My father, like some others with the Salt surname, wanted to believe that he was related to Sir Titus Salt. In my father’s case I think he was attracted not merely to the title of this Englishman, but to his history as a businessman and builder of a relatively enlightened community for his employees. My father, educated at Antioch College, was very interested in co-operative and other innovative work settings.
He got more interested in the family name as he got older – as is true for many people. He had been raised on family stories, but mostly not stories about his Salt family. However, that was the name of his father, and the name he carried, and the name he was passing to his sons (not to mention his daughters), and so he was interested.
By Illustration from Harper’s Monthly, vol. 44, 1872. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Titus Salt (1803-1876) was an industrialist, a manufacturer of textiles in Yorkshire, England. He eventually built a mill and then a model village, named Saltaire, in Yorkshire near Shipley. He was also an MP and held a variety of civic offices. He was created a Baronet in 1869.
Unfortunately, it is not at all certain that Titus was related to our Salt family, and he was certainly not a direct ancestor. Our Salt progenitor, Edward, was in Virginia before the American Revolution and likely born sometime between about 1750 and 1760. While the family myth does include the possibility that he was from someplace in Yorkshire, there is no evidence of his birth or his parentage as of yet. By these tokens (and by his birth date of 1803) Titus could only be a collateral relative and the common ancestor would have been probably 2 generations back at least. I wish I knew.
Despite there being a number of books, pamphlets, and other resources that give information about Titus Salt, there is only a little to be found (at least at a distance) about his family origins. His father was Daniel Salt and his mother Grace Smythies. Titus was born in 1803 in Morley, Yorkshire, England. Daniel and Grace (both born about 1781) were married in July 1802 so Titus was their first child. Daniel and Grace went on to have at least five other children, only one of whom was another son. They seem to have gone back and forth between Church of England and non-conformist or independent churches, with the children showing christenings in several different places.
Daniel was probably born in 1780 or 1781, to a Titus Salt. There is a christening in Leeds, Yorkshire, in 1781 that is likely to be him. His father, Titus, is harder to follow but seems to have married more than once and to have died in 1804 in Hunslet and to have been buried at St. Peter’s in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. This Titus, reported variously by family trees online to have been born between 1724 and 1750, would be about the right generation to have been a sibling or cousin of my ancestor Edward. However, so far there is no sighting of any siblings or parents for this Titus. There is a will for this Titus, which is held at the National Archives at Kew that I have not yet seen.
The later-Sir Titus and his father worked together in textile manufacturing for a brief time, and then Titus moved out on his own. He was reportedly a very private man about his personal life and most of what has been written about him is related to his development of textile manufacturing and his creation of the model village of Saltaire between 1850-1871. Saltaire was designed by architects and laid out to include the basic necessities of life. It was “on the River Aire about three miles from Bradford, on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors, and below the traditional recreational area for Bradford people, Shipley Glen.”
The village of Saltaire in Yorkshire has been thought to be the namesake of Saltair in Clermont county, Ohio where our Salt family line settled and built a large house. This is another family myth I think. I don’t know when Saltair in Ohio was named but the house was finished in about 1825 or so, long before Titus Salt had built his village.