South Carolina Hall Of Fame: Francis Salvador

Francis Salvador

Born-(Died): 1747-1776
Profession: Revolutionary War Patriot, SC Legislator, Plantation Owner
Inducted: 2023

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Francis Salvador is recognized as the first person of Jewish faith elected to the South Carolina legislature.

He was born in London and was the son of the wealthy merchant Jacob Salvador. The family's fortune was lost with the failure of the Dutch East India Company and Salvador came to South Carolina in an attempt to restore the family fortune.

His indigo plantation in Ninety-Six District along Coronaca Creek, known as Corn Acre, was the remnant of more than 200,000 acres that had been acquired earlier by his uncle and father-in-law, Joseph Salvador. That property covered more than half of present-day Greenwood County.

In the events leading to the Revolutionary War, Salvador quickly identified with the patriot cause. Its leaders, impressed with his education and ability, accepted him into their ranks. Slightly over a year after arriving in Charleston, he was elected on Dec. 19, 1774, to the First Provincial Congress of South Carolina, along with nine other representatives from Ninety-Six District. Jewish historian Barnett Elzas claimed that he was "the first Jew in America to represent the masses in a popular assembly."

He served on important committees for the First and Second Provincial Congresses and for South Carolina's first General Assembly. He died on Aug. 1, 1776 during an official mission aimed at consolidating backcountry support when his unit was ambushed at night by a force of Cherokee Indians and Loyalists. His death three weeks after the signing of the Declaration of Independence made him the first Jew to die for the patriot cause. A plaque was dedicated in Salvador's memory in 1950 in Charleston's City Hall Park.