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Look familiar? Jean Johnson with the high school class rings she foundx.
Daily photo by Gary Lloyd
Look familiar? Jean Johnson with the high school class rings she found.

Hartselle woman seeks owners of Morgan, Vinemont class rings

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

HARTSELLE — Jean Johnson never knew finding people could be so difficult, especially when you know where they went to high school and when they graduated.

But she gave up on her solo quest to find the owners of two class rings and solicited help from The Daily.

As an heir to her mother's estate, Johnson inherited a 1976 Morgan County High (now Hartselle High) class ring her mother found while gardening.

Almost four years after her mother's death, Johnson found a 1971 Vinemont High class ring in a jewelry box she purchased at the Salvation Army in Hartselle.

"I couldn't find who they belonged to," she said. "Somebody earned the rings, and I would like the owners or their next of kin to have them."

Both rings have interesting stories and were found in different locations.

First, the Morgan County High ring.

Johnson's mother, Laura Yates, lived at 202 Corsbie St. in Hartselle and planted a
garden near a welding shop
behind the home.

Yates, who died in 2000, found the 1976 MCHS ring while "working her garden," her daughter said.

Johnson wasn't sure of the year, but said she found the ring in her mother's jewelry box after her mother's death.

The ring has an emerald green stone with the initials "WLW" on the inside of the band. According to the 1976 annual at Hartselle High, the only person with similar initials in the class of 1976 is Leeman Woods.

"It doesn't belong to me," Woods said. "I've got my class ring around here somewhere and it has a red stone with a lion in it."

Woods, who graduated in 1976 and resides in Hartselle, explained that his name is Leeman Ashley Woods. He could not think of anyone in his senior class with the other initials.

"This is a mystery," he said.

Johnson said she knew her mother had found the ring, but didn't think much about it.

Then, she purchased that wooden jewelry box at the Salvation Army.

"I heard something rattling inside," she explained. "I pulled out the first drawer and didn't see anything. The second drawer was empty. But, in the third drawer was a big old man's ring."

The 1971 Vinemont High ring has a sapphire with a "V" on the top and the initials "MCH" in the band.

The senior composite picture hanging in the school didn't have anyone with those initials, a school official said.

A secretary at the school also couldn't match a permanent record to the initials.

"I hope y'all find who they belong to because I'm sure they mean something to them," Johnson said.

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