Tag Archives: Richard Fortune

Digging into Richard Fortune’s Whole Story Part II

Ancestry.com, 1 of 3 Images

Ancestry.com 2 of 3

Researching history about slavery and freedom in Suffield Connecticut has evolved into a powerful and important partnership of public history. With help from an independent genealogist from the Suffield Historical Society combined with help from the National Mall Liberty Fund in Washington, DC, I was able to examine more information about Richard Fortune. The National Mall Liberty Fund DC sent us a URL of an amazing and far-reaching text, Forgotten Patriots, published by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution in 2008. Here’s a URL for the text; wait a few moments for the URL to load on your computer. You can then perform searches of key words. Searching Suffield will help you find the information about Richard Fortune as well as a “Titus” from Suffield as well as two other African-American soldiers we know more information about, Cesar Negro and Titus Kent. http://www.dar.org/sites/default/files/media/library/xpublications/Forgotten_Patriots_ISBN-978-1-892237-10-1.pdf

Click here for a pdf that shows the DAR Sources for Richard Fortune in the important text, Forgotten Patriots.

Simultaneously, a member from the Suffield Historical Society, sent us a most important clue about a letter written by General Israel Putnam’s son who testified to Richard Fortune’s long service, which included Fortune signing up again for service.

Again, below is  from a classmate who found the National Mall Liberty Fund link that my classmate discovered in the winter: http://libertyfunddc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/HARTFORD-COUNTY-BACKGROUND-AFRICAN-AMERICAN-REVOLUTIONARY-WAR-RESOLUTION.pdf  See page 5 of 5 of this pdf published by the Liberty Fund organization.

The genealogist from the Suffield Historical Society clues also lead us more to the eastern Connecticut story of Richard Fortune. Our initial search discovered his alias as well as someone from eastern Connecticut writing a letter on his behalf when Richard Fortune sought his pension in 1818. Our slide show presents that information: https://caisctpbl.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/suffield-academy-students-present-at-suffield-historical-society-meeting-on-april-18th/

If any reader knows more about Richard Fortune or has a suggestion for a source that will help our research, please leave a comment on this post. I will get an email notifying me of your comment and look forward to learning more.

Below is my first attempt at transcribing the letter; please comment any suggestions where I have a question mark by a word or let me know if I made a mistake with a word.

Jabez CLARK, esquire Brooklyn 1818
Sir I received a line from you on Saturday last request on info regarding the services of Richard fortune, a black man in the army of the Revolution. This man has the commencement of the war was slave, belonging to general Putnam. In December 1775 he was ordered by his master ??? And entered as a soldier in Durkus(?) Regiment as that time ??? For the continental? He was taken from the regiment into the family of his master as a servant and continued with him until April 1777 remaining in the Munster rolls, and drawing pay as a soldier in that regiment. Some time in April 1777 under the promise of freedom as the close of the war he enlisted again in the same regiment and continued as a servant in general Putnam’s (family?) till about the first of April 1779 when he was discharged from service. When I state his services in General Putnam’s family it is to be understood his military family in Corps where he served with such fidelity and good conduct as to obtain?? An honorable discharge from the army had also from (?) Claims of his master.
I state these facts from my own knowledge having hear myself an aide de camp to (?) General Putnam and services in his family most of the (?)(?) In service in the time of the Revolution
I am respectfully (?)
Your servant (?)
David Putnam

Did Richard Fortune Earn his Freedom in the War?

While Titus Kent is an African-American Revolutionary War veteran recognized on Suffield Veterans Memorial, a classmate discovered that a Richard Fortune fought in the Connecticut Regiment, and he is listed as being from Suffield. This discovery made me reflect on my previous research where I read Katherine Harris’ introduction in African American Connecticut Explored, where she opens the collection of history with this reflection: “The coexistence of freedom and slavery shape the lives of people of African descent from their first arrival in the Connecticut colony.” I then read David O White’s work, Revolutionary War Service; Path to Freedom in the collection and began more research on Richard Fortune.

We were able to get more in depth about what an important Katherine Harris’ research was. Looking into her researching history about slavery and freedom in Suffield Connecticut, I was able to come across Richard Fortune. Just like Titus Kent, who has
been researched by one of my classmates was an important

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Researched on Ancestry.com

Richard Fortune was pa
rt of the Revolutionary War and entered into the army at the age of around 18. In the 1820’s there are records of the United States Federal Census. This record informs us that Richard Fortune had to be the age of 45 and up in the year 1820. It also gave us information on his spouse. His wife was Diana Fortune who was able to live longer than him and she received his pension benefits when she was his widow. There is also a record of
her age in the year 1820. It says she was in between 26 and 44 years of age. This is a broad range, but it gives us the idea that she was fairly younger than Mr.

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Researching on Ancestry.com

Fortune.
As a class we were hoping to get more background information if possible on Richard Fortune. Researching Titus Kent gave us a good deal of information on Connecticut Slavery and Freedom during 1774. Thus, so finding more information on another African American soldier would get us closer to answers we are looking for as a class. If we could find more information on Richard Fortune, that could be great for my class. Can anyone help us with more sources and resources to find out more about Richard Fortune’s life after the war?