Haym Moses Salomon, Sr.

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Haym Moses Salomon, Sr.

Birthplace: Leszno, Leszno County, Wielkopolskie, Poland
Death: January 06, 1785 (44)
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, United States (tuberculosis)
Place of Burial: Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Husband of Rachel Ritzel Heilbron
Father of Ezekiel Salomon; Sarah Andrews; Deborah Myers-Cohen and Haym Moses Salomon, Jr.

Managed by: Kevin Lawrence Hanit
Last Updated:

About Haym Moses Salomon, Sr.

Salomon (sometimes written as Solomon and Solomons in period documents) was a Polish-born Jewish immigrant to America who played an important role in financing the Revolution. When the war began, Salomon was operating as a financial broker in New York City. He seems to have been drawn early to the Patriot side and was arrested by the British as a spy in 1776. He was pardoned and used by the British as an interpreter with their German troops. Salomon, however, continued to help prisoners of the British escape and encouraged German soldiers to desert. Arrested again in 1778, he was sentenced to death, but managed to escape to the rebel capital of Philadelphia, where he resumed his career as a broker and dealer in securities. He soon became broker to the French consul and paymaster to French troops in America.

Salomon arrived in Philadelphia as the Continental Congress was struggling to raise money to support the war. Congress had no powers of direct taxation and had to rely on requests for money directed to the states, which were mostly refused. The government had no choice but to borrow money and was ultimately bailed out only by loans from the French and Dutch governments. Government finances were in a chaotic state in 1781 when Congress appointed former Congressman Robert Morris superintendent of finances. Morris established the Bank of North America and proceeded to finance the Yorktown campaign of Washington and Rochambeau. Morris relied on public-spirited financiers like Salomon to subscribe to the bank, find purchasers for government bills of exchange, and lend their own money to the government.

From 1781 on, Salomon brokered bills of exchange for the American government and extended interest-free personal loans to members of Congress, including James Madison. Salomon married Rachel Franks in 1777 and had four children with her. He was an influential member of Philadelphia’s Mikveh Israel congregation, founded in 1740. He helped lead the fight to overturn restrictive Pennsylvania laws barring non-Christians from holding public office. Like many elite citizens of Philadelphia, he owned at least one slave, a man named Joe, who ran away in 1780. Possibly as a result of his purchases of government debt, Salomon died penniless in 1785. His descendants in the nineteenth century attempted to obtain compensation from Congress, but were unsuccessful. The extent of Salomon’s claim on the government cannot be determined, because the documentation disappeared long ago.

In 1941, the George Washington-Robert Morris-Haym Salomon Memorial was erected along Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago. The bronze and stone memorial was conceived by sculptor Lorado Taft and finished by his student, Leonard Crunelle. Although Salomon’s role in financing the Revolution has at times been exaggerated, his willingness to take financial risks for the Patriot cause helped establish the new nation. National Parks Service

Haym Salomon’s belief in the American cause was so great it bankrupted him in the end.

The Polish-born Jewish immigrant first lived in New York City, where he worked as a financial broker. It was there that he became a patriot and in 1776 he was arrested by the British for being a spy.

Salomon was eventually pardoned, however, and became an interpreter for the British to help in communicating with their German-speaking troops.

But Salomon didn’t switch allegiances, during that time he helped prisoners of the British to escape and encouraged the German troops to desert -- which ultimately led to him being arrested in 1778 and sentenced to death.

Salomon escaped, however, and moved to Philadelphia where he once again was a broker. This time his clients included the French consul. He also was the paymaster to French troops in the United States. Salomon bankrolled a lot of the revolution by brokering bills of exchange for the government and giving interest-free loans to members of Congress. He died penniless in 1785, with the government owing him more than $600,000. (Pennlive)

A Patriot of the American Revolution for NEW YORK - PENNSYLVANIA. DAR Ancestor # A107027

Jewish Revolutionary War heroes and their monuments and markers, mention must be made of the large sculptural groups of George Washington and his two financial advisers and go-getters: Robert Morris and Hyam Solomon.


Spanish and Portuguese Jew who immigrated to New York from Poland during the period of the American Revolution, and who became a prime financier of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War against Great Britain


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Haym Moses Salomon, Sr.'s Timeline

April 7, 1740
Leszno, Leszno County, Wielkopolskie, Poland
July 20, 1778
New York, New York, New York, United States
October 17, 1779
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
January 12, 1783
January 6, 1785
Age 44
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, United States
April 23, 1785
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States