They were young and in love. He was Jerome Bonaparte, the impetuous youngest brother of Napoleon I, about to become Emperor of France. She was Elizabeth Patterson, the beautiful daughter of a rich merchant of Baltimore. At just 18, she had persuaded her father to let her marry the 19-year-old visitor from France. But Napoleon would not accept his brother's American bride, ordering him home. Jerome complied, sailing for France with his pregnant wife. Napoleon would not let her embark on French soil, but Jerome again obeyed his brother. He let his American wife sail away and raise their child alone.
Elizabeth "Betsy" Bonaparte began a line of American Bonapartes. Her great-grandson, Charles J. Bonaparte, served as Attorney General of the United States under President Theodore Roosevelt.