Thomas Moran was born in 1837 in Bolton, Lancashire to two handloom weavers. The rapid industrialization of nineteenth century England soon mechanized the weaving process and forced Thomas Moran's parents out of their jobs, at which point the whole family was moved to Kensington, Philadelphia, just outside of Philadelphia.
At the age of sixteen, Thomas Moran became an apprentice to a Philadelphia wood engraving firm, Scattergood & Telfer. It was in this position that he began to paint and draw seriously, working diligently on his skills as both a watercolorist and an illustrator. In this he had help and support from his brother Edward, who was an associate of the marine painter James Hamilton (From Medicine Man Gallery).