Francis Salvador was the first Jew to die in the American Revolution - on August 1, 1776 - following the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the colonies. He was killed leading a little army of 330 men who were defending the frontier settlers against the Cherokee Indians, who had been incited by the British.
The battleground was near his plantation along the Keowee River in South Carolina. His exploits as an officer quickly earned him the title of the "Paul Revere of the South."
Salvador was the son of a wealthy London family who grew tired of living the life of a "dandy." In 1773, he decided to set sail for the colonies and he settled in South Carolina. His ability for leadership was quickly recognized and he was elected a delegate for his area to the first South Carolina Provincial Congress.
Salvador, serving as a delegate in Charleston, eamed the esteem and friendship of such eminent colonials as Edward Rutledge, Patrick Calhoun, and Charles Pinckney, who later uttered the imperishable words "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute!"
In his brief life, Salvador acquired many honors, which included a commission to sign and stamp South Carolina currency, serving as financial adviser to the Assembly, participating in reorganizing the courts and the selection of magistrates and serving as adviser to the Assembly election procedures. He also participated in drafting South Carolina's Constitution.
Salvador was only 29 years old when he was killed, but he had already established himself as a soldier, statesman, and leader.
He was the forerunner of the many Jews who would fight and, if necessary, be killed in defending the United States from its enemies. His brief life gave abundant nourishment to his beloved South Carolina and to the roots of our great nation.
This is one of the 150 illustrated true stories of American heroism included in Jewish Heroes and Heroines of America, © 1996, written by Seymour "Sy" Brody of Delray Beach, Florida, illustrated by Art Seiden of Woodmere, New York, and published by Lifetime Books, Inc., Hollywood, FL.
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Last updated 12 May 2011