Thursday, April 2, 2009
Home of a Princess in Tallahassee, Florida
It is a little known fact that Tallahassee was the home of a French princess during the antebellum and Civil War eras.
Catherine Daingerfield Willis Murat, the Princess Murat, lived on Belleview plantation in Leon County, Florida, from 1854 until the time of her death in 1867. Even prior to that, however, she was a resident of Tallahassee and a distinguished member of international society.
The wife of Prince Achille Murat, a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, Catherine Murat was a great-grandniece of President George Washington. The couple traveled the world together and lived in Tallahassee, New Orleans, Europe and Jefferson County, Florida, until the prince's death in 1847.
By the time she purchased Belleview, a 520 acre cotton plantation, in 1854, Catherine was recognized as the Princess Murat by the court of Emperor Napoleon III of France and received financial support from the Empire. The charming little house on the plantation, typical of most plantation homes in North Florida, had been built in around 1840 and served as her home for the last 13 years of her life.
The home was relocated to the grounds of the Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science (formerly the Tallahassee Junior Museum) during the late 20th century and has been beautifully restored to its appearance and condition at the time of the Princess Murat's residence there. It can be visited daily.
For more information on the history of the house and to see additional photos, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/belleview.