Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Evidence that Emanuel Fortune was a Russ Family Slave

In working on the After War Times book, we had assumed that the Russ family had held Emanuel Fortune as a slave, but could not find proof.  Finally, evidence comes from the court case of Russ v. Russ in the Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Supreme Court of Florida for the 1860-61 term (available on google books).  The case involved a challenge on behalf of a Russ granddaughter o the settlement of the will of Joseph Russ who had died in 1849.  Russ's will, which is dated Feb. 11, 1845, is reprinted in the court report and contains the following provision:

The slaves bequeathed by Joseph Russ to his son, Joseph W. Russ, under "Item 6th," include Dorah and her children, who include Madison, Emanuel and Hammon.  Dorah is certainly the woman identified by T. Thomas Fortune in After War Times as his grandmother Docia.   Fortune mentions both Madison and Hammon as step-brothers of Emanuel.  Their father was John Pope who became the county's leading AME Minister and a county school board member after Emancipation. Fortune writes that both Madison and Hammon fled Jackson County to join the U.S. Colored Troops.  Emanuel is certainly TT Fortune's father and would have been about 11 years old at the time the will was sworn.

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