Monday, January 11, 2010

Madam Bonaparte in Lewes

Description: Madame Bonaparte's Visit to Lewes. An Anecdote
by Local Residents:

Date of Newspaper Issue: July 18 1888

Newspaper published in: Baltimore, Maryland

Page/Column: Across The Peninsula/ Patapsco to the Delaware:

Lewes, Del., Anecdote of Madame Bonaparte:

Madame Bonaparte, the first wife of Jerome Bonaparte, youngest brother of Napoleon Bonaparte of France, was the daughter of a Baltimore merchant. She was best know in America as 'Betsy', full name was Elizabeth Patterson. 'Betsy' lived to be 95 years of age.

This anecdote is related of the late Madame Bonaparte in relation to Lewes and vouched for by older residents who had received the story from respectable sources.
One her way to France from Baltimore, after her marriage to Jerome, the vessel she was aboard put into the Delaware and because of the poor conditions aboard Madame Bonaparte and other passengers demanded to be put ashore. On coming to land and when in the Lewes Creek, the small boat containing the Madame and the party, capsized. Lewes pilot, Shelby Hickman, swam safely ashore with her in tow. The Madame was housed at the residence of Thomas Rowland, where, as the story goes, she soundly berated her host for not having wax candles instead of the tallow dips in her quarters. When she was congratulated on her rescue and some pious consoler remarked if the Madame had not been saved she might have been in the wisdom of Heaven. The Madame replied. to the horror of her listeners, that she would "soon to be at the court of France than live in the Kingdom of Heaven".

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