There is a manuscript at Thetford a - "Freeman's Register Book" (1610-1756) -- which says that Joseph Paine was made a freeman of Thetford April 18, 1737, and Henry Cock May 16, 1740. The freemen of this borough were then usually respectable tradesmen. Their privileges amounted to little more than the right of pasturage on the commons. The appointment did not imply high position, but popularity and influence.
Joseph Pain was a corset-maker and a Quaker. Joseph Pain married Frances Cocke 20 Jun 1734 and had two children - Thomas and a daughter Elizabeth, who died at age 7 months.
Joseph Pain was a Quaker and is said to have been disowned by the Society of Friends for being married by a priest. A search in Norfolk County failed to discover either the membership or disownment of any one of the name. Joseph's father, a farmer, was probably a Quaker. Had the son (b. 1708) been a Quaker by conversion he would hardly have defied the rules of the Society at twenty-six.
Joseph was eleven years younger than his wife. According to Oldys he was "a reputable citizen and though poor an honest man," but his wife was "a woman of sour temper and an eccentric character." Thomas Paine's writings contain several affectionate allusions to his father, but none to his mother. "They say best men are moulded out of faults," and the moulding begins before birth.
" Thomas Paine was born on January 29, 1736/1737 the son of Joseph Pain, or Paine, a Quaker, and Frances (née Cocke), an Anglican, in Thetford, an important market town and coach stage-post, in rural Norfolk, England. Born Thomas Pain, he was using Paine in 1769, whilst still in Lewes, Sussex."
At age thirteen, Thomas was apprenticed to his corset-maker father.
Thomas had intended to serve under the ill-fated Captain William Death but was dissuaded by his father. "Bring the Paine!"
He died in 1787.
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