Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
Masonic ring found in rocks
Stafford County woman finds a ring with Masonic markings among the 40 tons of river rock delivered to her home. Can family members of its original owner be found?
By CATHY DYSON
Among the 40 tons of river rock she and her husband were spreading around their Stafford County home, Marge Mi spotted something shiny.
It was a ring. A plain gold band no wider than a penny.
Mi, a marketing professor at the University of Mary Washington, went inside and got out her magnifying glass. She squinted as she tried to make out the inscriptions inside the band.
She saw the name, Frank John C. Zeibing--or maybe Zeising. The middle letter is the hardest one to make out.
She also saw a date, from 1921, and the Latin words, "Virtus Junxit Mors Non Seperabit."
Mi thought the man who owned the ring probably was dead by now. The two loads of river rocks--which are smooth stones about twice as big as pebbles--came from Culpeper, so maybe his relatives still live in the area.
"I'd just like to see it returned to a family member," she said.
When a jeweler looked at the ring, he realized the owner had belonged to a big family--the fraternity of Freemasons.
"That's a Masonic ring that I suspect was used as a wedding band," said Bill Sale, owner of Crown Jewelers in downtown Fredericksburg.
Sale happened to have a similar ring in a nearby cabinet. That one had a triangle and Hebrew symbol for God on it, but the one Mi found had no such emblem.
The symbol probably was cut off when the ring was resized to fit a woman's finger, Sale said.
The Masonic ring at Crown's had a $50 tag on it. Sale said the lost ring isn't worth much besides sentimental value.
"There's not enough gold in there to fill a hollow tooth," he said. "What's interesting is the history."
Local Masons from Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4 thought the same. No one recognized the last name, but Secretary Dan Thompson said he would post information about the ring on a worldwide listserve and see what happens.
The Fredericksburg Masons didn't recognize the Latin inscription, but it's listed on several Web sites as a motto for Scottish Rite Masons.
It's one that works for both fraternity members and couples being married. It means: "Whom virtue has united, death shall not separate."
Only Masons and their wives or daughters are permitted to wear a Masonic ring, Thompson said.
If a family member of Frank John C. Zeibing is found, it wouldn't be the first time a Masonic ring made a connection from the grave.
Leslie Dey is the wife of Rick Dey, the worshipful master of the Fredericksburg lodge. Her uncle was a Mason in Canada who was killed in Texas.
An investigating policeman--who also was a Mason--noticed a Masonic ring on the unidentified man. He was able to figure out the man's identity by tracking him back to his original lodge.
Fellow Masons in Canada paid for the remains of Dey's uncle to be removed and reinterred in his homeland.
"You never know," Leslie Dey said.
To reach CATHY DYSON: 540/374-5425