HE WAS an Englishman who came to Jamaica in 1871 to work as a bookkeeper on the Blacksheath sugar plantation in Westmoreland.
Years later he would go on to become a printer and publisher of the Westmoreland Telegraph and one of the finest land surveyors in that part of the island.
Little is known about Raglan Phillips, but his efforts to uplift poor Jamaicans continues today, through the work of the Salvation Army, an international movement, known especially for its charity work and thrift stores.
History has it that Raglan Phillips was the one who started the Salvation Army faith in Jamaica at a time when there was widespread condemnation from other churches on the island towards a new type of doctrine that had just sprung up in England.
Today, there is no question as to whether the Salvation Army was able to withstand the turbulent decades of the 1800s as the organisation continues to impact the lives of thousands of Jamaicans.
The untold story
There is a need for Jamaicans to know more about the man whose love for humanity prompted the Salvation Army movement in Jamaica and continues to bring hope to the poor and destitute, according to the great grandson of the late founder, Richard Phillips.
Through his book, The Richest Man in Jamaica: Stoned by the Poor, Cursed by the Rich, Richard Phillips is on a mission to revive the legacy of his grandfather.
The book shared details of Raglan's time spent working on the Blacksheath sugar plantation and the abuse meted out to him by the owner of the estate. At age 19, he managed to save enough money to leave the plantation before moving on to learn the skill of land surveying. In 1885, he received a spiritual transformation and two years later, the first contingent of the Salvation Army landed on Jamaica's shore from England to give support to Phillips.
"Here is how the humble influence of one person can open the imagination to the possibility that every one of us has the potential in God's hands to make a difference," Phillips said of the book.
Phillips, a Jamaican by birth, now lives in England and has hopes of distributing his books in schools across Jamaica, as he believes this could bring a spiritual awakening to young people.