In 1767, when Stephen Salisbury turned 21, his brother Samuel sent him from Boston to open and operate a branch of the family store in Worcester. For five years Salisbury operated in rented quarters in what is now Lincoln Square. During that time he was a boarder at Timothy Paine’s house. [link to A17] In 1772 he bought approximately 150 acres from John Hancock, a lot that extended from Lincoln Square to the Worcester-Holden line, an area that includes the current campus of WPI, Institute Park, and the former Washburn & Moen North Works. On the part of that tract facing Lincoln Square, he contracted with a Hardwick carpenter, Joseph Allen, to build what would be the S&S Salisbury store as well as his residence. Looking south from the Salisbury Mansion grounds, Stephen Salisbury would see the County Court House to his right. To his left was the residence, forge, and tavern of his friend Timothy Bigelow, a Patriot leader.
Although Salisbury was not among the most active Worcester Patriots, he did participate in a meaningful way. He was a member of the Committee of Correspondence. In May 1774 he was a member of a committee that drafted the instructions for Worcester’s representative to the Provincial Congress. These instructions included the directive to encourage a union of all colonies and to oppose using Massachusetts taxpayer funds to pay for the tea destroyed in the Boston Tea Party. In September 1774, when the county militias met in Worcester to close the provincial court, Patriot leaders chose the area between the Court House and the store as the location for the militia to wait for developments.