She was 94 at her death, of Irish and Scottish background, and said to be stunning to look at. To her friends and close ones in Baltimore, she was known as “Betsy”. She longed for the grandeur of European life, and felt she had the grooming and financial pedigree to be chosen in marriage to a Royal from the European aristocracy.
When Jerome Bonaparte came along, she had the “determination to possess” the unsuspecting brother of famous French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. The French ruler did not approve the alliance and had the marriage annulled.
She was born Elizabeth Patterson, one of many children of merchant prince of Fells Point Baltimore, William Patterson. The Patterson’s home was on South Street, near the Inner Harbor. Even though Elizabeth’s divorce was obtained in Baltimore, her son from the union was born in England; he later married an American. Royalty finally entered the Patterson/Bonaparte blood line when Elizabeth’s great granddaughter married a count.
In 1910 Charles Joseph Bonaparte lived across the street from the Maryland Historical Society on Park Avenue, and some 10 years later gave over 600 valuable objects: letters, silver and gold, and many belongings from Elizabeth’s life. She was born in 1785, and buried in the Greenmount Cemetery. , at North and Greemount Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland. Elizabeth never remarried, she took her melancholy to Greenmount. An exhibition of her life is at the Md. Historic through the winter.