Alice Jocelyn’s Thimble

In 1653 Alice Jocelyn sailed from Richman’s Island in the Fellowship, bound for Boston, as ’twas forecast to fetch her marriage gear.’ On her second day of shopping who should she come face to face with, but her good old friend, Christopher Page, who lived solitary on “Stratton’s Island.” A certain matter, quoth he, had furthered his going to Kittery immediate, and thence to Boston town. Whereupon he related how he did chance upon a lady’s pretty pocket in the wood at Black Point, and on adventuring within, he did espy a thimble of no great size, a little reel of silver, and a flimsy kerchief laced about, and a letter. That letter had he sped to Kittery to deliver into the hands of its owner- Nicholas Shapleigh.

Alice and Nicholas had been in love, and one day after Alice had walked to Black Point ferry with her lover she had found this letter beside the path on the way back to the Jocelyn home. It had been torn but Alice saw the words “The tender tie which binds us,” and thinking that Nicholas had left a faithful English mayde behind in England she broke their engagement. In time she promised to marry her uncle Henry’s (Jocelyn) friend Mr.Edgecombe.

After Alice meet Christopher Page and heard how he found her thimble, kerchief and the letter, which he said was from Nicholas’s mother, Alice realizing her great mistake became very ill. For many weeks she hardly knew her own family, but as time went on she gradually grew stronger and one of her first visitors was young Nicholas.

On Christmas Day 1655, at noontide, Alice and Nicholas were wed. Henry Jocelyn gave the bride away, and Alice wore her Aunt Margaret’s first wedding gown and pearls.

Alice used her thimble, or as it was then often called thumble, for many years, and this story has been told many times.

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