Twins’ detecting hobby turns up 1923 Shreveport medal
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Twin brothers Mike and Mark Mangham do almost everything together. They always have.
“We have been best friends since birth and are carbon copies of each other,” Mark said. “Having a duplicate of yourself means you can have twice as much fun with your life.”
They both have a deep love of local history. They started their photography business, Twin Blends, which combines old and new photos depicting the same location.
“When we blend pictures, it’s a way to honor the people of this town that came before us,” Mark said.
It was that love of history that attracted Mike to metal detecting, but Mark was only so-so about it. Mike went on his own, but never stopped trying to convince Mark. It took finding an 1892 pocket watch to finally change Mark’s mind.
These days, most weekends find them hunting in what Mike calls a friendly competition. Perhaps it’s friendly because he is losing because, between the brothers, the reluctant Mark has found the better stuff.
“When I found the (Civil War) belt buckle I was laughing at him, ‘Ok, you beat that!’” Mark said. “Then I found the (1920’s track) medal.”
Mike adds: “I’ll be at a Civil War site and I’m fast and furious for three hours. I look up and he is sleeping under a tree!”
But in the end, all these treasures land in the same box. Except for one: that 1920s sterling silver Shreveport High School track medal.
That is because the brothers hope to return it.
Engraved on the medal is the name “Robert Sullivan,” right above 1923. It was found near where the old Shreveport High School use to be, close to where the Renaissance at Allendale apartments are now in the 1100 block of Allen Avenue. The brothers were filming when they found it.
“Not a bad find there.just eye balled it,” Mark says in the video.
They posted a photo of medal on Facebook, hoping to get more information with the hope of returning it to the family. But they got nothing.
A few months later they tried again. This time Mike Singleton, a Facebook friend, saw the post.
Singleton, who knows something about genealogy, searched Ancestry.com. He found a family with the Sullivan name who lived in Shreveport during that time. He gave the brothers an address he found in old census data, only a block from where they found the medal.
Sullivan kept searching and posting his findings to the Facebook thread.
“I just thought it would be really nice to see a lost part of history get back in the hands of the family,” he said.
The more he searched, the more he found. Old wedding announcements hinted at the prominence of the Sullivan family. But hopes of returning the medal to immediate relatives dissolved when he learned that Robert Sullivan’s Jr. son, Robert Sullivan III, died in a plane crash.
They did find that a niece still had a Shreveport address, but they’ve had no luck connecting with her.
For now, the medal remains in its case at the brothers’ home. They have not given up. Someone out there may know where a relative is.
Meanwhile, they continue their hunting.
“When we metal detect and pull something really old out of the ground, it gives us a feeling that we are connecting with history,” Mark said.