Fortune and Benjamin Taylor were brought to Florida from South Carolina in the 1850s. They were owned by the Howell family. At the end of the Civil War, the newly freed couple were among the first African Americans to legally marry. Freedom came to Tampa's enslaved African Americans on May 5, 1864; Benjamin and Fortune wed on that same date in 1866.
On January 20, 1868 Benjamin claimed a thirty-three acre homestead on the east side of the Hillsborough River. Together, the couple tended orchards of oranges, guavas and peaches. After Benjamin's death in 1869, Fortune was granted homestead to the property on July 1, 1875. The street that ran through the property from the river to Oaklawn Cemetery, was eventually named for her. The Fortune Street Bridge was built in 1892 in order to promote the struggling cigar industry in West Tampa. Financed by Hugh C. Macfarlane, the bridge connected Fortune Street to the east and Arch Street to the west. With the bridge in place, cigar factories flourished and the development of West Tampa began.
Fortune Taylor became a successful businesswoman. She married her second husband, Edward Ranson in the 1880s. She lived her final years on Spring Street and died September 11, 1906.