Salmon, Richard (1797–1849)

By: Andrew F. Muir

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: July 1, 1995

Richard Salmon, Episcopalian priest and colonizer, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1797, the son of Richard Salmon. He received B.A. and M.A. degrees from Hobart College, Geneva, New York, and studied theology at General Theological Seminary, New York City. He was made deacon in the Protestant Episcopal church on September 21, 1823, and ordained priest on September 21, 1826. For twelve years he served parishes in western New York. Under the pen name Pioneer, he contributed articles to the Gospel Messenger. He was a consumptive and unsuccessful in his New York ministry. With plans to take a colony of church people to Texas he assembled fifty married mechanics and farmers with their families, who were prepared to leave in November 1834; but funds were insufficient, and thirty-five families withdrew. On November 28, 1835, Stephen F. Austin and Samuel May Williams agreed to accept fifteen New York families to be sent by John White to Texas. On February 15, 1836, White granted half interest in the contract to Salmon, who left New York with fifteen families on February 24, 1836. After learning of Antonio López de Santa Anna's incursion into Texas, Salmon and his colonists remained in New Orleans until October, when they went to Velasco. The colony disintegrated immediately. Salmon was the first Episcopal priest to minister canonically and regularly in Texas. He served as one of the two chaplains of the Senate for the first session of the First Congress and officiated at the funeral of Stephen F. Austin. For two years he was sick and did little active work, but on February 11, 1839, the Houston city school opened with him as principal. He resigned on January 20, 1840, after an investigation by the board of aldermen, returned to New York, and, while on his way back to Texas, died of cholera aboard a steamboat near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in July 1849. His widow, Delia (Smith), and his son, Granger, later lived in Wise County.

Andrew Forest Muir, "Early Missionaries in Texas, with Documents Illustrative of Richard Salmon's Church Colony," Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church 10 (September 1941).
  • Religion
  • Protestant Episcopal

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

Andrew F. Muir, “Salmon, Richard,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995