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Thomas Paine Cottage

Thomas Paine Cottage
Thomas Paine Cottage
Location 20 Sicard Avenue, New Rochelle, New York, USA

40°56′4.1″N 73°47′28.2″W / 40.934472°N 73.791167°W / 40.934472; -73.791167Coordinates: 40°56′4.1″N 73°47′28.2″W / 40.934472°N 73.791167°W / 40.934472; -73.791167

Area 2 acres (0.81 ha)
Architectural style Saltbox with Greek Revival elements[1]
NRHP Reference # 72000920
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 28, 1972 [1]
Designated NHL November 28, 1972 [2]

The Thomas Paine Cottage in New Rochelle, New York in the United States, was the home from 1802 to 1806 of Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense and Revolutionary War hero. Paine was buried near the cottage from his death in 1809 until his body was disinterred in 1819. The cottage has been owned by the Huguenot and New Rochelle Historical Association and has been operated as a historic house museum since 1910.[3] It was declared a National Historic Landmark on November 28, 1972.[4]


The cottage is a two-story wood-frame saltbox structure. It began as a simple building 16 feet (4.9 m) wide and 31 feet (9.4 m) deep. In 1804, an additional 18 by 23 feet (5.5 by 7.0 m) wing with a porch was constructed. An exterior door and porch pillars in the Greek Revival style were added in about 1830.[5]

The house has a kitchen, a common room, and a bedroom on the main floor, with a parlor in the wing. On the second floor are four bedrooms.[5]


The 277-acre (112 ha) farm was originally owned by the Tory Frederick DeVeaux (sometimes spelled "Davoue"), but was confiscated after the war. 320 acres (130 ha) including the farm were presented to Paine in 1784 by act of the New York State Legislature[3] for his service. The stone house occupied by Davoue was destroyed by fire in 1793 and replaced with the cottage while Paine was in Europe.

The Huguenot Association acquired the house from Charles See,[6] who wanted to subdivide the property for real estate development. It was moved approximately 440 yards (400 m) west to its current location at 20 Sicard Avenue in 1908. This is the last extant portion of the farm owned by Paine.[5]


Located adjacent to the cottage is a 1925 museum dedicated to Paine created by the Thomas Paine National Historical Association. The organization, founded in 1905, is not connected either to the cottage or to the Huguenot and New Rochelle Historical Association.[3] In 2005, the association controversially sold off a significant portion of its holdings (including a first edition of Common Sense) to pay for repairs to the museum building.[7]


The creation of the Thomas Paine monument was organized and carried to completion by Paine biographer and radical New York publisher, educator, and reformer Gilbert Vale.[3] Vale's fellow American radical and Workingman, the sculptor and architect John Frazee, created the marble monument itself. An 1881 bronze bust of Paine by Wilson McDonald was later added. It was moved next to the current location of the cottage in 1905.[5] It is owned by the city of New Rochelle.


Paine was buried near the current location of the house and monument in 1809 after dying in Greenwich Village, New York. He wanted to be buried in the Quaker cemetery but, due to his writings, he was refused. His few remaining friends walked his body to New Rochelle and buried him on his property. In 1819, the English radical William Cobbett removed Paine's remains to England to build a larger memorial, but Cobbett died before succeeding and the remains disappeared. Dr. Moncure D. Conway claimed to have recovered a portion of Paine's brain around 1905; it was subsequently buried under the monument on October 14, 1905.[3] The search for portions of Paine's body continues; in 2001, DNA tests were proposed for a portion of what was claimed to be his skull.[8]


The current arrangement has rooms decorated in the late 18th and early 19th century style as well as exhibits pertaining to the history of New Rochelle, the local Siwanoy Indians, and the Huguenots.[9] Highlights of the house include a chair owned by Paine as well as a cast iron Franklin stove presented to Paine by its inventor.[10]

The Sophia Brewster One-Room Schoolhouse, the oldest private school in New Rochelle, was also moved to the property.[10]

The cottage and schoolhouse are open to the public five days a week. There are several weekend events scheduled at the cottage throughout the year. In addition, the cottage hosts many local school field trips. It had 3,000 visitors in 2002.[11]


External links

  • Thomas Paine Cottage
  • Thomas Paine House: 1 photo, at Historic American Buildings Survey
  • C-SPAN's American Writers
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