History/Childhood. On January 29, 1737, Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, England. His father, a corseter, had grand visions for his son, but by the age of 12, Thomas had failed out of school. The young Paine began apprenticing for his father, but again, he failed. . Info. So, now age 19, Paine went to sea. This adventure didn't last too long, and by 1768 he found himself as an excise (tax) officer in England. .
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