1789 William and Henrietta

William Phillips I and Henrietta Eleanor Stewart

Born in New York, William Phillips I was the second son of Capt John Phillips II and Rachel Levy. He is known to have had dark curly hair and blue eyes.

 Capt John and Rachel Phillips children:
  1. John Phillips III 1787 - 1853
  2. William Phillips I 1789 - 1849
  3. Anna Marie Phillips 791 - 1828 (referred to as Mrs Languedoc or Maria)
  4. Susan Angelique Phillips 1795 - 1818 (Mrs Capt Dixon died in England)
Half Siblings (Children of Rachel Levy and Jacob Seixas)
  1. Edward Seixas 1799 - 1871
  2. Angelina Seixas 1807 - 1880
  3. Adolphus Seixas 1809 - 1825 (died young in Quebec)
William Phillips I

William's father, Capt John Phillips died when he was 5 years old. His mother Rachel Levy Phillips, remarried when he was about 18 years old. It is unknown where Rachel and her family lived between the death of her husband Capt John and her next marriage. Possibly they had returned to Quebec, Rhode Island or New York.

Rachel aged 39, married Jacob Seixas, a Frenchman from Bordeaux with connections in Rhode Island and New York. The Phillips - Seixas family lived in New York after the marriage in 1807. All three children were born in New York.  Jacob Seixas died in 1821 leaving Rachel a widow once again aged 53.

William's grandparents, John I and Anne Phillips, were both dead by this time, but there certainly were many Phillips Aunts and Uncles still living in Quebec, many of Williams cousins spending their whole lives there. Family connections with Mr Scott, Rowe or Finlay may have offered William opportunities there as a merchant as by 1808 William was working as a flour inspector, living in Quebec. William was 19 years of age.

The family lived on a farm at Bellevue, L'Ancienne Lorrette, outside Quebec after (and possibly before) Jacob Seixas death in 1821. William appears to have lived on the farm, as he later refers to items of furniture of his that he would like sent to his new marital home, in the letters listed below. The family including Rachel (Levy Phillips) Seixas, her children  Angelina and Adolphus and the children of her daughter (Anna Marie) Maria (Mrs Languedoc) lived at this farm until sometime between 1826 -29 when the Languedoc household moved to St George, La Prairie where Frank Lauguedoc worked as a Lawyer for Messers Merry and Co.


Rachel lived at Bellevue with her children.
William became a merchant and agent dealing in Flour, Grains, Rum and Sugar. In 1818 he was Inspector of Flour for the Quebec area.

Inspector of Flour 1808


William married on May 23 1821. Henrietta Eleanor Stewart, his bride, was the eldest child of Lawyer and Collector of Customs, Charles Grey Stewart. The Stewart family lived in a lovely house called Bijou near the Plains of Abraham. I will expand on this family and Mrs Stewarts family, the Mcleans, later, as this story is fascinating and may have connections to Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland!



Henrietta Eleanor Stewart 1802 -1875

In the letters copied below Henrietta writes of living in a dark and dingy place, not in the town, when they were first married. We hear of babies struck with whooping cough, meazles, asthma. Of children so ill they thought they would die, but being tough little creatures most of them survived. We hear of the death of their stepbrother Adolphus Seixas and their daughter Henrietta Phillips. Then in the letter dated 1831 Henrietta tells her sister-in-law that she now lives in a light and airy place. Their fortunes obviously increased by this time, she talks of servants, nurses for the babies, having the horses harnessed for her 6pm evening drives about the town. She also mentions all manner of housework, mending, digging, washing etc so it appears that life was never idle in a burgeoning family. Yearly pregnancies were awaited with desperate fear and trepdiation. She talks of surviving 'the terrible hour' to write again to her sister-in-law. She also mentions how much her sister Jane Price hated the ordeal and how worried their mother, Eleanor McLean Stewart, was for them both.


Henriettas house servant Thomas Plunkett came from the Childrens' friend Society, an organisation which took in orphans and trained them to be house servants and placed them in jobs.

Entry in Phillips bible showing Willams godparents.
Henrietta's sister Jane Stewart married William Price, an Englishman with interests in Lumber. William Price was Godfather to William Finlay Phillips, Henrietta's first born. Mr Price would go on to found an vast Lumber empire for future generations of his family in Quebec. William Price's name is still well known Quebec and to the north around the Saguenay. Today the Price family has divested itself of that Pulp and Paper business and flourishes in other areas throughout Quebec and Canada.


Image at top of Price Family at Wolfesfield. Image below is list of those present.
William Phillips granddaughter (Stretta) Henrietta Keane Bethune, daughter of his own daughter Maria (pronounced Mariah) MacLean Phillips Bethune, married William Price's younger son Edward George Price continuing the family connection.

