Sir Richard Russell

In 1767 Sir Richard Russell, Lord Buckworth, was granted 10,000 acres bounding east on the St. Johns River and south on Black Creek. Governor James Grant personally selected the site for Lord Buckworth, an absentee planter in East Florida who never saw his property. With Alexander Gray as his agent, and later John Ross, Russell employed enslaved men and women at indigo and provisions cultivation, cattle grazing, and lumber and naval stores production. Russell died in October 1773, leaving the property to his widow, Mary Magdalene Russell.

A log dwelling house was erected, along with other storage buildings and residences for the laborers. The provisions fields were surrounded by more than a half mile square of fence rails. Two complete sets of indigo vats, pumps and works were constructed, as were tar kilns and ovens for preparation of tar and pitch. Sale of turpentine was a major source of income after 1775. Records for 1772 through 1784 show an average annual income of £410 Sterling. For 1778 through 1781 the average net income each year was £375 Sterling.

A net natural increase in the number of slaves, coinciding with a general increase in value of human property, also produced income for the Russell estate. Russell paid £1816 Sterling between 1769 and 1775 to purchase forty-eight black slaves. That number increased to sixty-nine by the time the plantation was evacuated in 1784. The value of Russell's slave property in 1784 was £3450 Sterling (an average of £50 for each enslaved human being), for a net increase of £1634 Sterling .

When the province was evacuated in 1784, executors (the widow died in 1782) valued the land and buildings at £3000 Sterling. All of the buildings, horses, cattle, hogs, canoes, 325 barrels of turpentine, lumber, tar kilns, ovens, indigo vats, and other non-moveable improvements were abandoned during the hurried departure.
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Bibliographic Information

A Note On Sources

T77/2/33-Russell's executors.