Thomas Braswell decided to take a chance on an abondoned 6-by-10 storage unit in Brandon. Although when viewed, he only found dusty boxes, an old television set, a dresser and an empty liquor cabinet, he thought he’d bid on it and take a chance there may be some hidden treasure, often like they find on the show “Storage Wars”.
He won the bidding and got the units contents for just $25 and although he didn’t find hiddend treasures of gold or diamonds, he found a treasure of a different kind. What he found with the history of a Massachusetts family dating back as far as the 1500’s.
Many of the boxes contained historical family documents; family photos, birth and death certificates dating back into the early 1800s; a massive family Bible that Braswell opened with the greatest care
because of its age. There were locks of hair and flowers pressed between the pages.
The genealogical information focused on the extended family and dated to the 1500s, with indicated that one of the family members came over on the Mayflower. There was a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow book of poems first published in 1893 that included “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”
After discovering the family possetions, Braswell thought that he’d like to find the family and give them back.
The documents found chronicle the Thayer, Snow and Rice families of Athol and Orange, Mass., and indicated they were collected by a woman named Ruth Thayer, who married into the Snow and Rice families and died a few years ago after moving to New Port Richey.
Braswell of Tampa wasn’t sure how to go about tracking down the family, or even if they still lived in that area. He said he contacted a friend from his church and she agreed to help. Debbie
Meyers joined the genealogical hunt.
She contacted the Worcester Telegraph newspaper and found out the names were familiar up there. She had sent letters to old family addresses in central and western Massachusetts, but they all were returned. There has been some headway in finding the family’s decendants but so far no one officially has been located.
Althought there are boxes and boxes of old photographs, slides and family documents and outlines of family trees, most of the stuff probably won’t be of value except to the families involved.