William Phillips and Henrietta Stewart had 12 children.  9 lived to adulthood. Some childrens details are xpanded below list of children.
  1. William Finlay Phillips 17 March 1822 - 1866
  2. Charles Stewart b 7th June 1823 - 1868
  3. Henrietta Phillips 1824 - 1827
  4. Maria McLean Phillips 1826 -1901 (details below)
  5. Edward Dixon Phillips 1828 - 1901 (details below)
  6. Margaret Phillips 1829 - 1908 (details below)
  7. Eleanor Caroline Phillips 1831 - 1916 (details below)
  8. John Samuel Phillips 1832 -1836
  9. Henrietta Susan Phillips 1835 - (details below)
  10. Mary Charlotte Phillips 1836 - 1918 (unmarried)
  11. Isabelle Allsop Phillips 1838 - 1922 (unmarried)
  12. Emily Eliza Phillips 1840 - 1846
  13. Rachel Louisa Phillips 1842 -1909 (details below)
  14. Henry Strachan Phillips 1846 - 1849

5) Edward Dixon Phillips married Jane S Kiernan on the 7th of October 1851 their children are:

  1. Henrietta Augusta b 17th August 1852-1915 Mount Forest (unmarried)
  2. William Charles Edward b 5 April 1854 - 1903, Westmount, Montreal (unmarried)
  3. Edward Stark b 23 April - Vancouver (unmarried)
  4. Henry Stewart b 15 May1862 - 1866 drowned at Dundee as a child
  5. Arthur Frederick Ernest b 16 Nov 1869, married Martha Esplin Little, 1 Jan 1900 at Mount Forest (child; Avis Ruth Phillips b - d Vancouver (Pianist)(unmarried) Ernest Phillips d 23 May 1901 aged 31 after an operation for appendicitis at Winnipeg. Martha E Phillips d May 16th 1956.

6) Margaret Phillips b 1829 - 1908,  married  23rd Sept 1854, Percy Godfrey Botfield Lake, Lt adn Adjutant 54th Regiment, b - d 1899, their children are:

  1. Percy Henry Noel Lake 29th June 1855, married Hester F Woodyer of Grantham, Surrey, 1891. (no children) Lieut. General Sir Percy Lake KCB and KCMG d 16 Nov 1940, Victoria, Vancouver. Buried with full military honours. Lady Lake d Dec 1954, Victoria, Vancouver.
  2. Lancelot Charles (Sir) Lake  b 28th July 1860 - 1876 Chile, South America while tutoring children of H. F Price, (unmarried)
  3. Richard Stuart (Sir) Lake b 10 July 1860 married Dorothy Maria Schreiber Fletcher, daughter of James Fletcher (Dominion Botanist) and Eleanor Gertrude (daughter of Sir Collingwood Schreiber) 4 april 1910. (children: 1/ Henry James b 21st June 1911 married Joan Louisa Solomon, Perth Western, Australia, 10 July, 1939, children, Richard Wallace b 14th June 1940 (living in Seattle); John Stuart Henry b 24 August 1942. 2/ John Fletcher b 1st june 1914 married Catherine Wisnom, London, England, 3rd July 1942, child, David Lancelot b 27th March 1945-9 Oct 2009 ) d 25 April 1950.
  4. Mabel Katherine Lake b 6th Sept 1862, married William Harwood Belson, son of Rev. William Belson, 21st April 1897. (children: Katherine Clarimonde b 30 Jan 1898; Percy William b 23rd July 1900; Mable Katherine Belson b?- May 1940;
  5. Arthur Frederick Lake b 23rd July 1865 - 1889 London, England (unmarried)
4) Maria MacLean Phillips b 4 July 1826 - 1901 (75yrs)  married Stachan Bethune (b-d 1910 89yrs) 1845 and had children:

  1. Meredith Blenkarne Bethune b 1846 - 1907 (unmarried)
  2. Maria Stewart Bethune b 1848 married Rev. Lewis Evans, Later Deacon of Montreal (children: Basil ( 1 child) ; Trevor (1 Child);Muriel married Adam Hudspeth (children; 3); another child unmarried?
  3. Caroline Chester b 1850 married Lt. Col. the Honorable Keith Thornton Fetherstonhay of Up Park, Sussex (children: vis. Harry d young; Bartric (unmarried)
  4. **Henrietta Keane Bethune b 1852 married Edward George Price (children; six. See below)
  5. Emily Rankan Bethune b 1854 - 1890 (unmarried)
  6. Stachan Halliwell Bethune b 1856, married Elinor Rogers (Children: Strachan; Godfrey) d 1924
  7. Louisa Morland Bethune b 1859 - 1920 (unmarried)
  8. Geraldine Price Bethune (Tiny) b 1861 - 1921 unmarried.

**Henrietta Keane Bethune b 1852 - 1936 married Edward George Price b - d 1921 (son of William Price and Jane Stewart Price, Henrietta's Grandmother Henrietta E Phillip's sister) their children are:

  1. Gwendolen Price b - d married Lt Col. Guy du Maurier,Royal Fusiliers 'killed in action' France 1915
  2. Keith William (Sir) Price married Gertrude (children: David; Mary Morwenna; Micheal (child;Richard Harcourt Price, England(has 3 children))
  3. Aimee Price b-d Jan 1949, married Sir Reginal Sothern Holland d 1948 (children: Jim Sothern (children: Jennifer; Belinda); Guy Hope (children:Davina;Georgina)
  4. Dorothy Price b - d March 1959 unmarried
  5. John Price (Lieutenant R.N.)b - d Prisoner of War, Asia Minor19??, of influenza.
7) Eleanor Caroline Phillips b 1831 - 1916, married Philip Vavasour Robin b - d 1898, 1852 , their children are:

