Monday, April 6, 2009

Hayim Solomon

The Banker Patriot

We tend to think of the first patriots as a bunch of overtaxed and underrepresented English white guys. They weren't all English, in fact Haym Salomon [Hayim Solomon] was born in 1740 in Leszno/Lissia,Poland. His father was a Rabbi in Poland, who moved there from Portugal.

In 1772 Haym came to New York City. He was a merchant and also a financier. By 1776 he was involved in the move for independence and was imprisoned by the British as a spy. During the course of the Revolution he was almost hanged by the British, had all his property seized and narrowly escaped to Philadelphia where he made another fortune as a merchant, broker and auctioneer.

In 1777 Haym married Rachel Franks. They would ultimately have four children.

Haym managed to keep finances coming to the struggling Continental Army. He loaned a lot of his own funds to the cause. He is considered the financial hero of the Revolution. In 1783, after the war, a fraction of the money was actually repaid.

1975 postage stamp honoring Haym Salomon.

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