In April of 1837 the King of France sailed into Galveston aboard the United States revenue cutter Campbell. His Majesty was officially greeted by the secretary of the Texas Navy, Samuel Rhoads Fisher.
A few days later he visited the glorified campsite that was the capitol at Houston, where he met with President Sam Houston.
The mud and muck didn't bother the king. He was an avid hunter and a fine horseman. He was also quite the artist. While in Texas he made many sketches birds and animals, at the same time taking copious notes on their habits and habitats.
These were studies for his large scale paintings, which where later engraved and published in two monumental books: Birds of America and Quadrupeds of America.
These books bore not the name of Louis XVII, but the Anglicized version of the one he was raised under in hiding, after his parents went to the guillotine: John James Audubon.
Audubon's 'official' biography has him born in Haiti to French sea captain Jean Audubon and a creole woman who died soon after his birth. Captain Audubon then, supposedly, took his young son to France to be raised by his wife (it would seem Mme. Audubon was a tolerant woman.)
Even during his life time there were rumors as to his true parentage, which Audubon neither confirmed nor denied. His journal adds fuel to the fire with references to his "high birth", his "noble nose" and his resemblance to "not my adopted father, but my own father."
In one journal entry he writes about walking the streets of Paris, "dressed as a common man, bowing and asking permission to this or that. I, who should command all!"
In another entry he says, "Versailles is truly a magnificent place; how long since I have been there, and how many changes in my life since those days."
In a dramatic letter to his wife, he writes that he, "must flee France, or a dagger may put an end to _________."
So, did the King of France really visit Texas, or is this just another of history's fun conspiracy theories? Take a look below and decide for yourself.
Prince Louis-Charles (Louis XVII) age 7 and John James Audubon - about age 40