Isaiah Thomas was born in Boston on January 19, 1749. His father, Moses Thomas (1715-1752), was a restless man who left his family to seek his fortune in the southern colonies, where he died. This left Isaiah’s mother, Fidelity Grant Thomas (1725-1798), destitute with five young children to support. Because his mother could not afford to keep him, the Overseers of the Poor, a governmental agency in Boston, placed him in an apprenticeship with the printer Zachariah Fowle (1724-1776). Isaiah was seven years old at the time.