In 1775 Isaiah Thomas was 25 years old. Already he had established a reputation as a troublemaker, an expert publisher, and an ardent Patriot. His newspaper, The Massachusetts Spy, published in Boston, with a large paid subscribership, gave voice to Patriot concerns and grievances. By 1774 the Spy had established itself as a main voice of opposition to British rule, and Thomas had to leave Boston both for his own safety and to save his printing press. In early 1775, through the assistance of Dr. Joseph Warren and Timothy Bigelow, he brought that press to Worcester.

Arriving in Worcester, Thomas lived in the house of Dr. Elijah Dix and operated his press in the building housing Timothy Bigelow’s home, tavern, and forge. Eventually he set up his own home near the corner of Pleasant and Chestnut streets. Later, in 1784, he built a large house on Main Street on the site now occupied by the Unitarian Church. That house was moved twice in the 19th century, eventually being placed on Harvard Street behind the third Court House, where it was eventually razed in 1923. The office building that Thomas built next to his home that housed his publishing operation was moved to the Rural Cemetery. Tiles from three different rooms from Thomas’ house were salvaged and are now on display in Worcester Historical Museum’s Rice Gallery.