1736 John II and Rachel Levy

John Phillips
  • John Phillips born 2 October 1736
  • Military service circa 1756 - 1783
  • Marriage to Rachel Levy 14th November 1786 aged 50
  • Children:  John, William, Anna Maria and Susan Angelique
  • Died 16th November 1794 aged 58
John Phllips II was the first surviving child of John Phillips and Anne Engs, born in 2 October 1736 in Massachusetts. John was a career soldier and bore arms for more than 40 years in the 15th, 23rd, 46th and 47th and 74th Regiments of the British Army. It is likely John may have fought in Quebec with Wolfe alongside his father. John II was present at the reduction of Louisberg, Canada, Havana, and Martinique as well as during the American War and was 'reduced' as a Captain in the Garrison Battalion in America at the Peace of 1783.

John was in Boston when the battle of Bunker Hill was fought June 17, 1775. John wrote the letter below ten days later to his mother, Anne Phillips, then living in Quebec. It was received 3rd August 1775 in Quebec.


Boston, June 27 1775
To Mrs Ann Phillips

Honoured Madam,

As I hope to be made happy by begging you forgiveness in person fo rmy long silence I flatter myself you will pardon me if I should not now attempt an apology further than to assure you it did not proceed from want of the most filial duty and affection but from a cause which it may not now be altogether proper to mention, and I doubt not when I have the  long wished for happiness of seeing you to be able to acquit myself to your satisfaction and if there is aught I can do, which will contribute to the ease and quiet of the best of parents,it shall on my arrival in Canada be most cheerfully accomplished. I pray this may find you in better health than I am informed you have been for some time past, be assured nothing would do more to make me happy.

I would have wrote to my worthy friend Mr Finlay had I thought Mr Doffin would have been detained so long. If he should have a tedious voyage I should be in Quebec within a fortnight after him, as I only wait for letters from England which I expect from the packet.

We are at present and have been for sometime past in the most disagreeable situation here, the town being surrounded by at least 15,000 men, who prevent any fresh provisions or necessarys from being brought into the town.

On the 17th instant the Kings troops attacked and rousted the rebels upon Bunker Hill at Charlestown, though with considerable loss on our side, since which we remain pretty quiet.

I beg you will remember me in the tenderest names to my dear sisters and their little ones and also to Sally and honest Sam. I beg his pardon for not answering his letters. I hope soon to have the pleasure of pleading guilty to him in person, and pray make my affectionate regards to Messre Rowe and Scott. Tell Mr Rowe Jack is well and one of the finest boys I ever saw. Poor Mrs Payson is at Providence still. I have not been able to see her these two months, as all communication is cut off between this place and that. I saw Tom in New York on May last, poor fellow is truly unfortunate. I was made happy by having it in my power to give him some small assistance. I sincerely wish he could have been content to remain single a while longer. I had likewise the pleasure of seeing Mr and Mrs Moore and their young ones just before they embarked for Carolina and have since had the satisfaction of receiving a letter from her dated Norfolk the 30th of April. They are well and intended to set off by land for Carolina.

As I expect and have reason to hope I shall be with you soon I shall conclude with wishing you every blessing this life can give and of assuring you that I am and ever shall be at all times and in circumstances,
Honoured Madam,
Your most dutiful and affectionate son
John Phillips
Boston June 27th 1775.

Transcribers Notes:

In this letter John refers to several of his Phillips Aunts, Uncles and cousins. Mr Hugh Finlay is married to his Aunt Mary, Mr Rowe to Aunt Penelope. Jack Rowe is John Rowe son of Penelope and Mr Jacob Rowe. Mrs Payson is Anne Phillips and Tom her son who appears to have made an unfortunate marriage! Mr and Mrs Moore are Grizey Phillips and Stephen Moore.

His Aunt Grizey was considered a socialite. She was living in Quebec when she married General Stephen Moore who, at that time, was a sea Merchant (owner of ships in the maritime trades). They were married by the Chaplain of the King's 10th Regiment on Dec. 25, 1768. Later they lived on the land where West Point is (it was owned by the Moore family and gifted to Grizey on her marriage to Stephen), in New York, and then they moved to Caswell Cty, NC where he built a plantation. Griselda had a brother named Thomas who also went to NC with them.General Stephen Moore was born October 30, 1734 in New York City, Colony of NY, and died December 29,1799 in Stagville (Fairntosh Farm), Person Cty, NC.

Hugh Finlay, married to Mary Phillips, also lived in Quebec. Mr Finlay must have been a great friend to the Phillips family. His daughter Anne was godmother to Williams children and mentioned in the Phillips Letters. Hugh's family name has been carried down to present generations of Phillips men living in New Zealand and Australia. The name was first given to William Finlay Phillips 1822, Frank Finlay Phillips 1863, Peter Finlay Phillips 1925 and Louis Finlay Phillips born 2001.

After the Peace was declared John appears to have gone into business principally at Newport, Rhode Island. On 14th November 1786 John married Rachel Levy in New York. Rachel was only 18 years old. Its unknown what type of business John conducted in Rhode Island. He may have been there because the Levy family were prominent businessmen in Newport, Rhode Island, although I have found no record of Rachel's father living in Rhode Island at this time.

