SALVADOR

SALVADOR, Sephardi London family that settled in colonial America. JOSEPH (1716–1786) was a wealthy London merchant who immigrated to America. Known in the Sephardi community of London as Joseph Jessurun Rodrigues, he was born into a wealthy family which had gone to England from Holland in the early 17th century. In 1738 he married Rachel, daughter of Isaac Lopes, third Baron Suasso. Salvador enhanced his wealth between 1738 and 1749 in the Spanish and Portuguese trade, working with his father, Francis. He also served as a liaison for the English merchants of Cadiz. Later he imported and exported coral and gems from India. Salvador was the first Jew to be made a director of the Dutch East India Company. He also was a financial adviser to the British government. Active in synagogue and philanthropic affairs, Salvador served as parnas of the Bevis Marks Spanish and Portuguese congregation in London. In his later years, Salvador suffered financial setbacks, notably with the failure of the Dutch East India Company. He sold part of a 100,000-acre holding in South Carolina's backcountry to his nephew and son-in-law, Francis (see below), who set up an indigo plantation in an effort to recoup the family losses. Later, Salvador sold most of his land, and in 1784 emigrated to South Carolina, presumably to support himself from remaining lands. He died in Charleston. FRANCIS (1747–1776), Revolutionary patriot; first Jew to serve in a legislative body in America. Francis was born in London and traveled extensively. When the family wealth was lost, young Salvador purchased some 7,000 acres of South Carolina land from Joseph. He emigrated there in 1773, on the eve of the American Revolution. Salvador early identified himself with the Colonial cause, and Carolina leaders, impressed with his education and ability, took him into their councils, despite his being a Jew. He was made a delegate to the Revolutionary Provincial Congresses of South Carolina (1775–76), which rejected British rule and constituted itself as the legislature of the newly independent state of South Carolina. Salvador thus became the first Jew to represent the people in a legislative body in America, and possibly the first Jew in the modern world to hold such public office. When the British attacked Charleston in 1776, Salvador quickly joined the patriot forces defending the frontier where his plantation lay. His detachment was ambushed by Indians near Keowee, S.C., and Salvador was shot   and scalped. He was the first Jew to give his life in the struggle for American independence. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Picciotto, Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History (1956), 109–12, 114–5, 153–6, and passim; B.A. Elzas, Jews of South Carolina (1905), 68–77, 108–18; L. Huehner, Francis Salvador, in: The Jewish Experience in America (ed. Karp) 11 (1969), 276–91; C. Reznikoff, Jews of Charleston (1950), 34–40; Rosenbloom, Biogr Dict; 151; M. Woolf, in: JHSET, 21 (1962–67), 104–37. (Thomas J. Tobias)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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