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A Portion of the People
First Families This Happy Land · Pledging Allegiance · Palmetto Jews 
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Grant of Arms of the Salvador Family, College of Heralds, England, 1745
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Grant of Arms of the Salvador Family
College of Heralds
England, 1745
Parchment, ink, gilt and watercolor
with plaited ribbon and wax seal
Special Collections, College of Charleston Library

This gray, water-stained parchment, damaged during the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition of 1901–1902, can no longer be read. The large escutcheon in the upper left is the coat of arms of the Salvador family—a lion rampant between three gold fleurs de lys.

Francis Salvador’s grandfather was a Portuguese Jew who had migrated to England from Amsterdam early in the 18th century. The family had previously secured the right to a coat of arms, perhaps in Portugal or the Netherlands. The grant issued by the College of Heralds, while not a patent of nobility, permitted the elder Salvador to call himself “gentleman.”

In 1755 the family acquired 100,000 acres of land, known henceforth as the “Jew’s Land,” in the Carolina Piedmont. That same year an earthquake destroyed the Salvadors’ holdings in Lisbon. The failure of the East India Company further depleted their assets. Hoping to recoup the family fortunes by planting indigo, young Francis Salvador set out for Carolina in 1773. He advertised for an overseer to manage the plantation and 30 slaves, but events of the American Revolution intervened.

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Last updated: Wednesday, June 21, 2006