His mothers sister Avis Engs Binney, married to Barnabas Binney did live in Rhode Island so this may have been a connection that drew John there.

It seems likely that Rachel and John met in Rhode Island or New York. Since she 18 and he 50 at the time of his wedding, it seems possible the marriage could have been arranged by her family.

John may well have met the Levy family while the Brisith army occupied New York. There is an Ebenezer Levy mentioned many times as doing business with Stephen Moore, John's brother-in-law. I have not been able to substantiate any family connection between this Levy and Rachel's parents to date. There was also a well-to-do Levy family in Quebec, whether these people were related is still unknown.

(There is also a legend that Rachel's relation Griselda Levy was married into the Phillips family. The Stephen Moore family of  NC have Griselda listed as an ancestor. This family descend from Grizey Phillips, Capt. John's sister. Currently there is no record of a Griselda Levy living anywhere )

 Rachel and John had four children between 1786 and 1793.
  1. John III 1787-53 born Rhode Island
  2. William 1789-49 born Rhode Island
  3. Anna Maria 1791- born NY
  4. Susan Angelique. 1793- born Quebec
John died in Boston at his brother-in-law Jacob Rowe's house,( Jacob was his sister Penelope Phillips husband), on 16th November, 1794, leaving Rachel with four very young children to care for.

Rachel Levy

The youngest daughter of Joshua and Hannah Levy, Rachel has four siblings.
  1. Hetty
  2. Isaac 1761
  3. Rebecca 1762
  4. Moses  1763
  5. Rachel 1768 - 1843

    Cick here to view this family tree online or to print a copy This information was found at the American Jewish Archives. Click here to visit this site.
    • Rachel Levy was born March 7th 1767
    • Married Capt John Phillips17th Nov 1786
    • Children from first Marriage: John, William, Anna Maria, Susan Angelique
    • Married Jacob Seixas Mendes Dec 18 1807
    • Children from second Marriage Edward, Angelina Cecilia, Adolphus
    • Death Feb 13th 1843 in Baton Rouge
    After the death of  her husband Capt John Phillips Rachel brought her children up alone until she married Jacob Seixas Mendes in 1807 and had three more children.  
    1. Edward 1799 -1871
    2. Angelina Cecilia 1807 -1880
    3. Adolphus 1809 - 1825
    It appears that Rachel and Jacob lived in New York until his death in 1821. Their son Edward's birth date is a little questionable but is the only one I can find. The Seixas Mendes family were are well known french family from Bordeaux living in New York. Once again like the Levy's their background appears to have been Jewish but its uncertain that they were still practising Judaism as the childrens names are English choices.

    After Jacobs death, Rachel relinquishes all rights to her husbands property in France, ceding her rights to her son Edward in the document shown here.

    After the death of her second husband Rachel seems to move around. At one point she was living on a farm in Bellevue, L'Ancienne Lorrette near Quebec with her sons William, Adolphus and daughter Angelina. She and her children are mentioned in letters written by William. ( Find these letters on the William and Henrietta Page.) Adolphus dies in November of 1825 aged 16 years and is mentioned in the letters.

    Rachel appears to have moved south, to live with her son John, possibly because the winters in Canada are very harsh on the elderly. Rachel dies in Baton Rouge Feb 13th 1843 aged 76.

    Rachel's elder son John III lived in the south at Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  His first wife Susan Sommers died  in Baton Rouge 1846 and he remarried in 1847 to Lucy Maria Woodruff. They had six children. John died in 1853 and Lucy remarried and had two more children to Phineas Fisher. After Phineas's death she married Samuel Fisher his brother. See John III Family Pages.

    William Phillips remains in Quebec as a Flour inspector and Grain merchant. He marries Henrietta Eleanor Stewart in 1821, they have 13 children. William and Henrietta remain in Quebec all their lives. See William and Henrietta pages.

    Anna Maria, born in New York 1791, marries Frank (Francois Michele) Languedoc in 1813, at the cathedral of Notre Dame in Quebec, they had one daughter Susan C Languedoc. They may possibly have had more children as they are mentioned in the Phillips Letters but not by name. Anna Maria has two conflicting death records.Ist is that she dies in St George, Canada in 1828. 2nd is that she dies in Quebec in 1836.

    Marriage of Frank and Anne Marie. Written in French Captain John and Rachel are mentioned in these official record of the couples marriage.

    Susan Angelique Phillips was born in Quebec 1793  marries RE Captain Mauley Dixon in 1814, after their marriage they sail off to England where he is stationed as a Royal Engineer. Sadly Susan dies in England, June 8, 1818. Her marriage records are shown in image below. I can only surmise that she died in childbirth.

    There is record of a branch of the Levy family in Quebec since the 1700's when certain Jewish families were brought there for the purpose of taking care of legal and financial matters. There is also record of the Levy family, merchant Charles E Levy living in a grand house at Sillery in the 1860's called Cataraqui, inhabited in the 20th Century by Catherine Rhodes, a Phillips connection through the descendants of Williams daughter, Maria Mclean Phillips. I have no evidence to confirm that Rachel Levy was connected to this family.

    There are also records the Seixas family in Rhode Island having business dealings with  a John and William Price. Cargo's to South America were jointly owned.
    It may just be a coincidence but the names Price, Seixas and Phillips all appear on this document. There is more research to be done here.