Return to Tradition of Mourning Jewelry
Eunice Paine was the daughter of Rev. Samuel Treat of Eastham, Mass., and granddaughter of Rev. Samuel Willard of the Old South Church in Boston. In 1721, she married Thomas Paine, who began his career as a minister but later became a Boston merchant. Eunice and Thomas Paine had three children, two daughters and a son. The latter, Robert Treat Paine, became a lawyer and went on serve as a delegate to the First Continental Congress and sign the Declaration of Independence.
The winged death’s head embossed on this band is an especially well-preserved example of memento mori iconography typical of an 18th-century mourning ring. The inscription inside the band reads, “E. Paine. Ob. 17. Octr. 1747. Æ. 42[.]”
This ring bears the maker’s mark of Thomas Edwards ("TE" within a square), a second-generation goldsmith who learned the trade in his father’s shop in Boston.