You know Hancock and Washington and Franklin and Jefferson. You might even know Greene and Knox, Henry and Hale. And we know you know Hamilton, pretty tough to escape that one these days!
But it is very unlikely that you know the name Haym Solomon. This is unfortunate, because he’s the guy who arranged financing to keep the Continental Army alive during its darkest days, finding the money to keep the revolution going when many were ready to throw in the towel. He was also instrumental in the founding of the Bank of North America – the country’s first “national” bank. Solomon’s contributions to the war and the founding of the nation, though seldom discussed, were of major importance.
Haym Solomon is born to a sephardic Jewish family in Poland in 1740. He travels widely through the banking and finance capitals of western Europe, learning a thing or two and then moving on. He arrives penniless in New York City via England as the colonies are on the cusp of revolution. His expertise with money, along with his ability to converse in several European languages, makes him extremely valuable to overseas traders – he becomes a financial broker to New York’s bustling merchant community.
Solomon also establishes what will become a key friendship with Scottish maniac Alexander MacDougall, a businessman and erstwhile “politician” who was known for his aggressive disdain for class systems, hereditary titles and everything else British rule in the colonies reminded him of from back home. MacDougall, a merchant seaman by trade and privateer (pirate) during the French