  1. Caroline Jane Robin b 1855 married 1st) Capt C.H. Sams, 64th Regt, d (Child: Arabella Hamilton, married Rev. Charles Inge (children: Caroline;William;Charles; Mary; Margaret) 2nd) Col. W.J. Inge, later RHA (no children)
  2. Philip Ernest Robin b 1854 married Kate Hogan 1874. Died leaving three children.
  3. James Robin b 1857- 1857 (6 months)
  4. William Mauley Robin b 1860 - 1866 (6 years)
  5. Vavasour Robin b 1862, married JC Reid 1893 (children: Philip 1894, Frances 1905)
  6. Charles Edward Robin b 1866- 1950 (unmarried)
  7. Claude Bethune Robin 1868 - 195?, married Naomi Molson (children)
9) Henrietta Susan Phillips b 1835 - 18??, married David Stark b - d 1894, in 1860. (no children)

13) Rachel Louisa Phillips b 1842 - 1909, married Lieut. William Ogle Carlile. R.A. b - d 1907, 1871. (no children)





Two views of one of the 13 Phillips Letters.


In 2006 I was invited to meet Stewart and Betsy Cowan, along with Micheal Price whom my husband Pip and I were staying with in the Eastern Townships of Canada.

Stewart Cowan, nearly 90, is a direct descendant of Charles Grey Stewart, Henrietta Eleanor Stewart Phillips father. Betsy, his wife, was interested to meet a member of the Phillips Family as she had translated the letters below from Old French into English.

The Cowan's had  little or no knowledge of their Phillips connection. They had inherited a bundle of  13 letters,some in French, written on fine parchment paper some complete with red wax seals. These letters were written by William and Henrietta Phillips to Maria and Frank Languedoc. The Cowan's had no information about the connection to these people or why they should have been passed down through their family.

These letters, written in and after 1822, give us a brief snapshot into the daily lives of William and Henrietta Phillips, the trails of parenting and childhood illness's, the death of Adolphus and other family matters.



From left: Michael Price, Julie Phillips Wood, Stewart Cowan, Betsy Cowan.
At right: Stewart Cowan.
 The Phillips Letters: Provenence: Stewart Cowan, Knowlton, Quebec. 2006; Translated by Betsy Cowan. Original copies currently held owner: Julie Phillips Wood, NZ

#2: Sunday 24th Nov 1822: To Mrs Languedoc, Lorrette.

 My dear Maria,

I send my servant out to bring in the Sitch bed as I cannot do without it in my kitchen. I will thank you to hand in also some sellery and he can bring a few handles of hay over all to keep the vegetables from freezing.

Have the goodness to send me my black cloth shoes and other things which were left in my chest of drawers.

Henrietta and the baby are quite well. Give our love to my dear Mother and Angelina and kiss the children for us. We would have gone out to Lorrette had my cabriole been fit to ride out in, but we will go out some time this week. We purpose walking out to Mrs Stewart by and by. Mrs S continues the same, she is tolerably well – but- ? John is with her in case of need.  

‘Your affectionate brother

 William Phillips

#3: Tuesday : To Mrs Languedoc: Lorrette.

 My dear Maria

I was very sorry to hear, yesterday, that you felt so unwell as to be under the necessity of sending in for Doctor Morrice. He could not go out in consequence of Mrs Holts indisposition – but he now leaves town for that purpose and ere you receive this I hope that the pain you have suffered will be entirely removed. Henrietta would have gone over to see you but as I could not possibly accompany her- She cannot trust to the man’s driving over these bad roads and besides Mr and Mrs Davidson are at our house –We both wish you heartily well. I saw John who returns from the Saguanay yesterday. He was with Valiere. Saw Languedoc and left him in perfect health on Thursday last- He was waiting for a schooner which I had send down with effects and would return in her. I therefore expect him daily- and when he comes he can have my horse to go out to Lorrette with....Excuse this hasty scrawl - Give our best love to our dear Mother, Angelique, Kiss the children and believe me

Your dear affectionate Brother

William Phillips


#4 Undated: To Mrs Languedoc, Bellevue

 My dear Maria,

I thank you kindly for your present of Puddings and I shall eat upon them tomorrow. Martel takes a letter from our Aunt to my mother, with half a dozen cheeses – I am going to send them, in return for the half dozen she sent to us, a parcel of sweets – which I bought on market this morning.
I am obliged to your for you inquiring about the children. I have not been over since Sunday (the steam boat having stopped running ) but Henrietta writes me this morning that they are both very well- with the exception of William, whose teeth plagues him still – Sometimes in eating he will throw his bread from him in a rage and put his hand to the mouth, thinking it is the bread that occasions his pain. They both had colds and a little soreness in the eyes but nothing like serious. Henrietta is very well. I hope my mother, Angelina and your dear children are all well. Kiss them all for me and believe me

My dear Maria
Your affectionate Brother

William Phillips

I have not received one line from Languedoc this month past, tho I wrote twice to him, on a subject that required an immediate answer


#5 Undated : To Madame Languedoc, Bellevue, Ancienne Lorrette

 My dear Maria,

I have so much flour to import this morning that I cannot attend your auction. I am sorry for it, as I dare say it will be a piece of acting on the part of Mr Fleet well worth the attention of amateurs- In order to assist and add to the perfectability of the auction, I sent you a parcel of old clothes and boots- which Mr Fleet may dispose of to the best advantage he can for ready money.

