Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte

A story which always intrigued me growing up in Maryland was the story of Elizabeth Patterson, a young Baltimore lady who married one of Napoleon's brothers. The Pattersons were one of the wealthiest families in Maryland, second only to the Carrolls. Like many old families of Maryland and Virgina, the Pattersons certainly deemed one of their daughters worthy of a Bonaparte; whether an upstart Bonaparte would be worthy of a Patterson was another story. In spite of being married by Bishop John Carroll, Jerome Bonaparte deserted Elizabeth. It was not entirely his fault; his brother Napoleon threatened him with poverty and exile. Jerome preferred his prestige as a Bonaparte prince to being with his beloved wife. At Napoleon's command, he married a fat German princess. Since the Bonaparte rule was short-lived, the sacrifice was for nothing. Elizabeth lived to be a feisty, rich old lady, full of stories of her naughty and handsome husband. She attempted to marry her son to a European princess, but Bo preferred a Maryland girl. Share

7 comments:

alaughland said...

Fascinating story. There is a tract of land in Baltimore named for the family and was made into a city park. Not knowing the origins I am assuming it was deeded to Baltimore by the Patterson family.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, I think it was.

Elisa said...

While I was in junior high, I read an old biography (published in 1958) about her titled "Bewitching Betsy Bonaparte" by Alice Curtis Desmond.
It's not a biography in the academic sense--it's written almost like a novel. Indeed it was a fascinating story!

elena maria vidal said...

I read that one, too. Long ago....

Gabriel Girl said...

I've heard about this! Haha, those American girls are sure full of charm ;-)

SF said...

And you've got to love a Maryland girl! :>

lara77 said...

Napoleon thought by marrying into Europe's nobility that heritage and class would rub off on him and his siblings:THAT was something that never happened. The great families of Europe always looked down their noses at the upstart Corsican. He could win the battles and carve out his empire but when it came to be seated at the dinner table he would never be "near the salt." The Bonapartes could never become a Bourbon or Hapsburg; too many centuries to try to catch up!