A contractor helping clear debris from Hurricane Ike searched for the owner of an ammunition box he found buried in sand that contained keepsakes, including an 1863 Confederate $50 bill, war medals and diamond earrings.
The green steel Army ammunition canister found by Michael Pate also held several clues that may help him confirm the owner: family photographs, a driver's license and a Social Security card.
Pate was working on a tractor equipped with a grappling arm, snatching storm debris from the sand at Galveston Island State Park, when he found the box Jan. 7.
"I was on the beach side about 100 to 150 feet from the water. I was raking the sand and saw this snake come out of the pile," he said in a story posted online Tuesday by The Galveston County Daily News. "It went right down beside this box."
The can's rubber seal perfectly preserved the treasures inside. Among the other items were dog tags, military medals, silver certificates, silver bracelets, watches, an Art Donovan football card and a glass Model A Ford radiator cap.
Pate is following up on a name listed on the driver's license.
"I thought it would be an encouraging story for the community," Pate said. "We've seen so much destruction."
Hurricane Ike walloped the upper Gulf Coast on Sept. 13, devastating Galveston and nearby counties.