Submitted by Descendant: Joyce Louise Russell BEVEL
John Russell was born in South Carolina at the time it was a possession of the British Crown. During the American Revolution. The South Carolinian Loyalist sought sanctuary in the Bahama Islands and was granted acreage on at least three islands by King George III in 1789.
John Russell was active in shipping and shipbuilding. He and his wife Mary raised their five children on San Salvador. He decided to experience life as a planter in Spanish East Florida, and in 1811, appeared before the Spanish Government in St. Augustine. The Spanish Government being in need of a shallow draft schooner but low on cash struck a deal with John Russell. A 4000-acre tract between the Matanzas and Tomoca Rivers was exchanged for Russell’s 62-ton mahogany schooner, Perseverance; 675 acres west of the Halifax River were added as head rights for John Russell, his wife, five children, and 18 slaves.
On 10 July 1812, John Russell was declared absolute proprietor of these lands. John Russell established his plantation, “Good Retreat” along the river on his land. During the summer of 1814, he died while visiting his daughter in Fernandina, Florida.
John Russell was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 2004