Charles Davidson holds the ring belonging to the late Forest Hoskins. Ned Jilton II photo.
After 63 years of sitting at the bottom of a river, a lost high school ring was returned to the owner’s son on Wednesday.
Charles Davidson was treasure hunting with a metal detector in the North Fork of the Holston River near a bridge on West Carters Valley Road. He was in the middle of the river, about 20 feet from the bank, when he came across a ring.
He got excited because it was the first ring he had ever found. Davidson has been hunting for treasures with a metal detector for about three years.
“It was nice to find something of value,” he said. “There’s more value to it than just property. It’s after you uncover something. It’s the stories you uncover later.”
The ring was a class ring from the 1951 graduating class of Lynn View High School. The initials FEH were carved on the inside of the band.
So Davidson began to do some research. He got online and started looking for the initials FEH from the class of 1951. There was only one person who matched those initials, Forest Hoskins.
Not knowing if Hoskins was still around, Davidson picked up the phonebook and called the first Hoskins he came across.
That call led Davidson to Joe Hoskins, Forest’s son. Forest passed away in 1978.
For Joe, the phone call telling him his dad’s ring had been found was an answer to a prayer.
He had been praying to God about whether to sell his dad’s old home.
“I asked the Lord ... to show me some kind of sign ... to know if you want me to keep this place or what we need to do,” Joe said. “Out of nowhere, this guy (Davidson) calls me and says, ‘I found your dad’s ring and it was in the deepest part of the river.’”
Joe later found out from both his aunt and his brother how the ring ended up in the river.
One day, his mother and father were having a fight. They went to the river and were still fighting.
“True to my mother, who notoriously had a bit of a temper, took the ring off and threw it in the river,” Joe said.
And the river is where it stayed for 63 years.
Now that Joe has it back, he said he may make a memorial box to his father and the ring would be the centerpiece.
This was the first time Davidson had tracked someone down to return a lost item.
He said he would do it again in a heartbeat.
Joe was very grateful to Davidson for tracking him down.
“It is such a wonderful, real blessing that someone would care enough to bring that back,” he said. “You know, it’s worth money and he could have said, ‘It’s made of gold, I’m going to cash that in,’ but it means so much more to me and my family.”