St Luce Philip

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Claimant or beneficiary

Biography

St Luce Philip was the second son of Jean Baptiste Louis (J.B. Louis) Philip who arrived on Trinidad from Grenada in the late 1780s. Taking up free offers of land from the then Spanish government he settled his family in the Naparima district of the colony. It is unclear whether St Luce was born on Grenada or in Trinidad. He was the brother of Jean Baptiste Philip (sometimes written Phillipe) the author and activist. St Luce’s grandfather was Honore Philip and he had seven uncles and aunts from that side of his family including the Grenadian planter Judith Philip (q.v.).

From an early age and even though he was a man of colour, St Luce would have been brought up with a considerable amount of wealth. Within a few years his father had established himself as one of the leading planters on the island and certainly among the very wealthiest of free coloured families in the colony. The family’s fortune was based mainly on their two main properties: the Phillipine and Concord Plantations though the family also owned other property. Apart from their uncles and aunts on Grenada and its dependencies St Luce had an aunt, Susannah, who lived in Port of Spain. She could well have been joined after 1794 by another aunt, Magdalaine, though this is unclear.

Upon reaching secondary school age, sometime in the first decade of the 19th century, both St Luce and his brother were sent to Scotland for an education where they stayed for over a decade. The fact that both of them seemed to have matriculated at similar times suggests that if not twins they were close in ages. Eventually both men would return as medical doctors. St Luce’s brother Jean Baptiste would publish his famous work “A Free Mulatto” in 1823 and then he drops from the record. St Luce however would live on. In an 1828 report on the condition of the slaves on Trinidad he was asked to comment. He described himself as a medical doctor practicing mostly among his friends. It is unclear when he died. Given the comparative rarity of the name Philip on Trinidad it is quite possible that Rose Victorine Philip who also appears in the compensation reports was another sibling.

The nineteenth century Trinidadian Politician Maxwell Philip – the first coloured mayor of Port of Spain and one of the first men of colour to sit on a colonial legislative council could well be his descendent – though whether Maxwell Philip was the son or grandson of St Luce or his brother is unclear.

Sources

The returns for J.B Louis can be found at ’Return of J.B. Louis Philip for Philippine and Concord Plantations’, Trinidad Slave Registers: Plantation Slaves 1813, CO T-71/501, National Archives of the United Kingdom (NAUK).

See also ‘Trinidad Plantation Slave Registers’, 1833, pp.213-217 (Concorde estate) and 430-432 (Phillipine estate), T-71/501, NAUK.

For Susannah’s presence see her transactions in ‘Books of Spanish Protocols’ (Trinidad), 1812 Index, ‘P’, Port of Spain, National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago.

Jean Baptiste Phillipe, A Free Mulatto (Port of Spain, Calaloux Publishing, 1996 org ed.1823); see also the introduction to the 1996 edition by Selwyn R. Cudjoe pp. v-xxiii.

Kit Candlin, The Last Caribbean Frontier 1795-1815 (Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan, 2012), Chapter One ‘What became of the Fedon Rebellion’ pp. 1-23.

Lorna McDaniel ‘The Philips: A ‘Free Mulatto’ Family of Grenada’ in the Journal of Caribbean History 24, no. 2 (1990) pp.178-194.

We are grateful to Kit Candlin for compiling this entry.


Further Information

Occupation
Physician

Associated Claims (1)

£497 2S 3D
Awardee

Relationships (3)

Other relatives
Notes →
St Luce Philip was the great-nephew of Marie Magdalaine's husband...
Nephew → Aunt
First Cousins

Addresses (1)

Scotland
Notes →

Upon reaching secondary school age, sometime in the first decade of the 19th century, both St Luce and his brother were sent to Scotland for an education where they stayed for over a decade.