Where are Paine’s remains, and does he have a gravesite?
Thomas Paine is the only Founder without a gravesite. The story of his remains reflect the collossal life and works of Paine himself and his legacy. He was first buried in New Rochelle, NY on his farm, after the Quakers refused him, in a town very hostile to him. A Paine admirer, William Cobbett, himself a democratic advocate from England, saw the disrespect Paine received where he was buried and decided to dig him up and take him to England to help spur the movement for democracy there. He did that in 1819. Over the years, the bones were split up; there were unverified rumors that some of the bones were cut into buttons and sold to finance the revolution (but more buttons were sold than could have come from any 10 bodies). There are rumors of a leg bone in the wall of a tavern in England, some pieces were claimed in Europe, and it is probable that the skull has been located in Wales (and is now in Australia) but no testing has yet confirmed this. We do know that a piece of the brain, and hair locks, from the body were secured by our Association. But on the whole, Paine was scattered throughout the world and has no grave. Some believe this is fitting to the man’s legacy, but Paine wanted specific gravesite arrangements which were never met. Our Association hopes to recreate this gravesite where he wanted it in the future with the few remains that exist. For full details see the article here.