Solomon, Ezekiel

views updated


SOLOMON, EZEKIEL (d. 1806), Michigan's first-known Jewish settler. Born in Berlin, Germany, Solomon was among the first Jewish merchants to go to Montreal, Canada, at the time of the British occupation. Solomon was a partner with Chapman Abraham, Gershon Levy, Benjamin Lyon, and Levi Solomons, who were originally army purveyors and who later figured prominently as pioneer fur traders in Michigan. In 1761 Solomon went to Fort Michilimackinac, today's Mackinaw City in Michigan. He was captured by the Indians during their 1763 massacre, but gained his freedom by being ransomed. He was a partner of the Mackinaw Company enterprise, which was organized in 1779 by some 30 traders and companies and which is believed to be the first example of a department store operation in the United States. He was also one of the organizers, in 1784, of Michigan's first Board of Trade. Although married to a Christian, Solomon remained a Jew and was an officer and active member of Montreal's Congregation Shearith Israel.


I.I. Katz, Beth El Story (1955), index; J.R. Marcus, Early American Jewry, 2 (1953), index; idem, American Jewry-Documents, Eighteenth Century (1959), index; Rosenbloom, Biogr Dict, 162; M.H. Stern, Americans of Jewish Descent (1960), index.

[Irving I. Katz]