You must of course offer the horse at auction, I’ll buy him for me for $9.00 but no exceeding that- I will give $4.00 for your cow. Buy me the roaster, your commode and bedsteads- If you think that my cupboard in the dairy is good enough to put pots and pans in the corner of our kitchen you may keep and sent it to town as Henrietta wants something for the

The ‘Richelieu’ is down but have no stateroom, Mrs Fremont and family go up on her on Saturday night, Capt Richardson says he can accommodate you all. The Quebec and Chambly will go up at the same time and the Lady Sherbrooke on Thursday therefore take your choice . You will of course come to our house, we shall be able to give accommodations to you all.

I have put your portable chest in my office and your other things are safe in my store, with my love to all.

I am Dear Maria

your affectionate Brother

William Phillips.

I wish you much success with the auction you had better sell everything with out to the limits, for the plough- wood-………us by keeping these they will give more trouble than they are worth.

#6 Saturday 7th August : To Mrs Languedoc

 My dear Maria,

I cannot get a man to send out to Lorrette. It is fitter for Martel to hire one for a month at 10 shillings than get a stranger. You may desire him to hire one for Monday and I shall pay him. Its is “firsthave” ,the hay should be got in without a lot of time. I am returned from St Mary’s this morning If I possibly can I shall go out to see you tomorrow.

With compliments to my Mother

I am you affectionate Brother

William Phillips


#7 Saturday 22nd August: To Mrs Languedoc

 My dear Mrs Languedoc

 I take up my pen to acknowledge the receipt of your letter to William by Mr Murry who dined with us yesterday. Who told me he was afraid he would not have time to write to you this evening I thank you for your kind inquiring and wishes. I am better than I were expected to be after I may say five months of illness I am the happy mother of the finest little girl I ever saw. She is only eighteen days old and you would take her for a child of six weeks old. She is the picture of William, dark curly hair and blue eyes and as fat as she can be. I was up and going about the 4th day and have been well ever since except yesterday and today I think I must have caught cold. I have a sore ….. and have to wear a greasy pancake on it. I hope it will not be anything serious. The night I was confined as soon as I was put into a bed I had a violent fevering, they were obliged to keep me as cool as possible, all the windows open. The next morning I was attacked with a kind of cholera…….but Dr Forgues sent me something that fortunately put a stop to it. I was so spent I thought I should have died. I had only poor Mrs Bruce and the Cr with me when I was confined Mrs Bruce only left me the other when my nurse came home as I could not get her before. I shall never forget her kindness. My poor little Maria suffers very much from the hoping cough she has it violently. Little Edward has it very badly but does not take his breath as poor Maria does. We get no ……with them especially poor William. Maria sleeps with him and he is up almost all night with her every time she coughs, she is sick at her stomach it is really a dreadful thing. I am so thankful that William and Charles have had it.

 Jane Price and the three boys are well, she is very weak nursing her little Richard Charles. Papa and Mama are well and all the family except for poor Anne who is not better than she was last summer. Poor Aunt is getting better. The whole family joins in kindest regards to you, all my love and kisses. I can hardly see to write I have such a headache and my hand shaking so what would I give to see you all if it was only for a day have you anything to prevent you coming down to spend some time with us

Your affectionate sister

H. Phillips

#8 Friday 20 May 1825: To Mrs Languedoc

My dear Maria,

The wheat which I have in store is not my own therefore I cannot sell it. I have sent Martel to Mr White for flour. I am not sure that I should go out on Sunday to Lorrette but you need not, as all “evenly”send for Angelina – because if I cannot go and she wishes to return Charles Stewart will drive her out. Mr Price is not arriving but we expect him on Sunday. We are all well in the country and send our best love to your, the children and my mother.

Yours most truly in haste
William Phillips
Martel has got flour from Mr White W.P.

 #9 Quebec, 21st June 1826 To Mrs Languedoc

 My dear Mrs Languedoc

 Your very welcome letter I received on Saturday and am happy to hear that you are all in good health I was beginning to think you had forgot me, however now I hope we will be better correspondants for the future, I know that I have hitherto been a very bad on I am sure Angelina must feel quite angry with me but if she knew how much I am taken up one way or another she would make allowances for me, living in town you are in constant dread of visitors and must be constantly on the go to see that everything is in order and you know that my good man is rather particular and I have been obliged to send William to school to keep him out of the way for really he almost turned my head, he is so wild and noisey but at the same time an affectionate child.

