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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Virginia: Botetourt County

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Joseph Jenkins, guardian of Rachel (Solomon) Dempsey of Botetourt Co., VA
Posted by: Dorsey Jude, Jr. (ID *****5342) Date: August 05, 2011 at 15:50:42
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According to family tradition, Joseph Solomon was a Dutch Jew. He and his wife whose surname was either Miller or Mueller immigrated to America before 1747 since Joseph Solomon was cited as one of about 10 Jewish families at Lancaster, Pennsylvannia on 2-3-1747 when a deed was recorded granting land from Thomas Cookson to Isaac Nunus Ricus (Henriques) who came from Georgia in 1741 and Joseph Simon(s), conveying a half-acre of land in the township of Lancaster in trust for the society of Jews to have and use as a burying-ground. The first name of Joseph Solomon's wife remains unknown.

The Rev. Richard Locke, a missionary of the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts in letters of 1746-1752, and writing more particularly under date of April 11, 1747, gives in part seven of "Notitis Parochialis," number of Heathen and Infidels: are ten families of Jews". (See Pennsylvania Historical Magazine article by Benj. F. Owen, 1901). Joseph Solomon was included among these families.

"In a list of persons that have entitled themselves to the benefit of the act (13 Geo. 11) for naturalizing such foreign Protestants, and others therein mentioned, as are settled, or shall settle, in any of His Majesty's Colonies in America." appears the following name: Joseph Solomon, Lancaster, a Jew, sworn on the Old Testament." Vol. 1 fol. 230 (See V., published by the American Jewish Historical Society, 11, 117). According to Rosemary White's research Joseph was naturalized as a citizen on 3-24-1750 in Philadelphia.

Joseph was also enumerated on the Lancaster County assessor's list in 1751, 1754, 1757.

Ellis & Evans' History of Lancaster County, p. 383, says Joseph Solomon was a charter member of the Friendship Fire Comapany, on December 10th, 1763.

Joseph became a wealthy merchant who owned several ships during the American Revolution and according to family tradition he died on one of his ships which sank in the West Indies. However, there is a Joseph Solomon who is buried in Lancaster, PA in the cemetery created from the land deed, which as previously mentioned above, was recorded in 1747. He has a headstone showing he died 2-9-1779. His wife died shortly after him. Consequently, their children Rachel & Mary were taken in by Joseph Jenkins who lived in Botetourt Co., VA who was Lutheran. Rachel Solomon married John William Dempsey 5 SEP 1788 in Fincastle, Botetourt Co., VA. The marriage record shows Joseph Jenkins was listed as Rachel's guardian. John & Rachel (Solomon) Dempsey later moved to Logan Co, VA (WV) and their descedants settled along the Tug River Valley in Southwestern WV & Eastern KY. Rachel Dempsey, age 85 was identified on the 1850 Logan Co., VA (WV) census. She died shortly afterwards. The census indicated she was born in Pennsylvannia. Also, her son Mark Dempsey wrote a genealogical artcle which was found in his family Bible which indicated his maternal grandfather was Joseph Solomon and Joseph's wife was Miss. Miller or Mueller.

I posted the genealogical article on-line. Below is the link:

An explanation why the girls were sent with Mr. Jenkins to live in Virginia was because they were being raised as Christians or another theory could suggest that Mr. Jenkins was related to Joseph Solomon's mother since Jenkins is an English surname and Joseph Solomon had been documented as a resident at one point in London, England.

The source used for much of the information above is the Historical papers and addresses of the Lancaster County, Volumes 4-7 By Lancaster County Historical Society (Pa.) Papers Read Before the Lancaster County Historical Society. March 1, 1901. Early Jewish Colony. By Monroe B Hirsh. Vol. V. NO. 5. Lancaster, PA. Reprinted from the New Era. 1901.

Another on-line family tree published on-line at shows the following:

Joseph Solomon b. 1710 London died 1778 Lancaster naturalized Lancaster Mar 25, 1749. Joseph married Bilah Myers-Cohen in 1738 in London, England. Their children included: Myer b. 1740 in London, England, Isaac b. 1743, Shinah b. 12-24-1744 in Lancaster, Rachel b. ca. 1747 and Levy b. 1748. According to this tree Rachel b. 1747 married Levy Marks and died March 29, 1797 in Philadelphia.

This on-line family tree appears to suggest there may have been two different individuals with the name Joseph Solomon in America in the mid 1700's. Or it is possible they are the same person? Considering the similarity in the proximity of the dates of birth, marriage, immigration and death and since research shows there were only about 10 Jewish families living in Lancaster, PA in the middle of the 18th century, it all sounds way too coincidental to be regarded as mere coincedence. If they are the same person, it would suggest Joseph had a family with his first wife Bilah Myers-Cohen before he then married Miss Miller or Mueller and had two daughters named Rachel and Mary. But it seems odd that Joseph Solomon would name two of his daughters Rachel. One by his wife Bilah and one by his wife Miss Mueller?

It has been suggested that It is possible that Joseph Solomon was related to the Revolutionary War financier and Patriot Haym Salomon. The following link for his descendants is also provided on-line by the American Jewish Archives:

This is only my opinion. Please let me know if you agree or disagree. Especially since I am not Jewish. The name spelled "Salomon" such as in Haym Salomon is Sephardic (Spanish & Portuguese) and "Solomon" such as in Joseph Solomon is Ashkenazic (German & Dutch). Based on this it appears that Joseph Solomon was an Ashkenazic Jew and Haym Solomon was a Sephardic Jew, which suggests Joseph Solomon was not related to Haym Salomon, the American Patriot Revolutionary War financier who was born in Poland and was a descendant of Jewish refugees from Portugal. I am pointing this out only because when it comes to genealogical research, sometimes it is just as important to eliminate possibilities as it is to include them.

If anyone can provide any additional information on the Solomon/Salomon family please contact my email address, which is

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