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About Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana...
The act of April 10, 1805, divided Louisiana Territory into twelve parishes, Orleans, German Coast, Acadia, La Fourche, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, Attakapas, Opelousas, Natchitoches, Rapides, Ouachita and Concordia. Avoyells was established in 1808. The Constitution of 1812 established three parishes out of original Orleans. In the fall of this year De. Sibley reported to Congress on the topography and people of the Red River Valley.
The original parish comprised all the territory in the ecclesiastical parish of St. Francis, or an area 120 miles long by seventy broad, Caddo, Claiborne, Webster, Bossier, part of Lincoln, Sabine, De Soto, Bienville, part of Winn, Red River, and part of Grant, all were organized out of Natchitoches. Natchitoches, in 1880, ranked third in number of inhabitants and fifth in cotton production of all the upper parishes. South of the old town and outside the bottom the uplands partake of a pine hill character, except on Bayou Kasatchie.
When De Soto came here in 1540 the Chickasaws were the most ferocious of all the tribes, and Red River deserved its name then as it does now. The gallant discover died at the mouth of this river, conferring the command on Muscoso de Alvarado. After the death of the chief, the Spaniards essayed to reach Mexico, but had not yet arrived at the mountains when Quiqualtanqui, chief of the Indian confederacy, opposed their advance and drove them back to the Gulf, reduced in number to 300 men. July 7, 1678, the venerable Marquette and the daring Joliet entered the Mississippi and floated down to the mouth of the Arkansas. In 1682 La Salle sailed down the Mississippi to its mouth. His second voyage, on which he discovered the Indian village where Natchitoches stands, resulted in his unfortunate death in 1687. A few years later the French and English hastened to claim part of the Spaniard's discovery, and the "Pelican," under Iberville and Bienville, silenced forever the British ships which attacked her. In March, 1699, the two captains with Pere Anastase (who was on La Salle's expedition of 1682) entered the Mississippi and explored the country to the Red River.
Biloxi was settled by the French under Iberville in 1699, Natchez, settled by the French under Iberville and De Touti in 1700; Fort St. Louis, settled by the French under Bienville in 1701; Mobile, settled by the French under Bienville in 1710; Fort Rosalie, settled by the French under Bienville in 1716; Natchitoches Fort, erected by the French under Bienville in 1717; New Orleans, settled by the French under Bienville in 1718.
At this time (1699) the Natchez numbered 600 warriors. In 1700 Bienville arrived at Natchitoches and Yattassee, forty miles above, where St. Denys subsequently had a post. They attacked Natchez Post, and in January, 1730, attacked the settlers at the Yazoos. St Denys, who was commander at Natchitoches in 1730, won the respect of the Texan Indians. Against this post the Natchez directed their strength, but their approach was discovered. After diplomacy failed them to gain possession of the post, they burned a French woman in sight of the fort. At this time St. Denys had forty French soldiers and twenty settlers inside the stockade, and forty Natchitoches warriors close by. Driven to vengeance by the sight of the burning woman, he made a sortie, killed sixty savages, wounded a greater number and rove all to flight. Later the Avoyelles, Tunicas and other small tribes became allies of the French. In December, 1730, the Red River expedition set out under Salverte, brother of Gov. Perier. The third and last stand of the Natchez was made at Battle Ground plantation, on Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, La., forty miles across the swamp fro Natchez, Miss. Here they were found by Gov. Perier, January 20, 1732, and many of them torn to pieces by the artillery.
That night a heavy rain storm came up to end the butchery, as it were, and in the darkness the remnant of the tribe escaped, leaving the wounded warriors, an aged woman and some no combatants in the stockade. The refugees reorganized under Chief of the Flour, and attacked Natchitoches early in 1831. The old post, called by the Yankees For Claiborne, was surrounded by a deep ditch. In the northeastern section was the cemetery, and there in 1827, the last interment was made. An iron cross marks the grave and date. In January, 1707, M. de La Motte's expedition arrived at Natchitoches, but six years before this the church of San Miguel at Adayes, near Robeline, was established. During the century ending in 1816, Adayes disappeared, and the newer town on Cane River could only boast of 150 houses. On March 29, 1823, the church, presbytery and Rost's house were burned. On March 17, 1838, fire destroyed the new church here, being the second fire in the history of the town. The fort at Bayou Pierre Bluffs, near Grand Ecore, was a substantial set of structures covering one acre and surrounded by a stone wall. Parts of the wall and house foundations are still to be seen. On the Natchitoches and San Antonia trace evidence of a fort exist, and throughout the country bordering the old western trails the crosses of the missionaries or the swords of the soldiers of ancient days are unearthed at intervals.
Though it bears a Native American name, Natchitoches Parish contains the first permanent settlement of Europeans and Africans in the Louisiana Purchase territory. Founded by the French in 1714, the town of Natchitoches retains the Creole charms that recall its beginnings. Ignore the spelling. It is pronounced “nackatish.” The parish also contains Cane River Creole National Historical Park, part of the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. In this part of Louisiana, antebellum Creoles of color (people primarily of mixed European and African ancestry) not only owned significant amounts of land but also slaves. The parish contains a stunning array of plantation houses, such as the 1830s-era Oaklawn, the 1821 Oakland and Beau Fort (which dates to the Spanish era). Magnolia is one the largest plantation homes, with 27 rooms and a Catholic chapel. Beyond its lovingly preserved history, Natchitoches Parish boasts natural charms, with Kisatchie National Forest in the neighborhood.
The parish has a total area of 1,299 square miles, of which 1,255 square miles is land and 44 square mile (3.37%) is water. The population recorded in the 1900 Federal Census was 33,216. The 2010 census recorded 38,719 residents in the Parish.
Neigboring parishes are Bienville Parish (north), Winn Parish (northeast), Grant Parish (east), Rapides Parish (southeast), Vernon Parish (south). Sabine Parish (west), De Soto Parish (northwest), and Red River Parish (northwest). Communities in the parish include Natchitoches, Campti, Ashland, Clarence, Goldonna, Natchez, Powhatan, Provencal, Robeline, Allen, Ajax, Chopin, Cloutierville, Marthaville, Readhimer, and Melrose.
Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana 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 - There are thousands of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana marriages here on our website. 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 Natchitoches Parish Important Addresses page.