He generally has a crying spell in the morning before going and in the afternoon he goes off on his own accord his brother always wants to go with him and I have great difficulty in keeping him at home. Almost everyone who sees him thinks him like Edward (Stewart) but I think him the image of poor Adolphus and asks so may questions about him. Henrietta has been in the country since Sunday, she continues to mend and can walk a few steps alone. She has but four teeth and I hope she may not get anymore before the hot weather is over, I dread her getting them so much. We have had Mre Wells staying with us for a few days. He left us on Thursday last (between ourselves) I think him a Irrascable man and he thinks that this world was made for him alone and I really think he hates children, he never said a kind word to mine and was not five minutes in the house before he threatened to flog them. I cannot imagine how Reanse manages to live in the same house with him. Mrs Sutherland has just been here, she tells me that Miss Finlay is going to Montreal in a few days. I have not seen Miss Finlay these past three weeks past and had not heard of it before. Jane is getting quite strong again but she has been a martyr to sore nipples. Sunday was the first day she was able to have her stays on or anything almost that was tight as one of them festered so you may think how she suffered. I think altogether she may pray not to have any more children she has suffered so much with this one. She is still at Mama’s but is to leave it the day after tomorrow to stay at Hamels. The little boy is to be taken to church and made a Christian of Tomorrow. I think it is hight time as he will be then six weeks old and he looks like a child of six months I never saw such a large child as he is. Prices nephew’s leg did not require to be reset and he now can walk on crutches but he as had sever attacks of asthma. He is a remarkable fine boy and very handsome, his name is Francis Van Thaytherjsin he is going out to Hamels with Jane. Papa, Mama, Jane, Bella all desire to be kindly remembered to you all I was there on Sunday and told them I had a letter from ……..Ann still suffers a great deal from ears but I think the lumps she used to hos ?? under, are much smaller and will go ????.

We have had hot dry weather with the exception of yesterday and it was really cold it had a strong sea gale and we all expected rain the least sign of it. The country wants it very much before out of doors used to be so green and now there is hardly a vestige of grass. You ask me when I expect an increase to my family, I hope before this day month to be able to write to you and tell you all about it if the almighty spares me I can not bear to think of it. I dread it more than I ever did, the weather will be so hot I have even now my old cramps and it is a misery for me to sit down to write so you must excuse this scrawl,

Last night I had only closed my eyes I try to think of my approaching illness so little as possible for I cry when I do. I am so much alone I would willingly fly from it, but that is impossible so all I can do is pray though to the almighty for the courage and patience to bring me through that dreadful hour. Mama and my sisters do not know when I expect. They think it will be the latter part of the month but I have made up my mind that it will be the beginning but do not wish Mama t know for she has heart trouble enough with Jane. I have written to Angelina, remember me kindly to Mr Languedoc, kisses to the dear children and believe me your affectionate Sister

H Phillips

I do not see William from Daylight until noon, then until ten or eleven at night. His eyes have been very weak.

#10 Quebec 12th May 1827 To Frank Languedoc Esq: St George

 c/o Tell Raymond Esq: La Prairie
My dear Languedoc

 I have just time to say that we have had the misfortune of losing our dear little girl Henrietta. She died, dear Angel, on Thursday at one oclock in the day and is to be buried at one o’clock today. She will be resting alongside of poor Adolphus, you can better judge of my poor Henriettas feelings and mine than I can describe, poor Mother(Martha) is inconsolable. She will write to my mother in a few days and give all the particulars, My good mother and you all will participate in our affliction I am sure.

My love to them and kiss the dear children for us.

The boys and little Maria are all well.

Yours faithfully in haste

William Phillips

#11To Frank Languedoc Esq: St George

 Messeurs Merry and Co, La Prairie, Quebec 21 Nov 1829

My dear Languedoc,

I received your favors of the 27th Oct and gave instructions to Mr Larongeur to comply with your desires. I am happy to hear that my dear Mother, Maria, Angelina and all the family have enjoyed good health all summer and continue well.

It is not so with us. Our children have all been sick, first with the whooping cough and next the measles of a most malignant kind. John and Robert Stewart were given up for two days, they are now ever quite out of danger now and recovering fast. Our William was also given up but is getting better, Charles got over them without much difficulty. Maria wasting ill but not dangerously. Her face is very much swollen and she still coughs a great deal but nothing serious. Edward, poor dear, is very ill indeed, his is a dreadful complication, whooping cough, measles and teething, cutting several large grinders, he is reduced to a mere skeleton by a burning fever continually feeding on him, he is far from being our of danger, we have to watch him day and night without intermission lest he should suffocate, he breathes with th greatest difficulty and is in continual state of suffering. God grant that he recovers.

The baby with a complication of all these diseases and coughing from day to night is getting fat and thriving a the expense of poor Henrietta, who is worn out with fatigue and anxiety.

Enough of the Hospital, give our love to dear Mother, Maria and all the family and believe me my dear Frank

Yours faithfully William Phillips

Ps I shall be more at leisure now and will write oftener.

#12 Quebec 11 August 18:
My dear Mrs Languedoc,

Your Mama wishes me to write you a few lines to tell that she means to take her departure next week for Saint George. I cannot prevail upon her to pas the winter with us. She is in very good spirits but suffers a great deal with rheumatism. She desires me to say that it is likely she will prevail upon Mamma to go up with her as Marianna expressed a wish to go up and see you this summer. She was well enough, she has been very……….?? Is yet very far from being well. She has a dreadful cough, I think the pleasure she would have seeing you, the change of air and scene would contribute greatly to a recovery.

Papa says he would give anything to go up but cannot spare enough time. I wrote a letter to Angelina the week your Mama arrived. It was given to Mrs Alesop to put into the Post Office. I hope she did not forget to do so and that you received it, do write and say how you all are.

I see that your Mother is uneasy not hearing from you since her departure. If Marian does go up what will prevent you coming down with her and Angelina who Anne wishes to spend the winter with her. I really begin to think that you do not wish to come and see us. I think if I was in your place I would not have a second thought about it. I would just pack up my portmanteau and leave for if you begin thinking of all you have to do, there is an end of it, at least I find it so.

