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 Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine

Birth
Thetford, Breckland Borough, Norfolk, England
Death 8 Jun 1809 (aged 72)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial New Rochelle, Westchester County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 2698 · View Source
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Author of "Common Sense." American Revolutionary War patriot, agitator and pamphleteer. He was born in Thetford, England the son of a corset maker. Adulthood found him with many trades, master of none. He met Benjamin Franklin, who convinced him to emigrate to America in 1774, where he became editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine and anonymously published his pamphlet Common Sense; in language of the common man urging immediate separation from England. He joined the army in 1776 and wrote a series of 16 papers called the Crisis papers (which began with the famous phrase, "These are the times that try men's souls"). They bolstered the morale of Washington's army. He also took part in the movement that produced in Pennsylvania the era's most democratic state constitution. 1787 found him back in Europe involving himself in the French Revolution defending the movement. Charged with treason by the government of his native England, he fled to France where he was made an honorary citizen and became a delegate to a convention which drafted the constitution of the French Republic. He promptly wrote another paper entitled "The Age of Reason", which was interpreted in America as atheistic and immoral. Upon return to his farm in New Rochelle, New York (277 acres which was awarded to him in 1784 by the State of New York) he was ostracized from the community and abuse was heaped upon him. He retreated to Manhattan, where he died, childless, scorned and impoverished. His body was returned to his farm for burial with barely a handful of mourners in attendance. One was the coffin maker seeking payment. The odyssey and mystery of his missing remains began some ten years later. The grave was dug up by a William Cobbett with the intention of taking the remains to England for reburial thus saving it from daily abuse and vandalism. One theory claims it was lost on its journey. Another claims Cobbett kept the remains in an attic trunk and upon his death, his son began auctioning off the bones. People from around the world have come up with skeletal parts. A minister in England claims he has Paine's skull and right hand, an English woman insists she has his jawbone. Others claim to have buttons constructed from the bones. The Thomas Paine Museum states it has the brain stem buried in a secret location on the property. One true fact: Paine artifacts are on display at either the museum or the adjacent Thomas Paine cottage, which was his residence from 1803 to 1806 located and maintained by the Huguenot and New Rochelle Historical Association, New Rochelle, New York. Visitors can inspect Paine's wallets, glasses watch, gloves and also his death mask.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2698
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Paine (29 Jan 1737–8 Jun 1809), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2698, citing Thomas Paine Gravesite, New Rochelle, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .