Thomas Paine - a brief summary of his life.
Thomas Paine joined the Excise Service in 1762. He was sent to Alford in 1764 to serve as the Excise Officer for the Alford area. A considerable amount of smuggling was taking place at that time. He established his office at the Windmill Inn in the Market Place.
He was based here for about a year when he was suddenly removed. Later he was reinstated as an Excise Officer and served at Lewes in Sussex before emigrating to America in 1774.
After his arrival in America, he soon became famous by publishing his book "Common Sense", which did a great deal to prepare the American Colonies for Independence, and transferring their loyalty from Britain to the United States of America. He suggested that name for the new country.
He became a close friend Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and was for three years the U. S. Secretary for Foreign Affairs, then for a year was Clerk to the Assembly of Pennsylvania.
He later wrote his two great books; "The Rights of Man" and "The Age of Reason."
Thomas Paine died on 8th June 1809 in Greenwich Village, New York. His body was being brought back to England when the ship was caught in a storm. Thomas Paine's body was washed overboard.
In 1981 July 04, (American Independence Day) a plaque commemorating Thomas Paine's association with Alford was placed on the wall of the Windmill Hotel. This of a joint project organised by the Civic Trust and the Thomas Paine National Historical Association.
The Thomas Paine National Historical Association records his history and work.