John Fortune

John Fortune travels without family in the Book of Negroes on board the Mars. Despite his not having any direct family the ten individuals on board that vessel have connecting stories. All of them were indented to military officers who served at the siege of Charleston. It is assumed that he also served at Charleston. John is one of the few that does not list that connection directly but like the others his indenture was to a Captain Gelder. Some of the ten are listed as having been returned to their owners- the rest are listed here as traveling with John. Given the names of some of these officers it is likely that at least some of these indentures were to German officers. This small group is clearly in a group based upon their service. As the branch of the service was not named John has been listed as being with 'British Forces [General]' on this website. None of them, John included, are in the Birchtown Muster- it is unclear what happened to them. John's former owner Charles Connor owned a number of slaves in the Norfolk area and their is a general claim against the British made by him included here in this entry for John.
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7/ Nov

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Lord Dunmore's Proclamation - Norfolk

  • John Murray, Lord Dunmore -

    John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore (1732 – 25 February 1809), was the  colonial governor of Virginia at the outbreak of the American Revolution.

Source for this event: Lord Dunmore's Proclamation


The Burning of Portsmouth - Portsmouth

  • The Burning of Portsmouth 1779 -

    In May 1779 the British detached a fleet of ships under Admiral Collier with a army detachment under General Matthew to make a putative raid into the Lower Chesapeake and destoy the tobacco warehouses. This fleet was supported by a smaller fleet of privateers owned by John Goodridge. After destroying much of Portsmouth, the British took away a large contingent of runaways from the Portsmouth and Norfolk area. A group consisting of 256 men, 135 women and 127 children.




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Treaty of Paris - Paris France

  • Treaty of Paris -

    In November 1782 a provisional peace treaty was hammered out between the British and the Americans in Paris.

Source for this event: Treaty of Paris


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Evacuation of New York - New York

  • Evacuation of New York -

    In April 1783 the first evacuation fleet left for Nova Scotia. A week later  the British Commander, Sir Guy Carleton, sailed up the Hudson River to Orangetown for a conference with General Washington to discuss the evacuation. As the victorious commander, Washington opened the meeting by reiterating the resolution of Congress regarding “the delivery of all Negroes and other property.”

Source for this event: The Book of Negroes
Vessel Names and their Commanders Where Bound Names Age Description Names of the Person in whose Possession they now are Remarks
Master: James Greyson
Port Roseway John Fortune 20 likely lad Capt. Gelder Formerly Slave to Charles Connor, Norfolk. Left 4 years ago. British Forces [general]. Certificate from General Birch.
Assumed to be traveling in the Book of Negroes with:


Patriot claims for losses to the British

Source for this event: Patriot claims for losses to the British
[We have assumed that Charles Connor claimed John Fortune]