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May 2019 Program - Prince Achille Murat

posted May 2, 2019, 7:10 PM by Gayla Kittendorf
Portrait of Prince Murat from Florida Memory, State Archives of Florida

The Wakulla County Historical Society invites you to attend a program on May 14, 7pm, at the Wakulla County Public Library featuring a presentation on Prince Murat by Aurelia Aubert.

 

In the span of twenty years, Achille Murat, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, made the Wacissa area his home and the stage for his impressive list of successes and failures. This French immigrant, former prince of the Italian kingdom of Naples, arrived in Florida in 1826. He travelled around along the Gulf Coast, set up a plantation in Louisiana, tried himself at land speculation in Texas, and went back twice to Europe, but he always returned to Wacissa. There, Murat married a great-grandniece of George Washington. He became an influential member of the community as a cotton planter, lawyer, county judge, aspiring politician, officer in the Second Seminole War, a prolific writer, a director of the Union Bank of Florida, and president of the Wacissa and Aucilla Navigation Company responsible for the Slave Canal. Murat’s story, however, is also a tragic one. Within his twenty years in Florida, he owned close to one hundred enslaved people. And in spite of his multiple endeavors, he never became wealthy and, instead, died ruined by debts, and relatively unknown. In this presentation, I will explore Murat’s unique life and legacy, and even some of his oddities—he supposedly once boasted that he “never removed his boots from their first days use until they were worn out.”

 

Aurelia Aubert earned her Ph.D. in history at the University of Florida where she wrote her dissertation on Achille Murat. She is currently the associate director of the Richard J. Milbauer Program in Southern History at UF, and teaches history courses at Santa Fe College in Gainesville. She has presented her work at a number of academic conferences including the Southern Historical Association, the Florida Historical Society, the Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies, and the British American Nineteenth Century Historians’ Association. Starting in September 2019, she will be the McCormick Center Postdoctoral Fellow in Revolutionary Era Studies at Siena College in Albany, New York.

 

This program is free and open to the public.  We look forward to seeing you there.

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