He probably didn't wear this hat: Francis Salvador was an unsung hero of the American Revolution (reenacted here)—the "Southern Paul Revere" who galloped to warn of British attacks and the first Jewish person elected to office in the United States.

Photograph by George F. Mobley, National Geographic
  • Select Text Level:

    On January 11, 1775, Francis Salvador, nicknamed the “Southern Paul Revere,” took his seat as part of the South Carolina Provincial Congress in Charlestown (now Charleston). Salvador was the first Jewish person elected to office in what would become the United States.
    Salvador was a Sephardic Jew from a prosperous family in England. His family had recently lost much of their wealth. Salvador moved to South Carolina in 1773, seeking a better, more independent life for his wife and children. They remained in London until Salvador’s plantation in western South Carolina (what was called “Jews’ Land”) was settled.
    Salvador quickly joined the Revolutionary War. He earned his nickname, the “Southern Paul Revere,” in the summer of 1776, when his horse galloped nearly 45 kilometers (28 miles) to warn settlers of a planned attack by Cherokee and Loyalist (pro-British) forces.
    Soon after completing his famous ride, Salvador became the first Jewish soldier killed in the Revolutionary War when he was shot and scalped by Loyalist-Cherokee troops near the Keowee River.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    Cherokee Noun

    people and culture native to the southeastern United States.

    Congress Noun

    legislative branch of the government, responsible for making laws. The U.S. Congress has two bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    elect Verb

    to choose by vote.

    gallop Verb

    to ride a horse at full speed.

    independent Adjective

    free from influence, threat, or support.

    Jewish Adjective

    having to do with the religion or culture of people tracing their ancestry to the ancient Middle East and the spiritual leaders Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    plantation Noun

    large estate or farm involving large landholdings and many workers.

    prosperous Adjective

    financially successful.

    Revolutionary War Noun

    (1775-1783) conflict between Great Britain and the colonies that became the United States. Also called the American War of Independence.

    rural Adjective

    having to do with country life, or areas with few residents.

    scalp Verb

    to tear the skin from the head.

    Sephardic Adjective

    having to do with the Jewish communities of the Iberian Peninsula, expelled from Spain and Portugal in 1492.

    settler Noun

    person who migrates and establishes a residence in a largely unpopulated area.

    troop Noun

    a soldier.

    wealth Noun

    amount of money or other valuable materials.