Princess Catherine Murat
A great-grandniece of George
Washington, Catherine was
the wife of Prince Achille
Murat of France.
Belleview: the Home of Princess Murat - Tallahassee, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Belleview in Tallahassee, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Belleview in Tallahassee, Florida
Belleview - Home of the Princess Murat
This modest Florida plantation house was the home
of Princess Catherine Murat from 1854 to 1867.
French Royalty in Florida
A Florida landmark preserved on the grounds
of the
Tallahassee Museum of History and
Natural Science offers modern generations
the unique opportunity to visit the home of a
princess.

Catherine Daingerfield Willis Murat, a great-
grandniece of President George Washington,
gained her status as royalty through her
marriage to Prince Achille Murat, a nephew of
Napoleon Bonaparte. When Napoleon III
declared an empire in France in 1852,
Catherine Murat was recognized as French
royalty and thereafter was supported by the
Emperor, in whose court she appeared in
person.

Prince Achille Murat fled to the United States
following the second exile of Napoleon and
eventually settled in Florida. He met and
married Catherine in
Tallahassee in 1826.
The couple lived in various places and
traveled the world together until Murat's death
in Florida in 1847.

Princess Murat purchased a 520 acre cotton
plantation on Jackson Bluff Road near
Tallahassee in 1854. The
Belleview house, a
modest Florida plantation home of the era,
was the centerpiece of the farm.

Built in around 1840, the frame house had
whitewashed interior walls and a detached
kitchen to rear. It is listed on the National
Register of Historic Places and is described
as an excellent example of "indigenous
Southern architecture."

Princess Murat lived at
Belleview until her
death in 1867. During that time, the farm was
witness to some of the greatest changes in
American history. Originally farmed by slaves,
the plantation was transformed during the
War Between the States and was worked
during the Reconstruction era by free African
Americans.

The house remained at its original Jackson
Bluff Road location in Leon County until the
20th Century when it was moved to its
present site as one of the earlier permanent
exhibits of what is now the Tallahassee
Museum of History and Natural Science
(once known as the Tallahassee Junior
Museum).
Beautifully restored to its original appearance
and condition, the home appears now much
as it did when it was the home of Princess
Murat. It now houses a restored parlor and
bedroom as well as exhibits interpreting life -
both slave and free - on the plantations of
North Florida.

The original kitchen of the house no longer
exists, but it has been reconstructed behind
the house to allow visitors to learn more
about 19th century cooking. A reconstructed
slave cabin also stands near the house to
interpret the life of antebellum slaves at
Belleview.

The home is located on the grounds of the
Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural
Science at 3945 Museum Drive, Tallahassee.

The museum is open to the public Monday -
Saturday. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sundays from
12:30 - 5 p.m. Price of admission is $9 for
adults, $8.50 for senior citizens and college
students with ID, $6 for kids 4-15. Kids 3 and
under are admitted free.

Please click here for more information.
Home of the Princess Murat
Belleview, the last home of
the princess can be seen at
the Tallahassee Museum of
History and Natural Science.
A Florida Plantation Home
Belleview was typical of the
unimposing homes found on
many Florida plantations.
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Copyright 2010 by Dale Cox
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