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Livingston's Land Patent: A New York Loyalist in West Florida


Philip Livingston Jr., (1740-1810) also known as 'Gentleman Phil', was from an affluent New York family. Members of the Livingston family were involved in law, government, commerce, and the church. Philip's uncle, Philip Livingston, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

In the spring of 1770, Philip Livingston Jr. was given the opportunity to embark on HMS Carysfort from Portsmouth, after spending the winter in London, to act as private secretary to Governor Chester of West Florida. This position was joined to the office of deputy secretary of the province, in addition to another office and Philip also practiced law. While Philip was secretary his penmanship and name appeared on numerous documents. One of a particular quizzical nature is the land patent he wrote and signed for his personal use, and which is the focus of this exhibit. 

Also, while Philip was the deputy secretary to Peter Chester there were no less than nine articles written up by citizens of West Florida which dealt specifically to Philip. The first article dealt with the Livingston family taking sides for the rebellion, while other articles dealt with the purchase of rights of service and rights to lands. Another article against Philip was that he stole from the local indigenous.

Shortly after his return to New York in 1784, he served as a member of the New York State Assembly and Senate. In his later years, he lived in Philipsburgh, New York, and Greenburgh, New York.

Many of their family papers are digitized and can be viewed on the New York Public Library webpage.

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