St Luce Philip

???? - 1861

Claimant or beneficiary


St Luce Philip was the 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. He was born in Trinidad, 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, both St Luce and his brother Jean Baptiste were sent to Scotland for an education where they stayed for over a decade. John Baptiste graduated in medicine from the University of Edinburgh in 1815; St Luce in 1827. 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. He died at 17 Great Coram Street, a boarding house in London, aged 56, and was buried in London 05/10/1861. (He does not appear at the same address in the 1861 census, taken in April of that year.) 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.


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.

List of graduates in medicine in the University of Edinburgh from MDCCV to MDCCX (1867) pp. 50, 83., London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980 [database online].

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 and to Renee Cushmeer for her assistance with information on the Philip family.

Further Information

University of Edinburgh [1827 (graduated in medicine) ]

Associated Claims (1)

£497 2s 3d

Relationships (3)

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

Addresses (1)

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.