Roxcy Bocemsdes, Charlestown,

Roxcy Bocemsdes, Charlestown,

Rhode Island, circa 1819

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sampler size: 10¾” x 10¼” • frame size: 12¾” x 12¼” • price: $2400

Roxanna Boscemsdes, or Roxcy as she calls herself on her sampler, made this sampler in Charlestown (also spelled “Charleston” early on), Rhode Island when she was nine years old. It is a neatly worked and nicely colorful sampler with an interesting and unusual family history.

Roxcy was born July 1, 1810 to Frederick and Frances (Daniels) Boscemsdes of Charleston, the first of their two children. Fredrick was born in Switzerland and Frances was a Native American and member of the historic Narragansett tribe. Frederick died in 1824 and Frances lived a long life and didn’t remarry. There are published court documents from 1853 (Acts and Resolves of the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Providence, May Session, 1853) indicating that Frances, a member of the Narragansett tribe of Indians, petitioned the state of Rhode Island for authorization to sell a tract of land; permission was granted with the contingency that the sale and its proceeds were administered by the Commissioner of the Indian Tribe.

Roxcy married Andrew Melville of Newport in 1837 and they had four children. After Andrew’s death, she married Joseph Dwight in 1855. Records indicate that she died in 1887 and is buried in the North Burial Ground, Providence, Rhode Island.

The sampler is composed of alphabets and numbers separated by decorative rows and bands at the top and bottom. The large alphabet and some of the bands are worked in the eyelet stitch; all of the needlework was done with great care. Worked in silk on linen, it is in excellent condition; conservation mounted and in a painted frame.

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