Marie Madelaine Philip or Marie Magdalaine Vigi Philip as it is usually written was the free coloured wife of the white French planter Francois Philip who arrived in Grenada with his two brothers Honore and Jean Pierre and at least one parent - their mother Catherine - sometime before 1760. At least two of the brothers were successful planters - Honore and Francois.
It is unclear when Francois married Marie Madelaine and where she herself came from - the use of the name “Vigi” suggests this was her maiden name. The couple were of the Catholic religion and legally married. It is quite possible they were married during the French interregnum on the island between 1776 and 1783. The couple had several children together and lived in the district of St John, Grenada. Up until his death Francois was both a Justice of the Peace and a Protector of Slaves. Archival documents also attest to the property the couple owned in St Lucia. In business transactions both Francois and his wife are mentioned as joint signees. It is unclear in the documents whether this infers an actual legal involvement in the financial affairs of their family for Marie Madelaine but it shows that she was an active engaging presence nonetheless. In a 1789 document she gave power of attorney to James Lair in her own right.
Although it is unclear what her age was, Marie outlived her husband by several decades. She is listed conducting business in 1807 on behalf of herself and “her late husband”. In her later life she moved to Trinidad.
Marie Madelaine Philip was the aunt-in-law of prominent planter Judith Philip and her siblings, the children of Francois’s brother Honore. She remained in contact with this branch of the family - certainly up to the second decade of the 19th century.
‘Marie-Magdalaine Vigi Philip to Henry Hilaire de Moussacq’, 01/27/1807, pp. 61-66, Deeds S4, Supreme Court Registry of Grenada (SRG).
Magdalaine Philip Gives Power of Attorney to James Lair’, 06/23/1789, pp. 153-158, Deeds Y1, SRG.
‘Indenture Between Marie-Magdalaine Philip and Henry Mousacq’ (for Francois Philip), 1807 pp.61-68, Deeds S4, SRG.
‘Philip Family Indenture’, 09/10/1785, pp. 49-64, Deeds K3, SRG.
Details of Catherine’s inheritance can be found at ‘Catherine Philip to the Heirs of Honore Philip Deceased’, 06/15/1786 pp.560-562, Deeds V1, SRG.
Details of the brothers, Jean Pierre and Francois’s donation to the heirs of Honore Philip see ‘Magdalaine Philip to the Heirs of Honore Philip’ pp.153-158, Deeds Y, SRG.
See also her entries in the Slave Registers T-71 501-506 Trinidad.
We are grateful to Kit Candlin for compiling this entry.
Name in compensation records
Marie Madelaine Philip
£44 4s 7d
Aunt → Niece
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