Search for a soldier: Old letter leads Lenoir City man back in time

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- "I won't turn down anything with a history," East Tennessee resident Matthew Morgan told WVLT News reporter Robert Grant.

Source: WVLT News

Morgan has a passion for history and refurbishes antique vehicles at his shop in Lenoir City. Interest in the past is a love he shares with his wife, Tiffany.

A gift he purchased brought them closer to the past than they've ever been before and turned them into amateur detectives.

Morgan said he recently purchased an old Victrola, an antique phonograph, as a gift to his wife.

But the real surprise was what the pair discovered inside the cabinet. Morgan said inside the 115-year-old Victrola was a letter, dated 1946, from a soldier based in Oklahoma to his mother in Knoxville. Morgan said the letter had fallen down in the back. According to the letterhead, the man was in the Marines.

The letter was addressed to a Gladys Bowen and opened with:

Dearest Mom, your very sweet letter was received Saturday morning...

"I sure would like to be home now with you," the letter continues. "I'm getting tired of being here. I hope something will happen in the next few months."

Morgan and his wife have exhausted all their resources in an attempt to find the family of the soldier and his mother. Unfortunately, the soldier only signed, "Love to Momma, your darling son, Johnny," and the Morgans said they haven't been able to find any relatives or the original author of the letter, yet.

"I do know this belongs with its family though," Morgan said.

The Morgans are asking for help so that they can connect the past with the future and get the letter to the family members of Gladys Bowen and her son, Johnny.

"If I knew there was a letter like that belonging to my grandfather that he had written to my great grandmother, I would do anything I could to have that in my possession," Morgan added.

If anyone has any information, call WVLT News at 865-766-8154, or email or message the station on Facebook @WVLT8.

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