Joseph Bonaparte (1768-1844)

Several years after the banishing of his family from France in 1816, arriving under vigilant disguise as the Count de Survilliers, Joseph Bonaparte, former King of Naples and Spain and brother to Napoleon I of France, purchased the Point Breeze Estate near Bordentown from American patriot, Stephen Sayre. He lived there for 17 years, entertaining guests of great fame such as Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and the future 6th U.S. President, John Quincy Adams. The residents of Bordentown nicknamed the Count, “The Good Mr. Bonaparte”. He built a lake near the mouth of Crosswicks Creek that was about 200 yards wide and half a mile long. On the bluff above it he built a new home, “Point Breeze”. The current Divine Word Mission occupies its former site along Park Street.

Today only vestiges of the Bonaparte estate remain. Much of it is actually the remains of a building remodeled in English Georgian Revival style in 1924 for Harris Hammon, who purchased the estate at Point Breeze as built in 1850 by Henry Becket, a British consul in Philadelphia. In addition to the rubble of this mansion and some hedges of its elaborate gardens, only the original tunnel to the river (broken through in several places) and the house of Bonaparte’s secretary remain. Many descendants of Joachim Murat, King of Naples, also were born or lived in Bordentown, having followed their uncle Joseph there. After the Bonaparte dynasty was restored by Napoleon III, they moved back to France and were recognized as princes.

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