CLAY COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — A recently opened time capsule in Clay County has unveiled 50 years of history, including many stories from community members.

The time capsule was dedicated and placed 50 years ago on September 14, 1973, to commemorate 100 years of Clay County’s existence.

Stamps, letters, newspapers, a letter from Nat Fleming to his grandchildren and much more were rediscovered after being removed in May 2023.

While the time capsule was found half-submerged in water, many artifacts from Clay County residents were able to be recovered.

But, as city officials suspected, damage to the capsule caused some of the 50-year history to be lost.

“We talked about it and decided it [would] be better to do it sort of without any fanfare in case it was damaged,” Clay County Judge Mike Campbell said.

On the west side of the courthouse stands the damaged capsule. Cracks and rust cover the time tomb.

City of Henrietta Economic Development Director Rick Langford recalled when it was sealed.

“The courthouse lawn was covered with people,” Langford remembered. “I was a senior in high school. And actually, the Rawhides and Ruffles was going on during that time. I played in the marching band during Rawhides and Ruffles.”

Langford even directly took part in the dedication ceremony in 1973.

“But, during the dedication of the time capsule, being a senior in high school, they asked some of those boys to reenact a shootout that [commemorated] at one time the cowboys from Cambridge came and got the safe back,” he added.

Though some history is lost, Langford and Campbell said they’re lucky to have what’s salvageable.

“I was so enthralled with the things that were saved,” Langford said. “I really didn’t focus that much on what was damaged.”

They also encouraged those who have ties to the time capsule to explore its contents further.

“There’s a lot of things that have happened since that time and a lot of interest in the time capsule,” Campbell said. “I just hope that whatever, if our viewers had something in there, that they will be able to go to our website and find it.”

If you believe you may have a letter addressed to you, call the Clay County Clerk’s Office at 940-538-4631. To view the time capsule’s contents, visit their official website.

Additionally, if you are interested in sharing the story of a letter you got, reach out to us and tell your story at