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Haym Salomon

(1740 - 1785)

In the early 1770s, at the time of the partition of Poland, Haym Salomon left his family and arrived in New York on the eve of the Revolution. His command of German made him welcome to the Hessian forces, which he served as a supplier of goods. When the British suspected him of spying, Salomon was arrested and confined to prison for a time.

Salomon's command of several languages enabled him to serve as a broker to the French officials in Philadelphia. In the diary of Robert Morris, Superintendent of Finance for the new American government, Salomon's name appears frequently in the period 1781-84. Morris wrote: "This broker has been useful to the public interests ..." Salomon prospered and was able to be financially helpful to a number of public figures, such as Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. In 1782, Madison acknowledged the "kindness of our little friend in Front Street, whose assistance will preserve me from extremities but I never resort to it without great mortification as he obstinately rejects all recompense."

When Haym Salomon died prematurely in January 1785, he held $353,000, largely in depreciated certificates of indebtedness and continental currency ... all virtually worthless. The Pennsylvania Packet wrote "He was remarkable for his skill and integrity in his profession and for his generous and humane deportment."

Sources: Jewish-American Hall of Fame - Jewish Museum in Cyberspace