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date: 10 July 2020

Fortune, Amos locked

1710?–1801 African American slave who purchased his own freedom and who was a founder of the public library in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.
  • Margit Liander

Extract

Amos Fortune was born in Africa; at fifteen he was captured and taken into slavery. Eventually sold to Ichabod Richardson of Woburn, Massachusetts, Fortune learned the tanning trade from his master. After working for him for forty years, Fortune was able to purchase his own freedom at the age of sixty. He went into business for himself, paid his church and town taxes in Woburn, and at the age of sixty-eight purchased Lydia Somerset, a slave, and married her. Somerset soon died and Fortune bought and married Violate Baldwin and moved to Jaffrey, New Hampshire with her and her daughter, Celyndia, whom he adopted.

Fortune became a successful tanner, bought land, and built a house. He aided local blacks by training apprentice tanners and by taking the indigent into his home. On January 28, 1796 Fortune participated in a meeting of local citizens who voted to establish ...

A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.

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