Eliza Betsey Jumel

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Eliza Betsey Jumel (Bowen)

Also Known As: "de la Croix", "Burr"
Birthdate: (90)
Birthplace: Providence, RI, United States
Death: July 16, 1865 (90)
New York, NY, United States
Place of Burial: New York, New York, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Biological daughter of John Bowen and Phebe Kelley
Adopted daughter of Mrs. Thompson
Wife of Jacques de la Croix and Stephen Jumel
Ex-wife of Aaron Burr, Jr., 3rd Vice President of the USA
Mother of George Washington Bowen and Mary Eliza Bownes/Bonnes

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Eliza Betsey Jumel

Socialite. The penniless beauty Eliza Bowen acquired a life of luxury upon her marriage to Stephen Jumel, a wealthy French wine merchant who bought the elegant Morris Mansion for her in 1810. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, to a prostitute named Phebe Kelley Bowen and a sailor who had been her lover, the stigma of illegitimacy and life in the local poorhouse fired Eliza's obsession with wealth and social status, and she would later claim to have have been born on the high seas, the daughter of a French naval officer and his aristocratic English wife. Allegedly a former prostitute, she was shunned by New York society, but met with a warmer reception when the Jumels traveled to France. There she charmed Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, who bestowed various gifts upon her, including several pieces of furniture which may still be seen in the Morris-Jumel Mansion. The Jumels' marital affections ended long before their marriage, however, and her reputation became even more notorious when her husband died in 1832 and rumors persisted that she had deliberately let him bleed to death. Unfazed by public opinion, a year later the merry widow married Aaron Burr, the former United States Vice-President who was infamous for his killing of Alexander Hamilton. She sued Burr for divorce soon afterwards, however, claiming that he was a fortune-hunter. Although divorce was both rare and considered disgraceful by the standards of the time, she was more than accustomed to living with scandal. Reverting to her former married name, Madame Jumel lived in style until her death at age 90 in 1865. Her home, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, at Edgecombe Avenue and 160th Street, is a short walk from Trinity Cemetery. (bio by: Nikita Barlow)

  • Burial: Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum, Manhattan, New York County, New York, USA
  • Plot: Jumel Vault, Eastern section

A much longer and detailed biography can be found at: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nyotsego/mdmjumel.htm

Biographical Books:

DeMarrais, John “Madame Jumel Comes to Worcester” http://theusgenweb.org/ny/otsego/histsketchs/mdmjumel.htm

  • Hancock, Marianne Madame of the Heights: The Story of a Prostitute’s Progress Mt. Desert, ME: Windswept House, 1998

Macleod, Dianne Sachko “Eliza Bowen Jumel: Collecting & Cultural Politics in Early America,” Journal of the History of Collections 13 (2001) 1:57-75

Minnigerode, Meade Lives & Times: Four Informal Biographies; Stephen Jumel, Merchant; William Eaton, Hero; Theodosia Burr, Prodigy; Edmond Charles Genet, Citizen

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Eliza Betsey Jumel's Timeline

April 7, 1775
Providence, RI, United States
Age 14
Newport, RI, United States
July 16, 1865
Age 90
New York, NY, United States
July 16, 1865
Age 90
New York, New York, New York, United States