Curators: Mysterious finding at Revolutionary War site dates back to 1800s

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NEWBURGH -

It was hidden for more than a century -- now, the mystery behind an unexpected historical finding in Orange has been partially solved.

An old paper box with a gold ring and thimble inside was found by chance last year above a roof beam at the Revolutionary War site of Gen. George Washington's headquarters in Newburgh.

Curators now believe the items, both engraved with the letter 'M' inside, date back to the mid- to late-1800s, and say it could have belonged to a family member of a caretaker who was there around that time.

The thimble is 20-karat gold, and the ring is a keepsake piece of jewelry with a locket and piece of red fabric inside.

"In the late 1800s, people would sometimes take a piece of material from someone's attire as a keepsake, whether it was someone who passed, or to remember someone who moved that they loved," says Elyse Goldberg, of Washington's headquarters.

While the findings solve a piece of the mystery, curators and historians still don't know for sure whose ring it was or why it was left behind.

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