You will find plenty of time to settle all your matters for the winter when you go back, your Mamma tells me you are not at all well, that is another reason why you should leave home for in my opinion (and William says I have a good one of my own) there is nothing worse than staying too much at home and continually thinking of your household affairs, children etc. I know by my self when I used to stay continually at home mending, patching, turning and twisting everything in the house I used to be dull and lowspirited, heavy and unfit for anything but a house drudgery if I may use the expression.Now I have changed my plans, go out a great deal, see my friends now and then and every fine evening order the wagon at six for a drive. I find my health improved I am livelier and I flatter myself looking younger then when I used to stay moping at home afraid that all would go wrong if I went out and of a fine evening would rather stay at home and punish myself than take a man from his work to drive me, now I insist upon their being ready at the hour, work or no work to do as I consider my health of much greater consequence than neglecting a weed or dig a small piece of ground or some trifling thing of that nature, excuse this scrawl I am writing with my baby on my knee as the housemaid is ill and nurse has to take her place today. She is a fine baby, your Mama is delighted with her. William is just as fond of her as he is of the others now she is such a dear little interesting creature. I had her vaccinated yesterday. Your Mamma joins me in love and affection to you, Angelina, Mr Languedoc and the children.
William has a great deal to do this summer, he enjoys very good health. It is quite a recreation to him to breathe the fresh air after his days work, indeed we live in a delightful airy place, what a change from that horrible place we lived in before (da burn) this my dear Mrs Languedoc I am afraid you will not be able to make out.
In haste believe me.
Your affectionate Sister
H Phillips
I forgot to say we called on Mrs Catte and ………….. been very ill and was blistered on the chest Mrs Languedoc was not well and was laying down. Miss L was out H C P

#13 (this is letter I am working on currently so is incomplete )
Quebec 18th November 1833: To Mrs Languedoc, La Prairie

 My dear Sister,
You must think me a very strange being not to have answered your affectionate letter sooner, the truth is that I did write to you two months ago to tell you how glad I was that Jane had a fine stout boy and that my brother Charles had arrived from George ……..very much improved in his looks and behaviour and every prospect of his continuing to.
My letter did not get through Sickenings, house cleaning, preparing Childrens cloths for Winter took up all my time I began two or three to write to you was interrupted and through them aside........their this fortnight I have been miserable.
Poor unthinking Charles had commenced his old career road I am afraid will never do any good as Stewarts not in Quebec may resent advice from him . He has made poor Anne quite ill she keeps in bed . He is vain headed and eans in debt and poor Papa, the sufferer, breaking him down fast, god know what is to be come . Pray do not say on word of this to any one Charles went to school today for first time these ten days as he had a violent attack of Croup we had to send in the night for Dr Frangeur indeed it is going through the family they are all better Thank God, but Caroline and Francis today are so hoarse a hard wind pipe cough and sore throat I hope it will not turn to croup. Your can figment yourself our many anxious nights I have spent and I and still more anxious about your brother, He writes not enough even of himself . He says …..cannot long up the Navigation chess he had a osaaofante cold on his chest and I think he had then asthma, cold nights he hardly sleps any, I get P……s be t. him work most to day ………

I am far from well myself what would I give if ....Unfinished transcription

The End of the Phillips Letters.


William Phillips Flour Merchant

William's leatherbound journal from Merchant business contains copies of the letters of his transactions with clients giving us an insite into his daily commerce. The countryside between Montreal and Quebec was a huge grain growing area in the early 1800's. The rich agricultural lands of the south shore below Quebec, spawned industries such as brewing, distilling, and flour milling. Quebec’s principal economic asset being its port, the main activity of  merchants like William was the import-export trade with Britain and the West Indies. William's fortunes rose with his appointment as a Flour Inspector and as trading in the area increased. He dealt chiefly in grain and flour, trading this along with rum, sugar, horses and all manner of goods needed by his clients on whose behalf he traded. Often holding clients produce in his stores until he could get a better price for them.

Translations provided from William Phillips Journal by Wendell Craig Phillips in his book the Family of Phillips ( 2003) 

Page 1 : James Forsyth and co. Quebec 28th June 1830

I have received your extended favour of 10th April and 10th July, the former on the 7th inst. covering the bill of lading for 15 puncheons of rum to my consignment with a jar and case of sweetmeats for the Hon: James Cuthbert of Berthier, the latter on the 17th to the port of Spain, including also bills of lading for the 5 puncheons of rum consigned with me with a hogshead of rum and a cask of sugar for the above Gentleman. All of which have been received in good order, with the letter of instruction from the Hon:George Cuthbert, the entries for New York were forwarded by mail on the 17th.

Owing to the unusually large importation of rum from the West Indies and Halifax this spring, prices have fallen and few sales, making the buyers holding off in expectation of a further decline. I have therefore stored rather than accept present rates, which I hope improve by the time the Horses ordered out by Mr C but are being shipped in September or October.

I take note of your valuable remarks on Sundry availablity of Produce which I would willingly avail myself of, if I were of the habit of Shipping on my own Account, but confining myself exclusively to a commission and agent fees.
William Phillips

Page 2. Hon: George Cuthbert


I have had the honour of receiving your favours of the 5th April and 4th May, the former by the Orleans, with 15 puncheons of rum on conisgnment with two small packages for the Hon:James Cuthbert and letter by Port of Spain with 5 puncheons of rum on consignment, a hogshead of rum and a barrel of sugar for the above Gentleman.

