He was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the son of John Salter III and Jane Frost. After reaching maturity he dropped his middle name. He was married in 1821 to Harriet Chase Tibbits who was the daughter of Captain Richard Salter Tibbits and Sarah Frost.
Benjamin entered the cotton trade business in Fayetteville, North Carolina with his brother, William Frost Salter. In 1825 he moved to New York where he continued in the cotton business.
The ten children of Benjamin and Harriet were: Caroline Winslow, Mary Tibbits, George Henry Colton, Harriet, Harriet Elizabeth, Francis, Jane Adeline, William Merrill, William Tibbits, and Albert Edward Salter.