Before he had it, it was in the care of his father, and before that, it was his grandfather’s.
But last year Gill decided to share the large silver pocket watch, a relic of the thriving railroad industry, with the public.
He loaned the piece to the Sanilac County Historic Village and Museum where it was on display at the Deckerville Depot.
But now Gill fears it’s back in someone’s private collection.
The pocket watch marked on the front “For Railroad Use,” was discovered missing from the depot Dec. 8. Gill said the glass display case had been pulled away from the wall and the back cover had been slid open. No other items in the case were disturbed.
Gill, who volunteers with the museum, said it was an integral piece of the display, symbolizing the importance of time during the heyday of the railroad.
“Just a real empty feeling, sense of loss, anger that this would happen” said Gill, who has a cottage in Port Sanilac, about the theft. “Nothing else seems to have been disturbed or taken. It was as if someone saw the value of this piece and targeted taking it.”
Tom Fisher, president of the museum’s board, said they hope someone will hear of its whereabouts and contact the sheriff department or the museum.
“Obviously, it’s frustrating … this was a personal item in addition to everything else, and (Gill) had faith it would be safe there,” Fisher said.
The wind-up watch was made by the Illinois Watch Co., and is about 2 ½ inches in diameter. The case is silver and it has a thick, beveled-glass front.
Fisher said he’s never had the watch appraised and knows it’s at least 50 years old because of the time it’s been in his family.
The museum can be contacted at (810) 622-9946.
m Contact Liz Shepard at (810) 989-6273 email@example.com.