The whole shipped by your agent at Kingston, Messers James Forsyth and Son. Your letters to Mr Cuthbert by both conveyances were forwarded to Berthier. From the unusally great importation of rum this spring,(upwards of 5000 puncheons, being 3400 more than imported at this time last year) the price is low and it is next to impossible to effect sales. As you have recommended the shipment of your horses to be made in October, it will give me ample time to realize. I have therefore stored the rum until more favorable opportunity offers for selling. Mr Cuthbert has informed me you have recommended the Bishop of Jamaica to make a consignment of rum to me for a return in horses. If his lordship should see fit to do so, he may rely on every attention being paid to his orders. In the event of any of the following articles being wanted for the supply of your estates. I beg leave to refer the prefixed quotations, and remain honourable Sir,
Most respectfully, Your Obedient Servant,
William Phillips.

Also found are logs of day to day intentions and promises.

October 19th 1830 Quebec

Wrote to I T Drollet handing him my Prom. Note for 250 Pounds due at 3 months for the purpose of having it discounted so that he could have the proceeds here in time so that he could take up my note. Returned his noted for the same amount which could not get discounted in Quebec, mentioned that there was an error in the drawing H instead of I and also returned his draft on me in favour of Mr Shaw, becuase his name is not the same as inserted in the body of the draft. Its is Joseph S Shaw and not I Stowe Shaw. Begged that he would use another note for Mr Shaw intead. The amount of 360 pound 6 shillings and 9 pence. With interest if you have to pay it. I shall charge you with the difference having paid it. Acknowledged his favour of the 15th and quoted prices of rum as follows 2/8d for 1 to 4 1/2 months and2/7d for 1 to 6 months credit endorsed notes 3 shillings interest.

Wrote to Joseph Cartier enclosing his a/c current showing him a balance in my favour of 268 pounds. Acknowledged his letters of the 13th adn 15th and referred him to what I had all ready written upon the subject of your application for rum.

Wrote to E. Soupras advising him that Richard would not willingly come down for a cargo for him being pretty engaged with Mr Frauchues but that nonetheless he promised to take his oil, furs and fish, but not having called, I think he has gone up an dso has broken his word. Advised him that he should wait for his own batteau.

Wrote to H Malliot advising him of my letter of the 11th inst. Which he has not replied to, and in consquence have countermanded Mr Shaws offer for any further quantity than the 1000 minots agreed for.

Wrote to Judge Minah acknowledged receipt of 44 barrells of apples at Waterloo, three of which I shall ship for Halifax as addressed to his brother Hue, and if the 20 barrells of fish are not disposed of before that time I shall ship that also as directed in former letter.

Mr James Sharp: Quebec 24th November 1830

At the request of Mr Norman Miller, late Captain of your Brig the SCOTIA, I beg leave to hand your enclosed duplicate papers and documents relative to the loss of that vessel upon Point Betuanastis on the Ist Inst. Together with 2nd of sequestier and lading bill on London for 91 pounds sterling. Being balance of shop and cargo. Capt. Miller sailed yesterday in the Cambria for Gallway. He takes home the original finals and first of the bill. I hope that his safe arrival in Limmerick in making use of these papers. Every Praise is due to him for his activity and executions in saving what he did from the wreck and saving the lives of his crew. From my personal knoweldge of the shoals upon which he was wrecked it required great presence of mind and perserverance in accomplishing what was done.
Having supplied Capt. Millar with his outward cargo upon as good if not better terms that he could procure elsewhere. I beg very respectfully to tender you my services in this port, being intrusively in the DEAL trade as agent for Several County Mills, I can at all times supply your ships with first, second and third qualities of pine and spruce, both floated and bright on as good terms to some of the most intrusive houses here in that trade. Capt. Millar has seen my sales and contacts and I refer you to him for particularizing.
I am also much engaged in the grain trade and have always larger supplies of wheat, pease barley, oats, rye, and linseed on hand that I can sell very low coming first hand, referring to the Quotations at foot.
I am Sir, Very respectfully yours
William Phillips

1st Quality Pine :    8 pounds per 100 Standard
Ist Quality Spruce: 7 pounds per 100 Standard

William petitions for the incorporation of the Quebec Exchange in 1830
William Phillips local director for Bank of  British North America in Quebec 1836
Members of Legislative and Exective Council  - William Phillips and William Price.


William was with his Uncle Thomas Scott (married to Aunt Mary Phillips) when he died and became the curator of the Scott estate. Thomas Scott owned 20,000 acres of land in the Durham area. It appears that Thomas and Jane Scott were not survived by children.


William oversees Thomas Scott's estate but after William's death his sons petition to sell off or change the title of the Scott Estate. This began a series of legal cases to prove ownership of the Scott properties. A letter regarding this matter came to light in 2008 in the family papers of Michael Price of Montreal and is copied below. There was a well documented court case brought by William F Phillips, William's son after his death to this effect. Edward Dixon Phillips also appears to have made a similar petition in the 1873.


