Washington Parish Data
Washington Parish Neighbors
- Marion County, MS
- Pearl River County, MS
- Pike County, MS
- St. Tammany Parish
- Tangipahoa Parish
- Walthall County, MS
Welcome to Washington Parish!
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About Washington Parish...
Named in honor of George Washington, Washington Parish is one of several parishes known as the "Florida Parishes." The Florida Parishes were so named because they originally were part of "West Florida," an area east of the Mississippi River, south of the 31st latitude, and north of New Orleans. The Florida Parishes include East Baton Rouge, the Felicianas, St. Helena, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Washington, and St. Tammany. The area was originally under French rule, but was donated to the British by treaty on February 10, 1763. Sixteen years later, Spain seized possession of West Florida by conquest.
Although the Louisiana Purchase took place in 1803, West Florida was not specifically included in the transfer. The U.S. made a feeble claim to the territory, but Spain was not willing to relinquish control. It was not until the Rebellion of West Florida in 1810, that the U.S. was able to take control of the region. Louisiana became a state in 1812, but West Florida was not made a part of it until several months later.
During the sixteen years of British West Florida's existence, patriots who had fought for the British in the French and Indian War were offered land grants in the area for their military service. Many Anglo-Saxon families moved into the region from Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas. Some of them later fought enthusiastically against the British with General Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans in 1814. General Jackson marched his soldiers through Washington Parish on what was known as the "Military Road."
The parishes of Washington, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Livingston were all originally part of St. Helena Parish. In 1810, St. Helena was split to form St. Tammany Parish. Then in 1819, St. Tammany Parish was split to form Washington Parish. The preamble of the legislative act that authorized the split stated that the division was needed because some of the inhabitants lived to far away from the St. Tammany Parish seat to reach it conveniently. In 1832, St. Helena Parish was again divided to form Livingston Parish. The final division came in 1869 when Tangipahoa Parish was carved from portions of Livingston, Washington and St. Tammany Parishes.
Franklinton, located in west central Washington Parish, became the parish seat by legislative act on February 10, 1821. At that time, Franklinton was known as Franklin. The name was changed to avoid conflict with another town of Franklin, located in St. Mary Parish. The town was actually situated five miles south of present-day Franklinton. In 1819, John Bickham, Sr., donated 30 acres of land to be used as a parish seat. Apparently, Mr. Bickham anticipated the forthcoming division of St. Tammany Parish. He stipulated that the 30 acres were to be surveyed into blocks with the center block reserved for the courthouse and jail. The remaining blocks were to be sold to benefit the parish.
The courthouse burned twice, first in 1854, then again in 1897. The fires resulted in a loss of nearly 68 years worth of records. Records from the 1820-1830 decade were kept on file in the state land office and escaped the fire. Some of the records from the second fire were salvaged and others were brought in to be re-recorded. So, only the records from the 1840-1860 period are completely lost.
As of 1992, Bogalusa was the only city in Washington Parish. It was founded in 1906 by the Goodyears of Buffalo, New York. In 1908, the world's largest yellow pine sawmill, which brought Bogalusa into existence, began operations. In just a few months, the city's population surged to 8,000. Today, Gaylord Container Corporation exists on that site.
The parish has a total area of 676 square miles, of which 670 square miles is land and 6 square miles (0.95%) is water. The population recorded in the 1900 Federal Census was 18,520. The 2010 census recorded 22,721 residents in the Parish.
Neigboring parishes and counties are Pike County, MS (northwest), Walthall County, MS (north), Marion County, MS (northeast), Pearl River County, MS (east), St. Tammany Parish (south), and Tangipahoa Parish (west). Communities in the parish include Angie, Bogalusa, Mount Hermon, Franklinton, and Varnado.
Washington 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 Washington Parish Important Addresses page.