East Feliciana Parish Data
East Feliciana Parish Neighbors
- Amite County, MS
- East Baton Rouge Parish
- St. Helena Parish
- West Feliciana Parish
- Wilkinson County, MS
Welcome to East Feliciana Parish!
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About East Feliciana Parish...
Feliciana, a inspired Spanish word for Happy Land, graced a region whose history paralleled that of the West Florida Territory.
Aboriginal residents were Tunica Indians who had previously usurped the native Houmas. Later the Spanish appeared, laying claim to the territory by right of exploration until 1699. The French were not far behind. LaSalle, having explored the Mississippi River in 1682, claimed all the lands drained by it in the name of Louis XIV.
Encouraged by land grants, emigrants – mainly from the English colonies or from Britain – poured into West Florida. By 1775, many British loyalists migrated here, establishing large, prosperous plantations.
Covering West Florida, Spain supported American colonists hoping to regain lost American territory. Bernado de Galvez, Louisiana’s Spanish governor, undertook surprise attacks on Fort Bute and Baton Rouge and both soon capitulated. Thus, West Florida became Spanish again, remaining so until 1810. In 1800, Spain ceded Louisiana back to France. In 1803, Napoleon sold Louisiana to the U.S. West Florida was included since the Louisiana Purchase was vague in defining Louisiana’s eastern boundary. Though President Jefferson insisted that West Florida was American, the Spanish denied this and continued their occupation.
Feliciana settlers, unhappy under Spanish rule, revolted in 1810 and established the Republic of West Florida. They quickly petitioned President Madison to annex the area. Their request was honored in 1810 when West Florida was declared part of the Louisiana Purchase. The U.S. formed Feliciana County. It later separated to form four parishes – Feliciana, East Baton Rouge, St. Helena and St. Tammany. In 1812, Louisiana was admitted to the Union.
Addressing complaints that citizens of western Feliciana Parish found it difficult to travel during bad weather to the east, Louisiana separated the area into two parishes – East Feliciana and West Feliciana. The former’s parish seat was moved from Jackson to high land near Pretty Creek. In 1825, a courthouse was erected and Clinton was established as the parish seat.
From 1824 until the Civil War, the area was a vast cotton-growing region with a prosperous plantation economy and a railroad to the Mississippi River, outlet to the world markets. Clinton and Jackson were cultural and educational centers, and Port Hudson was the shipping center.
Civil War and reconstruction diminished earlier prosperity here. By 1870, the parish recovered its cotton-based economy and much of yesteryear’s prosperity was regained. In the 1800s, railroads expanded in the western portion and along new rail lines, and the communities of Slaughter, Norwood, Ethel and Wilson were established.
Jackson was founded in 1815 as the seat of justice for Feliciana Parish before the parish was divided into east and west in 1824. The town served as a land office and as a center for learning and culture. Legend holds it was originally called Bear Corners for the many wild black bears which crossed nearby Thompson’s Creek, and that it eventually took its name from General Andrew Jackson, who reportedly camped there with his troops.
Jackson’s well-preserved historic district (124 structures were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982) shares a significant heritage of Greek Revival architecture with Clinton. Unique to Jackson is a well-preserved historic commercial corridor.
Clinton was founded in 1824 as the East Feliciana parish seat of justice. On a tract of land granted by the Spanish government, Clinton became the legal center of the area, and when the Clinton and Port Hudson Railroad was established in the mid-1830s, the town found prosperity as the cotton trading point for a large area. This prosperity is reflected in the still-handsome buildings of antebellum and Victorian design. It is thought the town was named for the Clinton family of New York, as many of the early residents were from that state.
Ethel was named for the daughters of two notable early residents. Mr. McKowen had a great deal of influence in getting a Yazoo and Mississippi Valley railroad station built there, and Dr. Perkins was a land owner.
Norwood, on Highway 19 40 miles north of Baton Rouge (almost on the Mississippi line), was named for Abel Norwood, who in 1883 gave 75 acres to establish the town and a right-of-way for the railroad. He gave the right-of-way with the understanding that all passing trains would stop. Six trains passed through daily, stopping in Norwood whether anyone got on or off or not.
Slaughter was incorporated in 1888. It received its name from the original landowners, brothers Will and Joe Slaughter. When the railroad was being cut through, the place was called Burnsville, from a Mr. Burns who cut the right of way. After the railroad was completed and a depot built, the station and post office were both changed to Slaughter.
Wilson, known as a railroad town from the beginning, was situated on the main line of the great Louisville, New Orleans, and Texas Railway. A relay station (roundhouse) was located there.
The parish has a total area of 456 square miles, of which 453 square miles is land and 2 square miles (0.50%) is water. The population recorded in the 1830 Federal Census was 8,247. The 2010 census recorded 20,267 residents in the Parish.
Neigboring parishes and counties are Wilkinson County, MS (northwest), Amite County, MS (northeast), St. Helena Parish (east), East Baton Rouge Parish (south), and West Feliciana Parish (west). Communities in the parish include Clinton, Jackson, Norwood, Slaughter, Wilson, and Ethel.
East Feliciana Parish Records
Birth Records - The Louisiana State office maintains records for 100 years after the date of birth. Birth records are considered confidential for the first 100 years. For current information on who may obtain a birth record as well as how to submit a request visit the Office of Public Health, Vital Records Registry website or write to them at PO Box 60630, New Orleans, LA 70160.
Birth records older than 100 years are available through the Louisiana State Archives, 3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. (225) 922-1000.
Death Records - The Louisiana State office maintains records for 100 years after the date of death. Death records are considered confidential for the first 100 years. For current information on who may obtain a death record as well as how to submit a request visit the Office of Public Health, Vital Records Registry website or write to them at PO Box 60630, New Orleans, LA 70160.
Death records older than 100 years are available through the Louisiana State Archives, 3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. (225) 922-1000.
Marriage Records - For current information on how to submit a request for a certified copy of an Orleans Parish marriage record less than 50 years old, see the Louisiana Office of Public Health Director, Vital Records and Statistics website or write to PO Box 60630, New Orleans, LA 70160.
Marriage records over 50 years are stored by the Louisiana State Archives, 3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. (225) 922-1000.
Divorce Records - To obtain current information on how to submit a request for a certified copy of divorce records contact the Clerk of Court. For the address of the parish Clerk of Court visit the East Feliciana Parish Important Addresses page.