It took a bit of sleuthing by a kind stranger, but a mid-coast Maine family finally has the headstone for the relative's grave back.

According to WGME, Captain Jim Harkins was walking his dog at his lake house in the town of Warren when he came across something that kind of looked like a graves.  He grabbed for a shovel and started digging.  A short time later, he unearthed the gravestone for a woman named Eleanor, who passed away in 1870.

Harkins told WGME:

So I got a shovel, and I found that headstone buried in about 10 inches below grade. The stone was laying down buried right at the head of the grave. And so I cleaned it off and it said, ‘Eleanor, wife of John Plummer. Died September 29th, 1870.

Mentioning what he found to a neighbor, the neighbor told him that he had, indeed, found a grave.  However, it was not the grave of a woman.  What he had found was the gravesite of a horse the neighbor's father had buried a few decades ago.

That's when Harkins, a treasure hunting captain, decided to do some digging.  He found that town records did not go back farther than 1875 - just a few years too recent.

The neighbor, however, did have a little bit better luck.  He found out that a state trooper had found the headstone in some stolen property but, this being before the internet, had no way to find out exactly who Eleanor was.  Because of that, the headstone was given away.

Harkins took that information and started digging on an ancestry website.  He was able to quickly find out that Eleanor Plummer's descendants lived a short distance from Warren, in the Town of Damariscotta.

On Thursday, Harkins made the trip to return the headstone to one of Eleanor's descendants, Barbara Plummer Briggs, who they determined would have been Eleanor's great, great, great, great, granddaughter.

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