Petitions to secure title of Thomas Estate at Durham
Durham June 10th 1842
The holders of Scotts land in this town demand it necessary to take the opinion of council on the bonds which are given by you - that opionion being that they are the best title that can be given under existing circumstances all parties seem to be satisfied and to think that to pay interest upon the purchase money was better adapted to the present state of the town than to be required to jog the principal - to this I have no objection but one and that is the payments of the interest for the land when I did not occupy it, being told so far as regards the place on which I have that the person of whom I bought it had paid up the back interest - I wish therefore to ask if you will allow me to pay as soon as is convenient interest during the time that I have held the land and require no more.
I would very much prefer a regular conveyance of the land, if this could be done, but if not and the offer I have made you cannot be accepted then as the land hold is not of much value I shall be disposed to sell my interest in it - waitng your reply

I am sir
Your ob't servant
David Dumhurly

page 3
NO 2 School House Durham
That from the opinion of Council which has now been read. We believe that bonds given by Mr Phillips to be perfectly good titles whereby to hold and sell the lands belonging to the vacant estate of the late Thomas Scott - also the the claims made upon the holders by Mr Phillips are just.


In 1838 William Phillips had purchased 50,000 acres of land in Quebec.  His brother Samuel also owned land. Most of the names of associates we see at weddings and funerals of the Phillips family owned large areas of land in the provence.  These were the Dunn, Finlay, Scott, Allsop, Price, Stewart families

Record of 50,000 acres in Quebec
In the 1830's the William Phillips family moved to a large house built for them in the St Louis suburb of Quebec city, by a well known architect of the time. Situated on lot 4409, the long section runs from Rue Bertheldt to Rue La Chevrotier. This house is mentioned in a letter from Eva La Belle to Wendell Phillips dated June 27th 1923 as follows. See this letter copied below.



Copy of letter dated : Vancouver June 27th 1923 regarding the Phillips estate

To Wendell Phillips from first Cousin Eva La Belle,
Eva was the daughter of Emily Eleanor Sophy La Belle (nee Phillips), who was sister to Frank Finlay Phillips, Wendell's father.

Dear Wendell,
Of the immediate family there are but a few left on dear Mother's sides and your dear Father's side. Sir William Price and his family. His sister who is an old maid and is living on the old Phillips Estate, a magnificent old home in Quebec. It has been in the family for many years. General Wolf once owned it Cousin Cecilia Price took me all around. Its immense. How I enjoyed it. Aunt Bella Phillips died two years ago. She had left dear Mother some money, but we couldn't get it. It went back to the estate. I got a lawyer in Quebec but failed to get anything. Sir W. Price is exceedingly wealthy. He owns many paper and pulp and lumber mills. In England we have only Lady Turner, first cousin of dear Mother's and your dear Father and here we have General Sir Percy Lake and Lady Lake and Sir Richard Lake and their sister Mrs. Colonel Belson, all reside in Victoria, B.C. If there is anything else Wendell that you want to know. Oh! the family crest. I have forgotten, we had some silver with it, its a horse, bit I can't say just what it is. I'll ask cousin Mabel, she knows.

Enough for this time. All our family are well and join me in sending love.

(Dear Paul, Amongst old papers I unearthed this letter, Its contents may be of interest as a guide of the stock you come from. Pop)

The contents of this letter has led me on a journey to find this large house mentioned. Eva was confused as Wolfe never owned a house here. He died on the Battlefield in 1759 when the English beat the French on the Plains of Abraham.  The Phillips house is built on the northern side of the Grande Allee. Recently a Phillips cousin living in Toronto, Micheal Skutezky, mentioned he knew the house from his childhood. This enabled me to narrow my search to a certain area. I found the map showing the property to be owned by Mrs Phillips in a land Atlas for Quebec city dated 1850, the year after William's death. Ainsley Stephen, also a Phillips descendant living in Montreal, mentioned that her mother or aunt had been to the house and said it was large and full of antiques. When the last spinster daughter, Bella Phillips died in 1821, family were encouraged to take whatever they wanted.



I also have record of Isabella and her sister Charlotte living at 44 Rue Saint Genevieve in 1818 so I am unsure whether the spinsters lived in the family home during the last years of their life or the smaller stone house. Mrs Martha Price owns a similar house on the same street where I was lucky enough to stay  Christmas 2007. These attached row houses of grey stone, were built in the 1800's on three levels with a basement cellar. Built to last and now preserved for all time, these houses lie in the historic area inside the city walls, deemed a World Heritage Site.

copy of census
Detail of Endowment board showing Mary Charlotte and Isabella Alsopp Phillips names .

Endowment board at Anglican Church in Quebec listing parishoners who left money to the church.


The Phillips Burial Plot at Mt Hermon, Sillery.
The images below were taken at the Mt Hermon Cemetry at Sillery, Quebec. They are the graves of William and Henrietta Phillips. The page of names lists other members of their family who are buried in different areas of the Cemetry. The thin iron cross was unmarked. The plot is 5o metres from the Price Plot where Jane Price, Henriettas sister is buried.


Henriettas death notice 1875

William and Henriettas cross at left.

Left: unnamed iron cross next to Williams. Looked very old. I wondered if this was perhaps his grandparents marker moved from the city. 
Right Phillips listed as interred at Mt Hermon.



I placed Henriettas portrait on her grave stone.