 50 years ago. The ‘thank you’ is shown left.

Arrangements were made to return the instrument. Carol Emore said in an email:

‘Thanks Rob for the explanation and information that you provided. Your hobby is most interesting, thoughtful and helpful for folk who had family in those wars. We have no idea how the instrument ended up where you bought it … the old harmonica will be a good family keepsake, and we’ll send a check. We’re in our 80’s and 90’s with two grown children who will be interested in their Grandpa’s story’


Rod declined the offer of money, but asked if they could provide a photograph when they were reunited with the harmonica … and they agreed. Rob said that research was just a lucky combination of searching on Google, Ancestry, plus a little puzzle solving.

Picture provided by Mr. and Mrs. Emore

Good work to everyone involved. I’ve often wondered what it would be like for someone to receive an heirloom from a passed relative that they had probably forgotten about for many many years. From their smiles, I can see it’s a really special moment.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

6 thoughts on “Returning a Find

  1. A story with a good ending, I still have a Hohner Chromatic Harmonica much the same as the one here in your blog my father used to play the Harmonicas to singers in the local pubs and he bought me one as a Christmas present a few years after the end of WW2 every now and again I will hammer our a few tunes. I was a crack hand at playing all the Christmas Carols.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely story John.. those are the feel good moments that make our avocation so special.

    A happy event that Made my morning better


    Liked by 1 person

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