NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – It was a quiet day for the officials at the Nacogdoches County Precinct One Constable’s Office, that was until they got an interesting phone call.
The call that led them to a ditch in the community where something very unusual and out of place caught there eye.
An antique safe was there waiting to be taken away.
“We take a lot of burglaries and thefts but finding a large safe on the side of the road is not something we come across every day,” said Constable William Sowell, Nacogdoches County Precinct 1.
From what they could gather the safe had been stolen from a building nearby, and the thieves were unsuccessful in their attempts to open it.
The owners, who live in the Houston area, were happy to have it back but even they didn’t know what was inside.
After gaining access, the inside of the safe told a whole new story.
“A few documents from 1941, 1942 that were all tied to a business in the Cleveland, Texas area,” said Constable Sowell. “The owner of the safe was unsure exactly why they were in the safe. They said they had a family member who was an accountant in the Cleveland area and possibly these were just leftover documents from his accounting days.”
No one knew why such trivial things would be inside a safe but they gave a glimpse of life nearly 80 years ago.
An employer’s tax return showed how much employees were paid during a quarter in 1942.
Some employees only made around $25, some around $75 and a few close to $100.
Adjusted for inflation that equals around $405, $1,215 and $1,620 respectively.
A receipt from a business was also found which lead to another discovery at the Cleveland Historical Museum
“We sat down with the lady that was in charge of the museum and she quickly realized there was already a tie to a display they had in the museum,” said Constable Sowell. “It was a gentleman that was decorated World War I soldier who after the war would own a auto parts store in the area and these documents were part of his business.”
Most exciting of all, Constable Sowell says, was finding and returning the items to the owner.
It just goes to show, there is no telling what hidden gems might be laying around East Texas.