Mystery solved: Purse from 1959 found in old Texas school reunited with family

LEAGUE CITY, Texas — A decades-old purse belonging to a Texas girl discovered under the stage of an old school building in a Houston suburb has been reunited with her family.

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The missing purse, found at the League City School in Galveston County, dates to 1959, the Houston Chronicle reported. Officials with the Clear Creek Independent School District asked “Do you know Beverly?” in a Facebook post. “Dating back to 1959, the name ‘Beverly Williams’ is listed on many of the items inside the wallet.”

Within days, the mystery was solved.

Three daughters of the late Andrea Beverly Williams got to view the purse this week, KTRK-TV reported. It contained childhood photos, notes and memories.

“That’s mom,” Andrea Sanchez, 51, told the Houston Chronicle. Sanchez and her sisters met with members of the school district, the League City Historical Society and League City officials to claim the items, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Sanchez and her sisters, Rhonda Dohr and Deborah Hicks, looked over the items owned by her mother as a schoolgirl in the city’s oldest school building, according the newspaper. Williams died in 2015.

Richard Lewis, vice president of the League City Historical Society, texted Hicks with the find.

“You’ll never believe what we found,” the text read, said Hicks, 48.

Hicks’ husband, League City Councilman Justin Hicks, had voted to preserve the part of the building where the purse was found, according to the Chronicle.

A photograph from Clear Creek High School in 1963 shows a Beverly Williams as a member of the school’s debating team, according to Texas online birth records show Andrea Beverly Williams was born Oct. 5, 1945, in neighboring Harris County, according to Her parents are listed as Frank Rogers Williams and Lala Elaine Rawley.

The League City School is the oldest building in the Clear Creek district, the Chronicle reported. It opened in 1938 and has housed students since before the district was consolidated in 1948.

The old building, which was last used by students in 2018 when it was known as League City Elementary, was being razed during the summer of 2021 to create a new community center, KHOU-TV reported.

The three sisters were among nine children born to Williams and her husband, William Augusta Paul. Williams and Paul were married on Aug. 12, 1963, and were divorced in Texas on April 15, 1986, according to Texas online marriage and divorce records on

“It’s very strange seeing how her personality survived all those years,” Sanchez told the Chronicle. “Everything in that purse then is exactly what she would have kept in her purse now. My mom was petite, about 5 foot, and the amount of real estate she managed to fit in her purse was an accomplishment.”

“It was just shocking to see some of the little pictures and see my granddad, we don’t have a lot of him,” Hicks said.

“It’s just a perfect time capsule of someone who that it never occurred to me was a real person,” said Dohr, 49. “By the time I came along she was well into mom mode, and so I’m looking at this stuff and thinking, ‘Wow, she did have thoughts and feelings. And dances she wanted to go to and people she knew.”

The contractor who found the purse said his crew was hired to replace the stage at the school earlier this year.

“I had to get in there and lay down and kind of dig it out,” contractor Armando Rodriguez told KHOU. “How it got there, I don’t know.”

Williams’ three daughters were thrilled to view a slice of history.

Beverly Williams liked to paint, Dohr told the Chronicle and her purse reflects that sensitivity.

“Each item in that purse had a personal meaning to my mother,” Dohr told the Chronicle. “Sometimes I still want to call her and realize that can’t happen anymore, so it’s amazing to see all this stuff now. She’s gone, but not really. She was here and left an imprint.”

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