F. Horace Salmon - Retail Merchant

Horace Salmon - Story Overview

Horace Salmon, 1919

by Rich Salmon, 2010

A twelve page biography with countless illustrations, telling the story of my father, Francis Horace Lionel Salmon (1888-1951)...another ancestral biography in the Salmon-Stephens Family website.

Horace was born in Antigua in the British West Indies on April 28, 1888 to James Frances Nelson "Frank" Salmon (1841- 1909) and Deborah Alice Lake Salmon (1863-1943). After working in a mercantile store as a teenager, Horace emigrated to the USA and settled down in Chicago where he went to work as a clerk in the Jewelry Dept of Marshall Fields Department Store. He sent $3.00 of his $9.00 weekly salary back to the family in Antigua.

In 1909, Horace accepted a job with Fred Harvey Company in Albuquerque NM, as buyer for their Indian Stores in the train stations across New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. World War I caused the U.S. Army to draft soldiers from all walks of life, including foreigners, and Horace reported for duty in the trenches of France during the final months of the war. Returning afterwards to New York City, he got a job selling rugs at R.H.Macy's Department Story in Manhattan, living with his mother and sister who had emigrated there after the death of his Dad.

Horace met and soon married (June 18, 1921) Carrie Elisabeth "Betty" Doig, a school teacher whose father, Will Doig, had been born in Antigua (1867-1902). Betty's mother was from a Maryland family of Methodist preachers and farmers. They first settled in an apartment in Jersey City, but before long had an urge to move South where the weather would be warmer. Horace got work in Richmond, Virginia and Betty gave birth to William Horace Salmon on March 14, 1924. With the extended family of transplanted Antiguans growing in New York City, the young couple left Virginia within a year and went to Rutherford NJ where Betty's mother lived, and after another year, son F. Howard Salmon was born, and the family moved to Trenton NJ, away from the bustle of the New York metropolis.

Mr. Salmon sold rugs for H.M.Voorhees, joined the Grace Baptist Church and moved his family across the Delaware River to Morrisville PA. Elisabeth Lee "Betsy" Salmon was born in October 1930 and Richard Farley "Richie" Salmon was born February 8, 1935. Bill and Howard grew very fond of model airplanes, Bill eventually becoming a bomber pilot.

In 1936, Horace moved his family to Highview Avenue in Bernardsville NJ where he and Betty opened a Ben Franklin 5 and 10 cents store. It was later renamed the F. Horace Salmon Stores. Eventually, other stores were opened in Bedmister, Peapack, Denville and Boonton NJ and two 1937 Ford station wagons were purchased to distribute merchandise among them.

World War II took away oldest son Bill right out of High School in 1942 and he became a bomber pilot, flying with the 15th Army Air Force out of Foggia in southern Italy. Howard joined the U.S. Navy after High School and was stationed in Bermuda after the war, repairing radios. When he returned from the service, Howard finished a B.S. in Electrical Engineering at Newark College of Engineering and then went to work for his Dad in the stores. Bill on the otherhand went to Roosevelt Aviation School in Long Island, fixed planes for Lockheed, and eventually made a career with the New York Telephone Company in Manhattan. Betsy finished a college degree at Fairleigh Dickenson College in Pennsylvania and Richard completed a B.A. degree in Bible at Abilene Christian College (1956) five years after Horace's death.

Heavy smoking took its toll and in the Fall of 1951, at age 63, Horace died of heart disease and was buried in St. Bernards Cemetery in nearby Basking Ridge NJ. Betty and Howard took over the store business and it provided a decent living for her for the rest of her life, dying in August 1972.


               --BACK TO TOP OF PAGE--