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1933 Class Ring At Center Of Mystery In Newburyport

NEWBURYPORT (CBS) - A class ring from the 1930's is at the center of a mystery on the North Shore. It was discovered at a liquor store and an employee is on a mission to find its owner.

For the last several days, Diane Torpey has toted around the old ring.

She says, "I hope to be able to present this ring to somebody for Christmas."

She hopes to find a grandchild of its rightful owner. It's a 1933 class ring from Newburyport High School. It was discovered in a cookie tin during an office cleanup at the liquor store where Diane works. She says it is most likely an old 'lost and found' item.

But as Diane looked it over, she spotted the initials PB and couldn't let it go.

"It doesn't belong in a box to be forgotten," says Diane.

When Diane brought the ring to Newburyport High, she learned that the only person in the graduating class of 1933 with the initials PB was Priscilla Bradford.

That brought us to Jane Preston in the basement archives of the town library and an aging yearbook with a photo of the likely ring owner, along with documents indicating the woman nicknamed 'Prill' had passed away in 2000.

"I'm a genealogist," says Preston, "and so all of the pieces of the puzzle that fit together are always very interesting to me."

Indeed, this library volunteer broadened the hunting ground for ring descendants with word that Priscilla Bradford had married Harlan Fowle who opened a popular neighborhood deli. By late afternoon, names of daughters and granddaughters had been found.

"The woman wore it with pride when she graduated," says Torpey. "Hopefully one of her daughters or granddaughters will be able to wear it with pride also."

While Diane's cause has become front page news, she has not lost sight of what matters here.

"It belongs to the woman who wore it," says Torpey.

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