Achille's Top Matches
About Achille Charles Louis Napoléon Murat
After Napoleon was exiled for a second time, Achille Murat sought exile in Austria in the castle of Frohsdorf, in Lower Austria. He eventually crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the United States. On his arrival in New York he made immediate application for naturalization. After a few months in that city, Achille made an extensive tour through the United States.
In 1821 he settled in a cottage in eastern Florida but in 1823 purchased an extensive property of 2,800 acres in St. Augustine. This property was converted to a plantation and named Parthenope after the ancient Greek settlement that eventually grew into the city of Naples. He was a member of the local enrolled militia and briefly a volunteer under his personal friend, Brigadier General Joseph Hernandez.
Murat lived in Tallahassee, Florida during Florida's territorial and early statehood days. During the early phase of the Seminole Wars, and for the previous three years, he was a lieutenant colonel of Florida’s militia and sometime aide to Brigadier General Richard Keith Call. Murat would retain the rank of colonel the rest of his life.
Around 1825, Murat bought the land he would call Lipona Plantation 15 miles east of Tallahassee. The name Lipona is an anagram of Napoli (Naples), the kingdom over which Achille was once destined to rule. His purchase of Lipona was probably due to the July 4, 1825 Lafayette Land Grant which gave Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette 36 square miles of what would be Tallahassee. This land grant also provided an opportunity for several French settlers who were acquainted with Lafayette to move to the area and restart their lives.
In 1824, Murat was elected alderman of the city, mayor in the following year, and in 1826 appointed postmaster, which office he held till 1838. In 1826, Murat met and married on July 12 at Tallahassee, Florida Catherine Daingerfield Willis Gray, without issue. Gray was the great-grandniece of George Washington. Murat and his wife moved to New Orleans where he lived for several years and worked as a lawyer. This move may have been in conjunction with the evacuation of several Frenchmen who found themselves without property after their deeds were deemed void.
While in Florida, Murat met and became good friends with writer Ralph Waldo Emerson. The two became close friends and enjoyed discussing topics of the day as well as politics, society, and history.
Of Murat, Emerson wrote:
“ A new event is added to the quiet history of my life. I have connected myself by friendship to a man ... with as ardent a love of truth as that which animates me, with a mind that surpasses mine in the variety of its research, & sharpened & strengthened to an energy for action to which I have no pretension by advantages of birth & practical connection with mankind beyond almost all me in the world.”
Following the July Revolution of 1830 in France, Murat returned to Europe and was briefly a colonel of the Belgian Legion. While in Belgium and France, he had hoped to regain some part of the family fortune that he believed to be his based on the properties of his parents. His attempts were futile and in 1834 the Murats returned to the Tallahassee area.
Murat enjoyed cooking and prepared items such as cow's ear stew, alligator steaks, and roasted crow. He slept on a Spanish moss mattress and spoke seven languages.
Murat died in 1847 at Jefferson County, Florida, and was buried at the St. Johns Episcopal Church cemetery in Tallahassee. His maternal first cousin Napoleon III of France provided his widow, Catherine D. Willis Murat, with a cash sum of $40,000 and an annual stipend so that she would live in a life she was accustomed to. Catherine died in 1867 and is also buried at the St. Johns Episcopal Church cemetery. The St. Augustine house where he lived briefly still stands at the corner of St. George and Bridge Street and is called the "Murat House".
In Tallahassee, the Bellevue Plantation (Florida) house, former home of Catharine Murat, is part of the Tallahassee Museum.
Achille, Royal Prince of Naples, 2nd Prince Murat's Timeline
January 21, 1801
Paris, Île-de-France, France
July 12, 1826
Tallahassee, FL, USA
April 15, 1847
Jefferson, Florida, USA
Tallahassee, Jefferson, Florida, USA