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England or Philadelphia



1 in x 5/8 in (dia)



Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, gift of Barbara Nowland Allison

Accession Number



“S. B. Corbit to M.W.C to E.N.C” is engraved around the bottom; the number 6 is stamped near the bottom.


The thimble was first owned by Sarah Bolton Corbit.  It then likely passed to her son and daughter-in-law Charles Corbit and Louisa A. Corbit Corbit, whose daughter Eliza Naudain Corbit was the grandmother of the donor.  For details on this complex provenance, see “Comments.”


This simple gold thimble has a complex past.  The earliest engraved name, “S. B. Corbit,” is Sarah Bolton Corbit (1801-1852), who married Henry Cowgill Corbit (1800-1851) of Odessa in 1825.  They lived in Philadelphia where Henry owned a dry-goods store.  The rest of the engraving, “to M.W.C to E.N.C,” was executed at a much later date, as evidenced by the change in its appearance.  The initials “E.N.C.” belonged to Eliza Naudain Corbit (1861-1945), grandmother of the donor. 

Connecting Eliza to Sarah may or may not have included “M.W.C.,” who was almost certainly Mary Wilson Corbit (1811-1880).  Eliza was the daughter of Charles Corbit (1838-1887) and Louisa A Corbit Corbit (1838-1901), who married in 1860.  Charles’s mother was Sarah Bolton Corbit.  However, complexities enter the provenance for two reasons.  First, Sarah and her husband Henry were both dead before Charles was 21.  Upon his mother’s death in 1852, Charles may have gone to live in Odessa with Mary Wilson Corbit and her husband Daniel for a while.  He must have known them well because Mary’s father, David Wilson Jr. (1787-1870), worked for Charles’s father in the Philadelphia dry-goods store following Wilson’s bankruptcy in 1829.  Thus, belongings of Charles’s parents may have been held in legal trust or merely as a convenience during that unsettled time.  Second, the later engraving may have been done at the behest of Mary’s daughter, Mary Cowgill Corbit Warner (1848-1923), who was deeply involved with hundreds of family-related objects and who added many provenances to them.  Some of those provenances were inaccurate.

The thimble descended with many Corbit-owned objects including a miniature portrait of Daniel Corbit (accession no. 2012.149) and the important and well-documented chest of drawers made in 1793 for William Corbit (accession no. 2020.132).

The thimble has a “6” stamped into it.  That number likely represents a size.  It is opposite the first engraving campaign and only seems tied into the inscription because the second campaign extended the letters towards it.