Halff, Solomon (1838–1905)

By: Natalie Ornish

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Updated: May 20, 2016

Solomon Halff, merchant, was born in Lauterbourg, Alsace-Lorraine, France, on May 8, 1838, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Halff. In 1857 he immigrated through Galveston to join his brother Mayer Halff in his wholesale dry-goods company in Liberty, Texas. The brothers formed a partnership, M. Halff and Brother. Before Solomon arrived, Mayer, who had been in Texas for seven years, accepted cattle in lieu of cash for payment of bills. Afterward, the brothers divided their business managements. Mayer managed the ranches he had accumulated, and Solomon managed the store. In 1864 the brothers followed the ranching business to San Antonio, where they moved their store, headquartered their ranch, and enlarged their merchandising business. The wholesale dry-goods company became one of the largest of its type in the Southwest, with salesmen covering the state. Solomon became prominent in lodge, society, and religious circles. He served as a founder of Temple Beth El in San Antonio. He was a member of B'nai B'rith. In 1902 he retired from the wholesale dry-goods company to work full-time as vice president of the Alamo National Bank, a bank he and Mayer founded. He became president and controlling stockholder in the A. B. Frank Company, a wholesale dry-goods firm; his son G. A. C. Halff later became president. Solomon Halff married Fannie Levi of Victoria, Texas, on November 15, 1871. They had five children. G. A. C. Halff pioneered in the merchandising business as had his father. He organized one of the first automobile dealerships in Texas and in 1911 founded the first wholesale outlet for auto supplies. In 1922 he founded radio station WOAI, San Antonio, which began broadcasting on September 25, 1922, one of the first broadcasting stations in the United States. Solomon Halff died on May 29, 1905, in San Antonio. He was buried in the Jewish cemetery there.

Natalie Ornish, Pioneer Jewish Texans (Dallas: Texas Heritage, 1989). San Antonio Daily Express, May 30, 1905.

  • Peoples
  • French
  • Business
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Jews

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Natalie Ornish, “Halff, Solomon,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 14, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/halff-solomon.

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January 1, 1995
May 20, 2016