Rose Fortune

First female police officer in Canada

Born: approx. 1774, Virginia
Died: 20 February 1864, Nova Scotia

Rose Fortune was born in Virginia, the daughter of slaves. Her parents, Black Loyalists, came to Nova Scotia when Rose was ten, where they were given their freedom. To earn money, Rose began working as a baggage carrier, transporting luggage and other items from the docks in a wheelbarrow. She expanded her business to cover all of the town and also operated a ‘wake-up’ service, alerting travellers so they wouldn't miss their boat.

Also at this time, Rose Fortune appointed herself as the police department of Annapolis Royal. She imposed and enforced curfews and kept the wharves under control. She was the first known policewoman in Canada.

Rose Fortune is buried in an unmarked grave in the Royal Garrison cemetery. Her descendants still work in the trucking and hauling business.

Additional trivia:

A scholarship program has been established in her name by the Association of Black Law Enforcers.

Daurene Lewis, a descendant of Rose Fortune, was the first black female mayor in North America.

See also:

Peter C. Butler III
Daurene Lewis

More information on:

Black Loyalists


By Name · F
By Province · Nova Scotia
By Claim to Fame · Law & Politics · Firsts
Group(s) · Women

Added 31 August 2003.