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Local treasure hunter goes big-time

August 26, 2013

Bill Ladd (near left) and Howard Hewitt (far left) are partners in digging for treasure, and their escapades will be featured on a Travel Channel television show starting Sept. 4. Submitted Photo.

WEST WARWICK— What started out as a hobby for two Rhode Island natives has now given them the opportunity to travel the country for an up and coming television show on the Travel Channel.

West Warwick resident Bill Ladd originally found his passion for metal detecting after his grandfather introduced him to it at the age of nine. A few years later his parents helped him get started.

“I used to go out with him and go to old parks and dig up coins,” he remembered. “I was a little kid and I thought that was the coolest thing. I begged my parents to buy me one and eventually I got one for Christmas when I was 12.”

Because his dad’s job moved the family throughout the country, he said the most interesting place he’d found artifacts was in South Carolina.

“We did a two-year stint there and our house was built on a plantation so that’s when I got my first metal detector and I’d find out old coins and civil war artifacts,” he said.

As an adult, he said, the most exciting thing he’d ever dug up was a slave tag.

“I brought it to the Antiques Roadshow in South Carolina,” he said. “Back in the old days the slaves had to wear a tag and the one I found said servant on it, so I brought it and they told me it was worth $15,000.”

Ladd met Howard Hewitt of East Providence through a metal detecting club in Taunton, when he began public speaking there.

He said he thought it’d be a fun idea to make videos for YouTube of them finding treasure.

When he first met Hewitt Ladd thought “he was full of enthusiasm and he’d be fun to go digging with.”

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